Showing posts with label wikispaces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wikispaces. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big Rich Mt. Olympus: Legendary Drama!

The Task:
"You've moved to the upscale neighborhood of Mt. Olympus, rubbing elbows with the big shots, the wealthy, the divine - yes the Greek Gods. To fit in you better know who your neighbors are! This playlist will help you find out all about their habits, attitudes, and yes...their powers!"

During testing season we have a challenge to support student research with limited access to our computer labs and mobile labs. So, teaming with my 7th grade English teachers, we've re-worked our usual Greek Mythology research unit & adding a Reality TV hook for engagement. (Confession: 2 of my 3 seventh grade English teachers & I are also all huge Bravo fans & and our shared guilty pleasure is the Real Housewives franchise) Since we didn't want to do "Real Housewives of Mt. Olympus" for fear that our guy students would be turned off by that, we thought Big Rich would do the trick! PS. This lesson also would work for our good friends in the Social Studies Department! (Hellooo NCSS!)
Horrible Histories: a Video Engagement Hook!
Let's also combine the fun of the BBC Horrible Histories & Rotten Romans to inspire the kiddos and start them to see the gods & goddesses with individual personalities!

Challenge: Limited Technology, Time, & Maximize Engagement
A simple shared library book cart loaded with World Book Encyclopedias, pulled mythology books, a MentorMob playlist (embedded below),  a Wikipspaces page, and a few MacBooks can  = meaningful mythology research!
A MentorMob playlist helps students focus their research without being distracted (hopefully!) by unrelated links. The playlist includes curated and vetted web pages that are specific to the task at hand and guide them through the steps completing the research phase of the project. A MentorMob Playlist is also perfect if you want to FLIP the Classroom & have students go through the steps at home! (But please, being mindful of our digital divide - always provide classroom time for those students who might have no access to the Interwebs at home)
Students will be choosing their god or goddess through a random drawing (they will have 30 seconds to switch & trade) then they will research their divine being!
Check out our:
Big Rich Mt. Olympus: A Legendary Playlist

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!
Mt. Olympus Problems - Brainstorm!
Before they start the project and after they've had time to do some research their god or goddess - have a Mt. Olympus Problems - Brainstorming session with your kiddos about what they could be! (see & feel free to use my included graphics for inspiration)

The Big Rich Mt. Olympus Product
We will be giving studetnts a variety of projects to choose from including a Fakebook Page, a Wanted Sign, a PSA, and a Weebly web page. 
A Fakebook page is a project that combines social media engagement with creativity but can be low tech in execution.  Whether the kids choose the PPT template by Nick Provenzano - The Nerdy Teacher or the updated one Facebook Template from Lindsay Cesari’s blog, No Shhing Here (downloadable on my Wikispaces page), the Google Docs Preso version by Meghen Ehrich (Go to FILE > Make a Copy for yourself!)  or the online version, or my adapted & transformed downloadable "old skool" pencil & paper version. Whichever mode you decide, each encourages students to think of the gods & goddesses as real people with, personalities, character traits, flaws, habits, attitudes, and abilities and combines them with the engagement of social media.  
Make is Social! 
Let kids randomly or in small groups "be" their divine being & write on other peoples walls AS their god or goddess. (Make sure they initial content for attribution & ownership) Have them trade "papers" or walls to make blog comments, join groups, draw pictures, etc. Do a gallery walk at the culminating class to "grade" with post it notes or score pads giving out points for those whose additions were the most creative, fun, amusing, & accurate. Talk about which god or goddess would you rather be friends with,  (or enemies!) and why!

Wikispaces Research Page
Also feel free to check out my Mythology Research Wikispaces page! Copy the whole page if you like including the graphics (remove captions)  - Take, Use, Share - just please make sure to give attribution.
What other products do you use with your kids researching Mythology and Gods & Goddesses? 

When technology is limited, how do you transform high tech options into low tech products?
As always, your comments are invited, appreciated, & celebrated! YAY! 

I added Big Rich Mt. Olympus: Legendary Drama! to My Myths page:

How to Create Links
How to make a website using //weebly/
Mrs. Cullison's Mythology Weebly pages examples

We were mentioned! NCSS Smart Brief: How to conduct a research project with limited computer time   Super thanks for that kind shout out from our NCSS & Social Studies friends!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year 2013

I was going to update this post from last year & add some new stuffs for 2013 because this IS the time of year that I do try to do my Geeky housecleaning. But dag...this post holds up! So..being sorta lazy anyway I'm going to re-post it with new commentary!

