5 Techie Ideas for the New Year

Just in case you’re looking to make any tech-related New Year’s Resolutions, here are a few ideas and articles that have caught my eye over the past few weeks. If you have more suggestions, please share them in the comments!

To get us started, here’s an RSA Animate video of Sir Ken Robinson’s Changing Education Paradigms speech:

1. Embrace Educational Networking: Try using different social networking tools like Twitter or blogs to connect with other educators around the world – both for your own learning, and for your classes.

2. Rethink Homework: Alan shared lots of reasons for us to start thinking about homework and classwork differently, here are a few other thought-provoking ideas.

3. Prioritize Digital Citizenship: How often do we use images found online without citing the source? Do we allow our students to do the same? Can we make better use of Creative Commons media? When do we talk about appropriate, safe and respectful online behavior?

4. Connect & Collaborate: Flatten your classroom walls by encouraging students to share and collaborate in online spaces.

5. Explore Blended Learning: Take advantage of technology tools to extend learning beyond your classroom lesson. The future of teaching and learning includes learning online – get a head start here!

Relevant Reads:

And one last thought-provoking video…

Switching to Google Apps

We did it! Thanks all of Genki’s hard work, we have now successfully switched to GMail!

Here’s the good news:

And answers to a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) from Stephen:

Will my email start going in to Google immediately?
Some but not all emails will continue to be received in your First Class inbox for a few days.

Do I need to check my First Class account for emails?
If you have already been using Google for email – no. If you have only been using First Class – yes. There will be a few things for us to learn in Google such as how to find the shared files you access on First Class through the teachers lounge.

How do I change my password in Google Apps?
Use this simple help sheet, created by Aaron: How to Change Your Google Apps Password

How do I book a shared resource (a laptop cart, or a room) using shared calendars?
You can make reservations straight into most shared calendars. Follow the instructions on these handy video tutorials created by Aaron:

PART 1: Subscribing to a shared calendar

Google Calendars Booking – Part 1 from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

PART 2: How to make reservation on a shared calendar

Google Calendars Booking – Part 2 from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

You don’t have permission to make bookings on all shared calendars, because some calendars are controlled by specific people such as Akemi. For those calendars look online to see availability then go and see the person.

How do I access the bulletin board?

Another great tutorial from Aaron answers this one:

The Bulletin Board from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

Testing out Twitter?

At last week’s tech training, we mostly talked about Twitter (thanks to Alan’s keynote for inspiring the discussion). Thought I would share a few tips and tricks here:

One of my favorite resources for understanding new tech tools (and just about anything really) is Common Craft (their story is pretty interesting too). This is their Twitter video:

And just in case you were wondering how it can be useful for educational purposes (thanks Frank!):

And here are a few articles about how to use Twitter as PD or in the classroom:

Once you create your account, you will probably want to find other like-minded educators. Here are a few places to start:

If you want to follow conversations around a specific topic, you might find these lists of great educational Twitter hashtags useful:

And once you’re following a few people, you might want to view your Twitter feed in a format more like a magazine (which automatically highlights the stories that the people you follow are talking about the most):

If you have more useful resources, please share!

Thought Provoking Videos

A few really interesting videos crossed my path this week, so I thought I’d share them here:

Dr. Tae — Building A New Culture Of Teaching And Learning from Dr. Tae on Vimeo.

The ideas in this video remind me of Apple’s Challenge Based Learning program. There are some great videos on that website as well as lots of research and practical advice on how to implement a more real-world learning environment.

An excerpt from the following video was shown in Alan November’s presentation last week:

And Alan mentioned this one as a must see:

A fantastic collection of  videos from the New Learning Institute on Vimeo featuring many of the leading thinkers on education and change, this one entitled: Introduction to Technology and 21st Century Learning

Introduction to Technology and 21st Century Learning from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.

And one more to relate back to our younger learners: