Thursday, May 05, 2016

Using Twitter Hashtags to Connect with Other Educators

Ever wonder how to connect with other educators who have the same interests as you?

You're a 2nd grade teacher in a small school and you have some 2nd grade questions.  Where do you turn?

You're a high school social studies teacher and you want to look for new ways to engage students in your subject.  Where do you turn?

There is a whole world of resources out there for the connected educator.  You can read articles or follow blogs but you will get the most out of direct interaction.  Twitter may be your resource.

I will assume that you know something about Twitter and Tweetchats.


What astounded me was when I found a directory Education Tweet Chats that was posted by Cybrary Man.    Not only are there hundreds of chats listed, it is organized by the day and time when they meet weekly.  It is an unbelievable resource.

Moreover, the hashtags that are used for the weekly tweetchats are wonderful ways to find other people with similar interests during the week.  You can use these hashtags to find others with your interests, or share ideas/resources that you think others in your field will enjoy.

Did you know that there are hashtags for each grade?  If you are a 2nd grade teacher and you want to see what other 2nd grade teachers are posting on Twitter, you just need to search for #2ndchat

If you want to connect with other Social Studies teachers, you just need to search for #sslap (Social Studies Teacher-Like-a-Pirate) or #sschat (Social Studies Teacher Chat).

What do you do?  How do you use Twitter to connect/discover with distant colleagues?
Which Tweet Chats do you find the most helpful?

Please share your ideas and hashtags with our other readers.

Z

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Using Blogging in the Classroom

speedofcreativity.org
Blogging is today's newspaper, book, magazine, and thinking pad all rolled into one.  The beauty of a blog is that it provides the creator with a true freedom of expression.  It allows us to create freely and express ourselves in ways that weren't available 20 years ago.

This form of expression is ripe for the classroom:  
  • Many teachers at all levels use blogs to provide a painting easel for students to create. 
  • Some teachers use them to share information about what is happening in their classrooms (a much more direct form of communication than sending newsletters home each week. 
  • Many teachers use blogs to share their projects or ask advice of other educators.   The opportunities are endless.

I thought that I would share a few of the blogs that I like.  I have tried to break these into the three categories that I have just listed.  PLEASE share your favorites with us by inserting a link in one of the comments below. (It may say "no comments:" now, but click on it and add your thoughts.)

Student Creations

Sharing What's Happening in the Classroom

Sharing Ideas with Other Educators
Resources
This is a work in progress.  I will be adding additional links soon and will add the links that readers add in the Comments section.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Preparing Future Teachers to be Connected Educators

Friends,
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I have a challenge and I am turning to my PLN to try to address it.

As you know, I teach Instructional Technology at the University of Northern Iowa.  We teach both undergraduate (future teachers) and graduate (present teachers) about how to use technology to support learning.  It is much more than technology.  It is about building a mindset to use teaching/learning strategies that optimize the opportunities available through technology.

We need to develop Connected Educators.  Our undergraduates are connected through social media, but they don't see how this can be used for a professional purpose.  They are unaccustomed to connecting with people around the world to learn from other practitioners.

Our challenge: We are trying to trying to develop learning activities where they will actually engage with other educators through social media. It has to be something more than connecting with other students in the class because they see them face-to-face a couple of times per week. It needs to be more than following hashtags.  Experiencing a globally collaborative project is good, but I am looking at changing a mindset. It needs to be something where they are experiencing this type of connection in such a way that it carries on into their professional lives.

This is where I am calling upon the greater knowledge base of the many. YOU.

What do you do with your students and teachers?  How do you, as a connected educator, connect with other professionals as part of your daily routine.  What are some suggestions that you might have for activities/experiences that we might use with our future and present teachers to foster them toward being Connected Educators?

Thank you for your response.

Leigh Zeitz

Please forward this to your colleagues or others you believe would have an idea about this.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gaming to Learn: Research Meets Classroom Practice


Today is the University of Northern Iowa College of Education's Education Summit.  

I was invited to talk about gaming in the classroom at this conference.  It was a great opportunity to discuss the topic with about 20 people.  These educators ranged from 19 - 60+ years of age.  It was a strong discussion with many points of view shared.

Below is an embedded version of my presentation.   The Youtube links should also work. Please contact me if they don't work for you. 

If you want to contact me, please leave a comment below or email me at zeitz@uni.edu


Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Educational Background Behind Gaming - Part 1

It's NOT about the Games.  It's about the Gaming.
Creative Commons: UltraCommunications.com
I like to introduce my university students to Gaming in the Classroom. It is not aboutplaying games but rather about the opportunities and engagement that students experience when they are learning through a gaming framework.  

I would like to share with you the introductory sequence that I use in introducing this.  I would also like to share how I challenge my students to play a specific game for a while and then reflect on the process.  

ALERT:  Next week I will share the responses, reflections and insights that my students develop from this experience.