(click above for a larger size or download PDF it here)
1. Change your passwords. Yes, ALL of them. 
According to CNN Tech an 8 digit password can be hacked in 2 hours but a 12 character password would take 17 years. Use this handy Comic Tutorial to create a really super new password for every website....don't worry, there's a trick!  You don't have to go to every site you use right away - just make a commitment that when you do go to a site that requires your password you take the extra 5 min to change your password - maybe using the suggestions in my Comic Tutorial.
Basically, have a root password, a varying numeric addition (not the year or your B-DAY!) and add an ending that has something to do with the site. EX: for Huffington Post  ---> H@PPyZ0mbiesEat24HuffPo.  Twitter would be H@PPyZ0mbiesEat25TWEET etc. 
Oh and in the small print of my comic I said 3 important things - Change your passwords twice a year, have a different password for Facebook because FB's security is notoriously craptastic, and a diff password from ANYwhere else for your bank that is randomly generated. Oh and here's my Disclaimer - I'm not a security expert and nothing is foolproof. And geeks all over have different opinions about passwords - these are just mine.

2. Dump your cache, cookies, & clear history
At least once a year (I try quarterly) go around to every computer you use public & private -and dump the cache, clear your cookies, & browsing history.

3. Consolidate your Flashdrives
We all have a gajillion flashdrives floating around from 128mg's to 16gb's. Lazy Way: Gather them all up and create a folder on your external HD called flashdrive backups (or one folder per flashdrive) and drag all the stuff in there. Smart Way: Go through all those flashdrives & trash anything you really don't need & save only the archive worthy stuff. While you're at it - are those drives named? Do you have an .RTF doc on it that says "If found, Please Read" with your contact information? This might be a good time to get those on there. I give every new teacher & secretary to my school a new 4G flashdrive and yeah, sometimes they lose them (I'm looking at you Sue! LOL) So, even though it's super easy to carry around & save stuff in a pinch, you wanna give yourself a chance to get it back if lost. Now... throw some of those old flashdrives away & go on to the next tip.
dropbox.JPG4. Forget the flashdrive try the cloud!
Now that you've backed up your flash drives consider using Dropbox, Amazon Prime storage, iCloud, or Google drive to save your stuff! I've blogged about Dropbox before, but this past year after getting 3 new computers & a new mini iPad proves to me how vital having Dropbox is. When I go to each device I don't have to transfer my documents because they are already there once I install the Dropbox! Boom!  Don't have Dropbox or joined & never DOWNLOADED it on your computer? Get it by using THIS SPECIAL SECRET SQUIRREL LINK to register for dropbox & use your school email account and you'll get EXTRA FREE SPACE! (it's a total geeky pyramid scheme but SO worth it!)  Dropbox allows you store your files online, easily share files with others, and sync your documents with multiple computers and mobile devices once you Download Dropbox. I have it on my iPad and all my Macs both home and at school! This is a must have tool for educators! It's Free, Convenient, and Saves Time! And you can increase your space for FREE if you Tweet about it & do a few other tasks (or blog about it using your referral link - wink wink) Seriously, it's just downright awesome.Want to read more? My fav Auntie & blogging mentee Life With Lynn has written a new post Feelin' (and sharin'!) the DROPBOX Looove! about how she uses Dropbox.
5. Edit your privacy settings & friendships
Facebook is notoriously changing their privacy settings (that's why I've had an on again and off again relationship with FB right now we're broken up)- Google "latest facebook privacy settings" to read blogs with advice to double check that you're sharing what you want to share. Consider what you share and who you share it with. Also, look at your friends - are you really friends with them? Do they add to the conversation? Have they contributed lately? " While considering what's private and public, take time to evaluate what a "friend," "contact" or "follower" means to you and what types of information you share with different groups." (Quoted from the super AWEsome )

6. Be Transparent
I've said it all year, but Transparent is the New Black! If you haven't done it already, go for it! Though some still consider it a big leap for an educator on the intarwebs, I think that horse has already left the barn. I went transparent in 2009 after being inspired at NECC-DC. Sure, it's a little scary but worth it if you're building a PLN and wanting to make a "name" for yourself out there. And really? Our names are already "out there" best to craft how it shows up yourself & be a good role model for creating your own positive digital footprint. (Search this blog "digital footprint" to read more) So yeah, now I'm Gwyneth Jones here and on the Twitters in addition to my electronic portfolio and on my wikis.

