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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

#GivingTuesday Fund Drive is Successful for WOW!!!

THANK YOU!!!

We just wanted to thank you for supporting Write Our World yesterday on #GivingTuesday.   We had 32 donors and raised over $1800.  We almost made it into the top 20 fundraisers for yesterday (we were #21).  They donated an extra $100 to those in the top 20.

The drive is not over. Our goal for December 31, 2018, is $5000.  You can still donate through our Write Our World Global Giving website.  Have you ever thought about becoming a sustaining supporter who donates the same amount each month?

This funding will enable us to provide:
  • training for teachers in how to integrate creating multilingual ebooks into their curriculum.  
  • access to the library for classrooms of writers.  
  • support for maintaining and improving Write Our World.
We are making a difference in students' lives - - - - YOU can too!!

Z

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

It's #GivingTuesday - - - Give to Write Our World



It's #GIVINGTUESDAY at #GlobalGiving.

This is the day when you donate to Give Our Marginalized Youth a Voice! Your support can help us further develop a system for young writers to share important times in their lives.  They can share their lives in their native languages and in English.

Today, we begin our fundraiser to raise $10,000. We are doing this through the GlobalGiving Foundation. We have been selected to participate in its Accelerator program which is a fundraising opportunity for nonprofits around the world.
In order to succeed, we must raise $5000 from 40 donors by December 31, 2018. If we meet this threshold, we will be permanently featured on GlobalGiving’s website, where we have the potential to benefit from corporate relationships, connect with new donors, and access online fundraising tools. Additionally, we could earn bonus prizes from GlobalGiving for raising the most money.






Monday, November 26, 2018

Give Our Marginalized Youth a Voice!! - Write Our World

If you are reading my blog, you are probably a person who has spent (or will spend) most of your life working with people and making the world a better place. I am writing today to ask you to support an important online library that enables kids to share their ideas and connect with others.  It is Write Our World.

You have heard me talk or seen me present about this program. I first heard about Write Our World at the 2016 ISTE conference in Denver.  I realized that Write Our World was an opportunity for recognizing children’s stories and reflecting their personal multicultural experience by sharing their tales in English as well as their native languages. A year later, I was asked to join their board and now am working with Write Our World to make a difference in the world.  This is beyond being a professor at UNI. This is what I am doing to help kids around the world.


Write Our World is . . .

Write Our World is an interactive online library that empowers our youth to tell their stories and share them. These are multilingual ebooks written and orally recorded BY KIDS FOR KIDS in both English and their native languages. Around the globe, more than 450 child authors have created 180 books in 27 languages. Write Our World is making a difference in youth’s lives because it gives them a platform for sharing. Learn more about Write Our World in this 3-minute video

Kids share important parts of their lives:

Support Write Our World

We are a startup non-profit organization. Presently we operate with a handful of staff and volunteers.  We want to make a greater difference in the world so we are running a fundraising drive to raise $10,000 over the next 5 weeks.  Write Our World is participating in the Global Giving Accelerator Program from November 27th-December 31st.  We need your support to help bring this writing opportunity to more children around the world.

Your Contribution is More Meaningful on Tuesday

Tuesday, November 27th is #Givingtuesday. This is the day when Global Giving will match whatever you donate. It’s not necessarily a 100% match but will add to Write Our World donations. All funds raised on November 27th will increase our chances of getting additional matching funds and bonus donations in the future.  Every donation helps refugees, immigrants, indigenous and multilingual youth feel empowered and lets their voices be heard!


Share Your Wealth on Tuesday. The Kids of the World will thank you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Z

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Looking for an ISTE PLN #Hashtag?

Hello Reflectors;

I hope that you are all familiar with the incredible network of educators that ISTE supports.  They have a mega-community of educators comprised of over 20 specialty communities (PLNs) that range from Global Collaboration to Digital Storytelling to Inclusive Learning to STEM Networks.  

One of my favorite aspects of these communities is the incredible connections with educators who have similar interests to mine - or even better - with educators who I can contact if I want to forge new paths.  As an ISTE member, I can join these communities and benefit from their vibrant (and newly-revised) communication system that includes discussion groups, blogs, and email systems. 


ISTE PLNs on Twitter  

ISTE PLNs also have a presence through Twitter.  You don't have to be an ISTE member, but when you meet the incredible ISTE educators who populate the Twitter channels, you will probably want to become an ISTE member or attend the next ISTE conference in Philadelphia (2019).

