Posts Tagged ‘Diigo’

This week’s #ETCoaches blog challengeWhat tools are you using that you are loving? What problems do they overcome? How can others replicate your success?


There are many tools I use, that I promote for others to use, but here are a few at the top of my list that assist me in my work as an EdTech Coach.

Hootsuite: I rely on Twitter to build my PLN, provide resources, make connections, and for the best professional development. I use Hootsuite, (others might use Tweetdeck,) to visually access different streams on Twitter at once. It helps to join and follow Twitter chats as well. You can integrate other social media accounts too. It’s a lifesaver.

Diigo: I use Diigo to save and organize resources. In my role as an EdTech Coach, I have resources coming at me all day long via email, feeds, blogs, and Twitter. I need a way to save them so that I can easily access later. For example, I share a Tech News every other week (or so- being sensitive to other things going on in school). I collect items over time that will be of interest to our faculty and staff. I tag those TechNews and then, when it’s time to put the news together, I search for resources with that tag. Easy-peasy.

Canva: I use Canva to create visuals for the Tech News, blog posts, posters, flyers, and more. It makes me feel creative! See graphic above.

Smore: Those who are reading this might be wondering what tools I use for the TechNews I mentioned above. For years I did that using a Google Site, adding a new page with columns for each edition. I discovered Smore a few years ago and found that it was more visually appealing. Now I share the link to the Smore, and I embed it on the original Google Site in a new page, so that the archived editions are available too. Our school newsletter goes out to families once a week using Smore as well and it’s been well received. I’m curious to see how this might change when the new Google Sites are officially available.

PhotosForClass: I don’t use this other than to model, but I highly recommend that our students use this site. Search for an image, download it (even on a Chromebook) and insert it into projects, sites, or blog posts. It automatically includes the proper citation on the image itself. Great for teaching about WHY we need to cite our sources!

Google+ Communities: In addition to Twitter, I use various Google+ communities to ask questions, get ideas, and share. Some of the communities I visit most often include: Instructional Technology Integrators, Google Classroom, Chromebook EDU, and Bringing the World Into the Classroom.

Google Hangouts: I’m a member of a 5-person team in our school district. We’re all spread out with considerable distance between our schools. We meet once a week via Hangout to keep the team together, share what’s happening in our schools, work on district-level projects so that there’s consistency, and basically, collaborate. Hangouts make this possible without us having to factor in travel time to get together.

Common Sense Education:  Most EdTech Coaches know of this resource, but just in case… it’s an amazing site for Digital Citizenship resources as well as EdTech reviews. This is a must for your list.

There are many more, but these tools help me create, collaborate, share, connect, and stay productive.


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3 Go-To Sites

Post 26 of the Teach Thought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeWhat are your 3 favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?


No hesitation here, these are by far my top 3 go-to tools!

twitterTwitter:  As I wrote about in this post, Twitter is a huge part of my PLN. I learn from others, gather resources, connect, and share. This past summer while at ISTE, I heard someone say that if it were possible to break down Twitter users by profession, educators would represent the largest group. I am not surprised by that fact. (myth?) There are educators at every level, subject area, and area of expertise sharing and connecting with one another on Twitter. Rather than follow individual blogs, I follow people on Twitter who provide links to new posts. The education chats provide connections with others with whom I reflect on my practice, create new collaborative projects, and professional development in its best form, (Feel free to click on Twitter in my tags and view other posts on this topic)

google plusGoogle+: Some people are surprised at this one. People question whether or not anyone is using Google+. The resounding answer is YES – lots of educators! I have joined a number of communities on Google+ that provide similar resources and connections as Twitter. If you are a Technology Integration Specialist like me, check out the Instructional Technology Integrators & Coaches Community, or the Technology Integration Specialist Think Tank Community. If you’re a classroom teacher, this is one of my favorites – the Connected Classrooms Workshop Community or the Mystery Hangout Community.


diigoDiigo: I use Diigo to collect resources, save posts, and then access them again when needed. I have the Diigo extension installed in Chrome, and have also installed the tool on my iPad. I go to Diigo all day long, to save things I come across on Twitter and/or Google+ as well as to retrieve things I’ve save. I create a Tech News every few weeks as a resource for our educators. It’s simple to gather the recent articles and posts that I want to share by going to Diigo and searching for my TechNews tag. When teachers ask me if I know of resources about a particular topic, I immediately go to Diigo to see what I’ve already saved that I can then pass along. This tool is a life-saver and time-saver for me. And I’m not even sharing about the ‘social bookmarking’ capabilities!