Did you know that in 2011:
  • 65% of US households play video games?
  • Almost 1/2 of the video gamers are adults < 49 years old?
  • The average gamer is 32?
  • 2 out of 5 gamers are women?
Gaming is not a fad. Video gaming is a way of life. Gaming is an activity that provides sufficient positive feedback to cause players to exclude all else. It is challenging enough to entice gamers to continually attempt to beat their last score.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if school was like gaming? Where students would be so motivated by their learning activities that they would get up early and stay up late to engage themselves in the learning process.

Our understanding of learning has taken a HUGE leap forward in recent years.  It is time that we were Rethinking Learning with the 21st Century Learner.  This video explores how we need to rethink our students' learning experiences to best fit their interests and learning preferences.  This video includes interviews with John Seely Brown (discusses how today's learners are gamers to the core),  Nichole Pinkard, Diana Rhoten, Mimi Ito (Lead Researcher for the Digital Youth Project); Katie Salen (Executive Director of The New School for Design); and Henry Jenkins (Media Guru). 



Is it about playing the game or getting involved in something that is rewarding and challenging.  Maybe it has something to do with "getting into the flow of things . . . "

Flow - The Psychology of the Optimal Experience

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Chick-sent-me-hi) has studied states of "optimal experience" for over two decades. He is exploring the conditions and attitudes that engage people's concentration and attention to the point of total absorption. He calls this state of consciousness Flow.  In this state of attention, learners are at their most receptive level.

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi discusses his theory of Flow in this 5-minute video. 
It is the primary introduction to the Flow concept. He further explains its application to education in this short interview on Edutopia.org:  Motivating People to Learn.

9 Characteristics of Flow have been identified. Learn these characteristics so that you can later relate them to the apparent aspects of gaming and learning.
Pay careful attention to this concept of Flow because while it may seem like "good common sense," it is an underlying principle of learning.
Gaming's Elements Make for Good Learning

Gaming is a directional process where the player is guided towards a selected goal through positive and negative reinforcement. Isn't that similar to a good learning situation? How does that relate to the 9 characteristics of Flow?

Read this posting which discusses a list of 8 characteristics of Gaming. Relate these to those of Flow. What similarities do you see? What distinctions?  You will also find a video of a leading gaming researcher, Dr. James Paul Gee.  Watch this video and correlate it with the connections we have been discussing.

Gaming in Your REAL Life

Gaming is the basis of living and learning.  When you do something correctly, you are rewarded.  When you faultier, you fail.  It's about how you interact with the world. Before you can explore how you would do this in the classroom, you need to know something about how it works in your life.  Seth Priebatsch and Jesse Schell share some interesting ideas about how Gaming appears as a layer in your real life.  Read this posting and watch these two videos to get a new perspective on how you are gaming on a daily basis. 

If you are interested in really applying gaming to your real life, Explore Chore Wars.  It is a quest game where you can claim experience points for housework.

Consider your present concepts about gaming. Have they changed in the past 24 hours? If so, what have you realized?  How does this affect your perspective as a trainer, teacher, educator?

Using Gaming Practices to Improve Learning
In this 10-minute video, Paul Anderson explains how he reinvented his course to make it a gaming learning experience. Pay attention to the insights that he shares about the elements of active student-centered learning environments.

 
 

Time for Real Gaming

In my university class, Using Digital and Social Media, I challenge my students to apply what they have just learned.  These resources have identified how the gaming and learning are two sides of the same coin so I want them to play a game and then reflect on what connections they are seeing.

Another benefit for this homework is that my students get to tell their roommates/friends/ siblings/parents/children that they get to play Kingdom Rush for 3 hours for homework.

Tune in Next Week

I will share with you the gaming reflections that my students generate as well as some educational perspectives that I add to the mix.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

5 Question Structures to Improve Higher-Order Thinking

Looking to improve the discussions in your class so that they are engaging your students in Higher-Order Thinking?  Here is an InfoGraphic that I found on the Four O'Clock Faculty website.  It has a number of great ideas.  I especially like the Question Flooding idea.  It involves your students generating as many questions as come to mind about the topic at hand.

At first, I was thinking "How can I write fast enough to get all of those questions written down so we can discussion them?"  Further consideration brought me to the realization that this should be a student centric process.  Just getting the flow of ideas is enough to kindle the fire of examination.  Field the questions and then go back to them to see which ones stuck out in your students' minds.  Another idea would be to have your students post them in the cloud through Tweeting (with a specific hashtag) or entering the questions into a Google Doc or Padlet or Etherpad.

Which one makes the most sense to you?  Do you have any ideas that you would add to these 5 question structures?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

TERRORISM: How to Talk to Your Students, Say This, Do Not Say . . .

http://www.jackstreet.com/jackstreet/WECM.Berkowitz.cfm
In this ever-changing world we need to consider how to talk with our students about terrorism.  Not only must we deal with what is coming through the media, but we must also discuss with our students the possibility of that happening in our own schools.

Recently, Vicki Davis (CoolCatTeacher) interviewed Dr. Steven Berkowitz at the University of Pennsylvania about how teachers can respond to this.

Click here to listen to Vicki's 11-minute discussion about Terrorism.