ANYWAY - - - Recently, I was trying to advertise an upcoming Twitter Chat that we were having at #IAedchat (not an ISTE affiliate, but a great one to follow on Sunday nights at 8:00 pm Central Time).  I knew a couple of the ISTE #hashtags but couldn't find a listing.  I connected the ISTE PLN organizer, Simon Helton, and he said that they didn't have an overall listing.     Soooooooooooooooooooooo . . . Simon provided me with the list and I am publishing it here for your convenience.    (THANK YOU, Simon!)

Below you will find a list of 21 ISTE PLN Twitter #Hashtags and Han.  Please use them. Contact me if you have any questions about them or you have some changes/updates that I should make.

Enjoy talking with your educator colleagues.  It is a wonderful group.


List of ISTE PLN Twitter #Hashtags and Handles



Thank you, Laura Campbell

Friday, October 19, 2018

Join us for the #iaedchat on Sunday (10/21) @ 8:00 CDT

Identifying Technology Needs for Today's Educators 

This Sunday, I will lead a tweetchat at #iaedchat on Sunday (10/21) @ 8:00 CDT.  We will discuss the skills, tools, and mindset that teachers who are successful in using educational technolog have in today's classrooms.

These are the questions that we plan to use:
  1. Are new teachers coming to your schools with the Ed Tech skills necessary to optimize technology in your classes?
  2. What Ed Tech skills do you expect your new teachers to have?
  3. What future technology-enhanced projects do you have planned?
  4. How are you aligning the ISTE standards into your curriculum?
  5. Are digital portfolios important to you when you are reviewing applications for employment?
  6. How important is it for a new teacher to have an Ed Tech minor?
  7. How would you advise Teacher Education programs to better prepare your new teachers for success in your schools?
I must admit that I recommended this topic to Dan Butler et al. because I wanted to find out what ed tech skills you expect of your new teachers. Having said that, Dan pointed out that this is a question that spans the whole teaching experience from beginning to end. As usual, Dan was right so we want to discuss this in reference to all teachers.

Audience? We hope to have administrators, coaches, teachers, parents and anyone else who is interested in this topic.

New to Tweetchats? If you have never been engaged in a tweetchat or want some pointers about how to get the most of the experience?  Check out my posting, 11 Tips towards Engaging in a Terrific Twitter Chat. 

Leave a comment below if you are planning to attend.  You don't need to RSVP to a Tweet chat, but it's fun to see that educators are reading this and plan to engage.

Have a SUPER weekend.  See you on Sunday.

Z

11 Tips towards Engaging in a Terrific Twitter Chat

Twitter Chats are AWESOME!!!

I have talked about Twitter Chats (I like to call them Tweet Chats) before in Dr. Z ReflectsHere are a few posts you might find interesting. I have shared some links to resources for finding Education Twitter chats but I would like to introduce Participate as a rich resource for finding, sharing, and engaging in Twitter chats.  (I will explore Participate more fully in a future posting.)
One of my personal favorite chats is #iaedchat.  This Twitter chat meets every Sunday night at 8:00 pm Central Time.  We have Iowa educators, but you will find chatters from all over the country and even throughout the world.   I am inviting some of my EdTech Minor students to join the #iaedchat chat on Sunday and it has inspired me to provide some direction for "getting the most" out of Twitter Chatting.
Here are some suggestions for succeeding in a Twitter chat:

  1. Select Your Tool: EDITING NOTE:  Originally I had recommended tchat.io.  Since then I have had problems with that tool so now I am recommending TweetChat.com   Tweetchat is simple.  Enter the hashtag on the opening page (e.g., #iaedchat ) Log in using your twitter account. This leads you to a page for your conversation. Enter your tweets in the text box.  Remember to click the "Start Stream" button to begin watching the chat. Here is a 3-minute video on how to use TweetChatIf you want to make your own selection, here is a recent listing of the 5 Best Tools for Twitter Chats.
  2. Show Up Early: Even if it is only 5 minutes, get settled before the chat because the pace can get rather fast and furious.
  3. Share Your Intro; Be prepared to introduce yourself at the beginning.  This is where we can learn about the location, profession, and grade level of the participants. 
  4. Engage in Questions and Answers: Questions will be introduced throughout the hour-long chat - usually 6 questions. Sometimes they are available before the chat. Each will be identified by its number (e.g. Q3:). Begin your answers with the number of the question you are answering (e.g., A3:)
  5. Answer as Much as You Want: You don't have to contribute lots of answers. You can lurk throughout  the whole thing but you won't get much out of it. Aim to post at least 4 answers throughout the hour-long chat. You are welcome to talk as much as you want, but placing a minimum will ensure that you at least dip your toe into the flood of genius that will flow across your screen.
  6. Reduce the Stress: If there are lots of chatters, the discussion can zoom past you. You can feel overwhelmed because you don't have time to read all of the posts.  You can take control of this by just identifying 3 or 4 chatters who are interesting.  Just follow their postings and respond when you have something to say.  Most Twitter chats have archives so you can go back and read the other postings at a later date.
  7. Follow Them: If a chatter looks interesting, click on his/her/their name to visit his/her/their Twitter page.  This will show you more about him/her/them and give you a chance to click the FOLLOW button.
  8. Remove the Retweets: You will see some Retweets in the chat. These add more lines for you to read.  The Tchat.io software allows you to Hide Retweets.  Click this button and you will see each posting only once.
  9. Tell Your Followers: Before the chat, tell your followers that you will be engaging in a chat. This way they won't be surprised by a deluge of wisdom coming from your Twitter account. (This is something you should do before you begin, but I shared it here so that I wouldn't confuse the new tweeters.)
  10. Have Fun: This is an opportunity to meet other people and learn other's opinions.  Enjoy it and make your contacts.
  11. Follow up: This is a great opportunity to make connections. If you liked what one chatter was doing in the classroom, contact him/her/them later to further discuss the topic, set up a classroom collaboration, or even schedule a meet-up face-to-face or virtually.  If you learned something from leaders in schools, and you think that you might like to work in those schools.  Make the connection and begin the conversation. 
Twitter Chatting is an easy and fruitful way to make connections with like-minded people. I hope that I have a chance to connect with you through a chat some day.   Until that day, perhaps you could leave some comments about what I have written or maybe in answer to some of these queries . . . 