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Post 13 on the 30-Day Blogging ChallengeName the top tech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom and rank them in order of their effectiveness, in your opinion.

tools “A successful tool is one that was used to do something undreamt of by its author.” – Stephen C. Johnson

The larger challenge here is that nowhere in the above prompt does it give me an idea of how many top tech tools I can list!

I’ll go for 3 that I use professionally and 3 that I recommend using with students.


1. Google tools: Email, Calendars, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Maps, Drawing, Google+, and Sites. There are more tools than that – but those I use on a daily basis. I haven’t used Office products in many years. When you can collaborate and access your things from anywhere, why use anything else?

2. Twitter- I joined Twitter in the fall of 2008. That’s 6 years ago! I’d say I began to see the power and use of Twitter about a year later and haven’t looked back. It’s the place where educators connect, share, support one another, stretch each other’s thinking, and get resources – all whenever you want it. I feel very fortunate to have my PLN.

3. Diigo – I use Diigo to save and share anything I find on the web. I have Twitter and Diigo connected so that anything I favorite on Twitter automatically saves to Diigo. I save many links each day and then have access to all of my resources anytime from anywhere. Plus, I can use the social side of it to see what others are saving and sharing, use Groups to collect collaboratively, and offer what I’ve shared to others.

With Students:

1. Common Sense Media: I value the work that went into designing their Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence and highly recommend these resources to all educators. I’ve also used and am again using the Digital Passport site (and app) with students. Graphite is a fabulous tool where resources have been evaluated and vetted by other educators. Thank you Common Sense Media, for all you do to support educators, students, and parents.

2. Google tools, again: Having a Google Apps for Education domain has contributed to a big shift in the way we teach and the way we integrate technology. These tools enable students to use technology as a tool to support learning, rather than starting with the tech and trying to go from there. Collaboration and sharing has impacted the amount of printing as students turn their work in digitally. Google Classroom is just getting underway, but already I’m hearing excitement and enthusiasm from the teachers using it.

3. I use a variety of iPads apps with students to encourage them to share their learning with others. We offer choice and students decide on the best app to meet their needs. Some of these might include: iMovie, Haiku Deck, Book Creator, or Explain Everything. Those apps would be at the top of my list for that purpose.

I look forward to reading the 13th post that other bloggers have shared to get their perspective on top tech tools.

 Image: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by katerha: http://flickr.com/photos/katerha/5746905652

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This week I began another course where I hopefully can encourage and support more educators on their journey to getting connected. I’m working with 9 fabulous educators representing many different areas and levels of education in our district.

So far, we’ve explored Twitter, Diigo, Edmodo, Google+, and networks such as the Educator’s PLN, Classroom 2.0, and Educlipper. Everyone is feeling overwhelmed while striving to keep track of usernames and passwords. And yet… they’re still smiling. I love teaching teachers!

Instead of ‘sustained silent reading’ time, we have 20-minute Twitter Time each morning. During those minutes that fly by, our participants are finding new people to follow, retweeting someone else’s tweet, replying to a tweet, and composing a new tweet of their own. They’ve begged for more time to continue and it certainly wasn’t silent!

Near the end of the day today, only day 2, one participant asked if  from my perspective I could see any growth. The answer is a resounding YES! These fabulous educators are tweeting, +1-ing (is that a verb?), saving and sharing bookmarks, and much more. They added their thoughts on a slide on a collaborative Google presentation and shared a Google drawing representing being connected in our private Google+ community.

diving in

Image created by @carolhuntingo1

They don’t see the change in their level of comfort, but I do. They’re using the lingo, supporting one another, and taking risks as they learn to trust and share in larger communities and on new networks.

We continue tomorrow with blogging and commenting- both as professionals and with our students. I truly love this opportunity to grow and learn along with my colleagues, build relationships, and ponder new challenges.

Beyond this week, it will come down to each individual. Will they continue to explore and delve deeper into any networks? Will they make/take the time? Will they engage and connect with others? Will they see the value of being connected? And most important, will they help other educators get connected as well?

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work with 12 colleagues to get them started on the road to connecting. Here’s the post where I shared some of the reflections from our time together. We learned about Twitter and Diigo, as well as other great networks and tools like the Educator’s PLN and KidBlog. The group was energized and ready to get connected.

