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Daily Staff Development

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being a relative newbie to the world of web2.0 tools, I've quickly discovered two things.  First, there is a LOT of stuff out there.  Second, it's constantly changing...so in essence one will never be able to catch up.

However...that doesn't lead me to despair!  One of the most exciting things about all of these changes is the way in which I get ideas & learn new things.  I guess you could say that thanks to the world of social networking, I've become a self-staff-developer. My favorite part of this?  It doesn't require two hours after school!  I'm a mom of two little boys.  During the week one has gymnastics, one has soccer, and we all go to church.  I work full time, and have a couple of volunteer gigs on the side.  So I'm busy!  But by being plugged in to a couple of key resources, I'm able to keep up (sort of) and continuously learn about new things.

Here are my favorite resources...at the moment.  Remember...it's an ever-changing world out there!

Diigo Education
Diigo has two features that I've come to really appreciate.  First, it's an online bookmarking tool.  This means that you can save your favorites here and access them from any computer.  The second feature I've come to appreciate is the Education group.  When you save a bookmark, you can save it to the Education group.  While I've never done this (still a consumer, not a contributor in this arena), I do receive a daily email with links to all of the resources others have saved to the Diigo Education group & they usually include a brief description of the website.  It takes about 5 minutes to scan this list and see if there's anything of interest to me.  Many days it's none...but today I found THREE new resources that I thought were worth saving and coming back to! Jackpot!!!

Twitter & Tweetdeck
I will be the first to admit that until this summer I saw absolutely no value in Twitter.  I had Facebook & kept up with people that way...why would I need to use Twitter, too?  Then I learned about hashtags...those magical little #words in a tweet that help making a search for something of value so much easier!!  Twitter has become a constant source of ideas.  There are several people I follow on Twitter, but I also have my Tweetdeck set up to constantly search some hashtags such as #sbisd, #sbicoach, #edtech, and I'm going a add a couple more in the areas of math a language arts.  It's fun...any time I have 5 minutes I can check Twitter on my computer or phone & see if there's anything that grabs my attention!  For more information on Educational Hashtags, click here!

Google Reader
Have you discovered blogs yet?  Well, probably so since you are reading this. If not...get ready...because it's a big, exciting world out there!  Blogs are yet another way to share ideas.  Many of the links on Twitter will lead you to different blogs where people have posted their ideas. That is how I've found many of the educational blogs that I follow.  My other source for blogs?  Blogs...people reference other blogs in their writing.  Click the link...and viola, another gem has been discovered!  Google Reader is simply a way to organize your blogs.  Rather than having to click on each website, Google Reader keeps a running list all the blogs you are following & allows you to read all recent posts.  You can also place the blogs you follow in folders.  I have folders like Ed Tech, Math, Scrapbooking, Moms & Cooking, etc.

So there you have it..three ways to get staff development whenever you have 5 minutes to spare.What are you waiting for?  Get learning!

A Couple New Favorites for the iPad

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thanks to a suggestion from Rummel Creek librarian Karen Harrell, I recently downloaded two FREE apps to my iPad:  Color Effects & Stamp It!  I have had more fun playing with these two apps!  Color Effects will let you make a photo black & white...and then recolor just selected parts of the picture.  Stamp It! allows you to stamp words, phrases, numbers, etc. onto a photo.  Super fun!

So here's a little project I worked on using both apps.  First, I took a photo with my iPad2.

Next, I made the photo black and white and then recolored the box of staples and the disk using Color Effects.
Finally, I stamped the picture using the names of the shapes of those two objects.  You can add as many stamps as you'd like to a photo using Stamp It!
And there you go...a super easy, fun way for students to identify various shapes and 3-d figures in the environment!
I'm sure you can come up with MANY more uses for these two apps...not only in math but also in Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies...the sky's the limit!