  • What is YOUR favorite Twitter Chat tool?
  • Which chats do you recommend?
  • What other suggestions do you have for successful chatting?
  • Share a Twitter Chat story about what you learned or who you met.
Z

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What Would You Ask a Real Teacher?

amandajohn.weebly.com
Think about the time when you were studying to be a teacher.  It might have been last year or many years ago or you might still be in an Educator Preparation/Teacher Education program (hopefully at the University of Northern Iowa😉).  The most important part of your program was your interaction with real teachers while you were observing classrooms, engaged in classroom teaching, and/or student teaching.  This was an opportunity for you to ask practicing teachers about why they taught a certain way or how they interacted with a student.

Imagine connecting with practicing teachers on your own and asking them about their opinions concerning teaching.  This is something that we are challenging our students at UNI to do.  We are asking them to expand their PLN (Professional Learning Network) to find teachers in the field.  Once they have found them, we are asking them to begin a discussion with them about teaching.   In some cases, it is a one-shot experience and in other cases it turns into an on-going connection.  This is a process that we use with our future teachers, but it is a practice that could be just as valuable with other practicing teachers.

Finding a Teacher

How do you find other teachers?  There are multiple ways to connect with other educators, but here are a few that I especially like:
themuse.com

Twitter #Hashtag: 

Did you know that if you searched Twitter for #3rdchat that you would find a plethora of 3rd grade teachers who want to connect with distant colleagues?  This holds true with #2ndchat and #8thchat  and #HSchat  and #MSchatHere is a whole list of educator #hashtags by Cybrary Man. (Yes, I know that these #hashtags are also used for Twitter Chats, but they are a treasure trove for making connections.)



Global Collaboration Databases

classroombridges.com
You can also find teachers waiting for connections in Global Collaboration databases.  These are databases where educators post their names and contact information hoping that they can find other educators with whom they can connect.  There is a variety of these databases out there, but one that I share with my students is Classroom BridgesThis is a project created by Katie Siemer for her Google Certified Innovator project.  

What Should I Ask?

I have had a few students who have searched this database to connect with educators.  One of my students recently made a connection with an educator in Colorado.  They have an appointment to have a Google Hangout discussion next week. Everything seems to be set except when this student sent me an interesting question:     What should I ask her?

Great Question!!  I had been so intent on them making the connections that we didn't actually talk about what she could/should ask this teacher. Should she ask about running a classroom? Should she query about building connections with her students?  Should all of the questions be professional or should some be about the personal side of being a teacher?  What about time management?

So how should I answer her?  I asked some of my Ed Tech and Design team and these are some of our suggestions.
  • What skills (technology and otherwise) do you wish you had when you started teaching?
  • Why did you become a teacher?
  • What have been your favorite projects and learning opportunities you have had with your kids?
  • What global collaboration projects have you done?  Tell me some stories.
  • How diverse is your class?  How do you use technology to enhance your classroom's cultural inclusivity?
  • Do each of your students have their own computer/tablet?  If so, how has it changed the way you teach and how they learn?
       And Finally, "Can we stay in touch?"

What are your suggestions for what she should ask her new professional connection?  What would you ask another teacher if you were in this situation?  

Leave your suggestions in the comments sections or tell us a story of when you connected with another teacher this way.

Z