And then school started. 


Now everyone is overwhelmed and incredibly busy. Despite my attempts to repeat, “just give it 15 minutes a day”, the attention and focus is receding quickly for many of the teachers. They’ve also heard me say, “the more you put it, the more you’ll get out.” But some just can’t see the benefit of putting something more in at this time.

I can continue to gather great resources about getting started on Twitter, how to connect, building your PLN and more, but how do we help others see why they must maintain the energy and enthusiasm when you’re new to all of this, you’re busy and it’s not paying off?

This past week’s #edchat during the day was terrific, with educators sharing the value of being connected and how it’s impacted their teaching. I could take a bit of time for that chat, but the teachers with whom I worked couldn’t at that time of the day.

Please don’t get me wrong; there are some who are determined to make this work. They’re trying out chats, lurking, and slowly getting familiar with the tools. But how can I help the others?


Image: Creative Commons/flickr by mstephens7   http://flic.kr/p/bVaXc

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We’ve completed two of three days of our “Becoming a Connected Educator” course at school.Working with these fascinating and smart friends, colleagues, and amazing teachers is so fun. I’m able to learn alongside them and marvel at the reflection and dialogue amongst the group.

After two days the teachers are now on Twitter, using Hootsuite, have Diigo accounts and have joined and are sharing bookmarks to our Diigo group for the class. They’re reaching out to connect with others, finding educators to follow, and reflecting on their learning on a shared Google site.

Today we used a Google Hangout to have a conversation with Peter Skillen (@peterskillen) and Brenda Sherry (@brendasherry). I met both of them online via my work with PLP this past year. They supported me in my learning and have continued to do so. We met face to face at ISTE and they said they’d collaborate with me in my work with this class. True to their word, they shared ideas and thoughts about being connected with the group this morning. They are fabulous people and wonderful educators and I can’t thank them enough.

Our group checked out the #edchat at noon today. I assumed we’d lurking and talk about the experience, figuring out how to navigate the rapid flow of tweets that run on and on. Instead, many in the room contributed their thoughts, retweeted, and continued the conversation about homework face to face. What a group!

Later in the day we talked about blogging and especially blogging with students. Many teachers set up accounts with kidblog.org and are exploring ways to use that tool effectively with students. I wonder how many will keep their blogs open for viewing and commenting by a global audience. That’s often an area of discomfort for many of us. Writing for an audience that includes more than the teacher is so powerful.

Tomorrow we ponder the beginning of the school year and what being connected, to whatever extent we are at that point, looks like for us as educators and with our students.

It’s going well. There’s so much more to this journey. All of it requires patience, acceptance that getting connected is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, and building community locally and beyond.


Image: Creative Commons/flickr by Frank2216 http://flic.kr/p/aiGJbc

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I just got back from three days at the VermontFest conference in Killington, Vermont. This is an annual Ed-tech conference sponsored by Vita-Learn.

I presented at three different sessions. One was a 3-hour pre-conference session which I co-presented with another Vermont technology integration specialist. We worked with the attendees on using the Vermont Tech Grade Expectations (our state standards) as well as the Transformation and Technology Scenarios. It was an engaging discussion with fabulous educators.

The next morning I shared a presentation of how Google apps are being used at the elementary level in Vermont. Many others contributed to this presentation, both in person and virtually. I can’t thank them enough for that. It was a clear illustration of how our work CAN be done with our younger students. This session was a truly collaborative effort.

And on the last day, I shared information about how I have built my PLN (Personal Learning Network). It was fun to share how my network on Twitter has helped me grow and learn, as well as amazing other networks like the Educator’s PLN and Diigo, to name a few. I think perhaps a few educators in the room may have been encouraged to build upon their own PLNs.

It was also extremely special to have 6 of the educators from my school also present. Their topics ranged greatly, from technology in kindergarten, to podcasting, powerful searches, and reflective middle school reporting and assessment. They are all very talented and innovative teachers.

Overall, the conference was terrific. Some of my peers with whom I’ve worked were recognized for their amazing contributions to our field. I met, face to face, Twitter friends from within Vermont. I collaborated, felt connected and inspired, I learned from others and hopefully helped others learn.

Thank you Vita-Learn, for the opportunity to be a part of this community.

Photo taken by me, upon arrival. Killington had just opened for skiing for the season.

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