7. Buy your name.
For $10 bucks a year you can own your own domain through Google Apps. You don't want to be the last person who has their own domain or let someone else get it. I was lazy in this, considered it back in the late 90's - went with Angelfire instead. That was stooopid. Wish I had grabbed Gwyneth Jones before the Welsh Opera singer & the Sci Fi YA Author! Ahh well! Now I have 2 domains! for this blog and for my electronic portfolio.
8. Get Wikified
Sure there are LibGuides & LiveBinders out there but nothing is so easy to use, flexible, FREE, & just a joy as a Wikispaces! So, if you're not ready to buy a domain but don't just want a school based web page? Create a FREE K-12 Wikispaces. Learn from my mistakes, when you sign up for the first time, use your own name or a variation thereof! I made the mistake back in 06 when I joined wikispaces of making it under my school name because my intention was for it to be a prof dev wiki... so I named it mhmsmedia for my wiki account -I've since changed it to (Thanks Wikispaces!)

9.Build your PLN
Build your PLN! Today, having a Personal Learning Network is essential to stay in tune with the trends and what's going on. So whether you join a Ning or Twitter (even just for conferences!) Here's a getting started Twitter 101  Flickr gallery so you can start talking to other excited educators about new ideas...crowdsource! Got a question? Pose it to the PLN and you'll be amazed at the answers you get! See a question someone else is asking that you can help with? Contribute! (I try to give 95% and only ask for help 5%) GIVE, give, and give some more! Share shamelesly! Whatever you create think of your other educators out there who might benefit from it. Add it to your blog, wiki or slideshare! No one likes to re-create the wheel. Give your greatest works to our profession - it's good ed tech karma! PS. Always give attribution! I know professional teacher thieving is par for the course, heck I do it all the time, but I ask permission whenever possible and link back and ALWAYS give attribution!

10. Back up your data.
"Hacks and hardware failures happen. Before this year gets going, make sure as much of your data as possible is protected. From bookmakrs, calendars and contacts to blog posts and work projects, more and more of us are relying on networks of servers and startups to keep us running.  Save anything that's valuable to you and portable. Get a big external HD but also burn to CD or DVD the really important stuff because I've had externals die on me. And yeah, the cloud is awesome, but I'm not ready to give over yet completely! LOL "Think of it this way: You - or at least parts of you - live in the Internet. If the Internet caught on fire, what would you grab to carry with you out of the blaze?" (Quoted, inspired & adapted from the super AWEsome )

So, Ok...some of these things are stuff I preach about ALL the time... like a flippin broken record when it comes to shameless sharing I'm that passionate about it....but what did I forget?

What are the geeky things that you do that we can learn from?

Please comment your suggestions, corrections, & additions! Thank you dear readers! Muuuwa! And......Happy New Year!

--Credits & Resources
Creating and Remembering Complex Passwords by Alex Jones (not my nephew!)
Suggested alternative expert comic - Thanks, Colin!
(click above for full size on XKCD!)
The Ultimate Guide for Creating Strong Passwords - Some of these suggestions seem impossible but I got great ideas here.
The top 50 passwords you should never use | Naked Security
8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010
Five New Years Resolution Suggestions.

Baby Cthulhu Squishable a gift from my dear friend Dr. Gelving Obolensky of New Babbage. Thanks darlin! He, I will NEVER Prune from my PLN tree!
Flashdrive pic from: bamalibrarylady Tamara Evans

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Transparency is the New Black

I've written about the importance web presence and transparency since I started this blog. (and I apologize for my early over use of ellipses & lack of the shift key!) Now, more than ever, education professionals must be visible and transparent in what they do and with their program and practice. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the thought of building a web presence from scratch -- but it's easy to fashion a fabulous functional digital footprint with a few easy pieces! Listed in priority order, ease of establishment & use, and the ever important commitment and difficulty factor! All my humble opinion, of course!

Now, before we start I gotta add that this is by NO MEANS a checklist of 8 social media things you have to do! No social media guilt from me or my blog dear friend! Consider it a dim sum dinner or perhaps an ala carte menu, grab one new tasty plate or two! ! Just try one of the 8 to see which you like best- and always I would say, start with a Wiki! Sure, lib guides and live binders are good - but for ease of use and day to day webby goodness nothing beats a wiki!
(Disclaimer: the daring librarian is a non-compensated spokesperson - she's just a wikispaces fan!)

Wikispaces are FREE for educators to easily create wikipages & connect with your students and community. Choose a Everyone can view pages, only wiki members can edit them. Add widgets, graphics, play with the look & feel to make it fit your personality & school!

I've blogged about Twitter so often for a reason. Until you feel the power of it by following EdTech leaders and subject specific chat's it's hard to believe how amazingly powerful it is!
There's a small learning curve to it, that's why I created a Twitter 101 Flickr Gallery for the newbie & visual learner!

Speaking of Flickr - I Love Me Some Flickr! Sure, I started with Smugmug in 2004 (and still have it) but Flickr has captured my heart - the ease of uploading, tagging, comments, sharing, the Creative Commons! AND, it's great for sharing digital images with students, parents, and colleagues! It rocks! I'm just worried that with Google buying Picnik & leaving Flickr now Yahoo might screw up its totally awesome creation. But nothing so awesome could just go away, right? (tries not to think of backflip & knocks on wood)

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know how I've had an on again - off again relationship with the Facebook. We're seeing other people right now and I've settled on Google+ but that nonwithstanding, I DO believe Facebook is where our kids & parents are so we should at least have a local page for our school with links to our main school website, office hours, phone numbers, and community announcements. To do this, I created a special Gmail addy account so that it can be passed on & to share with my Administrator and to not have it personally tied to me. It's like a Facebook surrogate! Keeps me there, but Facebook clean & no poking!

I'm on LinkedIn but I don't do much there - it's just another way parents, colleagues, and the world can find me and my main websites. It's like a funnel - it steers people to where you really are active! It's also like a cactus - it grows but you don't have to "water" it often!

YouTube has grown SO much since I joined in 2006 - now I have a full fledged channel! We also have one for our school - using the same email address we did our Facebook local page. YouTube has added really amazing new editing features and closed captioning tools AND has created the new YouTube EDU division - just for schools! For video uploading that won't get blocked also try SchoolTube!

My district is going Google next year and I am SO psyched! Of course, being a Google Certified Teacher I'm a big fan of all the amazing Google apps for Education! From Google forms, docs (Mmm the cloud!), spreadsheets, and now Play - there are SO many ways for educators to enhance and streamline their day to day life with Google!

Finally - to Blog or Not to blog? That is the question!
OK, first I'm sorry for that... but doggone it! Blogging is a struggle for sure! I would say only start blogging if you have a true burning desire & this posting with blog tips can help but it's a long term relationship - fraught with internal guilt. NOT for the faint of heart. I REALLY hate blogs with post after post that start with "I'm sorry I haven't blogged lately but (insert lame excuse here) but even *I* am struggling with the desire to explain why the whole month of March got away from me -without posting! (lame excuses: grieving, Maryland state standardized testing & bronchitis) SEE? I just broke my own rule! It's anguish! It's a pain! It's mostly self-created though - be strong if you blog! Blogging makes you also feel as exposed as walking down a catwalk in a bodysuit and takes a lot of nerve and determination. But, it's also very rewarding.

I mean, here I am, on my spring break sitting at the beach in Delaware and catching up on my blog?! (I have 3 posts in the works) I know, that's Cra Cra, right? So, why do I do it? Because I have a burning desire to share and connect with my PLN - that's you! Because it helps me remember what I did when & how I did it. The word Blog came from slurring together the term Web & Log - it's a log or diary of my days & teaching practice. I also blog because if I can help just one new teacher or librarian, or cheer up a discouraged one - then it's all worth it! I like being a perky effin Pollyana cheerleader for education & I like stirring the pot! I'm passionate about my profession & it's fun to share it! And I obviously like using an abundance of exclamation points!!! But I gotta tell you that I blogged for YEARS out into the aethernet silence - like writing to no one - but I kept at it. You don't blog for comments either! They are the gold nuggets of blogging - greatly desired but Oh so RARE! (by the way, thanks to everyone who ever left a comment! loveyoumeanit!) One more tip for blogging: Always use labels & keywords - I didn't for YEARS now it's a pain to find old posts & it helps with SEO! (Search Engine Optimization)
Basically, You have to blog for you. Because it's somehow satisfying - because you must.
To recap:

What did I forget? What is your favourite way to connect with your students & community? What advice would you give to new educators to establishing a web presence? As always, dears - Take, Use, Share!(view all the slides on my Flickr)
Here's the whole preso uploaded on my Slidesshre!
But it's not the same without my charmingly snarky delivery! Demand your conference planners to bring me to your venue! ;-) (shameless bit o baggage ain't I?)
Web Presence is the New Black
View more presentations from gwyneth jones
See me in person!And if you're attending the Baltimore Maryland Common Ground event, these slides are just a part of a pre-event workshop I'm presenting there along with my concurrent session on Thursday:

And here's our old rusty friend Sir Bolt, to tell us more about our ISTE affiliate event, Common Ground!

Resources & Credits:
201+ Social Media Links - Don't Hate the Hashtag!

Cybraryman's Educational Hashtags

Fashion Show Pics:
A huge thanks to Tug Wilson of the UK for his amazing shots of a fashion show at the Victorian & Albert Museum! See it in action with this amazing video!
Thank you, Tug for making these pictures Creative Commons & I've given you attribution on the bottom right of every slide.

Featured Font: Neutraface by House Industries a recent splurge to my graphic design desires


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...