Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Social Bookmarking with Diigo

With so many fabulous Web2.0 tools available to educators, I had a difficult time deciding which one to include for discussion on this post. After much thought, I settled on a tool called, Diigo. Diigo, which stands for Digest of Internet Information, Groups, and Other Stuff, is a social bookmarking tool that allows users to bookmark web sites and to “tag” each site according to the site’s content. Users can highlight important text within a bookmarked web site and also include Sticky Notes (annotations). There are many features about Diigo that I find to be very useful, the most notable of which is that once you bookmark your sites in Diigo, they are available to you on any computer that has Internet access.  In addition, you can share your library with your colleagues – what a great tool for collaboration! Diigo also has a feature called Groups where a user can invite other users to contribute to a Group’s web resources. This is a great idea for use in the classroom where students can all contribute to the pool of web resources as well as to comment on those resources. Again, a great tool for collaborating and sharing! If this sounds like something that you’d like to learn more about, go to and register for a free Diigo Educator account. Please visit my Diigo library to see how this application can be used. 

Still want to learn more about Diigo? Here's a short video that will highlight some of Diigo's features.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Blogging!

After viewing the following video about blogs, please post a comment letting me know what you think about the upcoming blogging assignment. What do you think the challenges will be? What differences do you think there will be between blogging and a more traditional method of communication such as writing a paper or creating a PowerPoint? Be sure to include your name in your comment (first name only is OK).
Now, it's on to Blogging!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Getting Social With Edmodo

Edmodo is a social networking tool designed specifically for educators. Using Edmodo, educators can easily connect with other like-interested educators to collaborate, share ideas, and resources. Edmodo can also be used by teachers to engage their students in meaningful-online discussions as well as posting quizzes assignments and polls.

For the 2012-13 PLN Class, we will participate as a group  in an Edmodo discussion forum. You will need a Group Code to join our group. For security purposes I did not include the code within this post but I will give it to you in class.

One of the things that I find helpful is to create a second Edmodo account that I use as a "student account." By using this additional account, I know exactly what my students can see.

Please refer to the Session 3 & 4 page for the requirements for the Edmodo Unit of our course.

Suggested Reading

Ideas on using Edmodo from Teachers from around the world
22 Great Tips on using Edmodo in the classroom
Notification to parents about using Edmodo in the elementary classroom
Preparing to use Edmodo: Getting Administrators, Parents and Students on Board
Teaching Ideas: Enhancing Communication with Edmodo

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Twitter: Microblogging & Collaborating

Sessions 1 & 2  
Feared by many educators almost as much as Facebook, Twitter is blocked by many school districts.  Many people think that Twitter is a huge waste of time - just another way to stay in tune with the antics of celebrities and sports figures. I admit that I do enjoy trying to “keep up” with the Kardashians; they are after all, very entertaining! However, entertainment aside, Twitter can be a very useful tool for students and educators to communicate easily and effectively.

Last year, my son’s math teacher posted her homework assignments on Twitter making it impossible for my son and his classmates to claim that they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.  I was at his school recently and I saw this sign posted in the guidance area informing the students where to follow them on Twitter – way to go NHS!  

Another notable use of Twitter is that it enables like-interested educators (from anywhere around the world) to collaborate with one another fairly effortlessly.  It's hard for many of us to imagine how anything posted in 140 characters or less can be useful. However, that is precisely what makes Twitter so appealing; unlike this post, there's little room for fluff!

How Do I Begin?
Deciding to start using Twitter can be a bit frightening. After all, what are you possibly going to Tweet about? My suggestion is to not worry about what you're going to say. Instead, start off real simple and just follow a few frequent-tweeting educators (such as: Gregory Kulowiec, KathySchrock, Dan Callahan, Patrick Larkin and Tom Daccord).  Once you get a sense of what other educators are tweeting about you’ll become more comfortable working with this social networking tool. In addition, follow other individuals, or organizations that you find interesting (such as: MTA, WSJ, NYTimes and Edutopia) and perhaps a favorite politician, a sports figure, or even a Kardashian or two.

Before we dive into Twitter-land, let's talk about security.  As educators, we need to be especially careful to ensure that we don't put ourselves in a situation that could compromise our privacy and our professionalism. Here are a few suggestions to protect yourself and your reputation when using Twitter:

1)   Create separate Twitter accounts
a.   Professional Account: Use this account to collaborate with your colleagues and other like-interested educators
b.   Personal Account: Use this account to communicate with your friends and family etc.
c.   Student/School Account: Use this account to communicate with your students, their parents or guardians, and the school community.

2)   Following Students on Their Twitter Accounts:
a.   Don’t do it!
b.   Don’t take the risk of reading a student’s tweet that might have serious implications (perhaps something that needs to be reported to school or law officials).

3)   Allowing Students (and their parents/guardians) to follow you on Twitter
a.   Don’t allow it unless it is an account that you have established to communicate only with your students, their parents or guardians! Be sure to save your security settings so that people cannot automatically follow you.
b.   Making use of hashtags (#) to direct your tweets to your intended audience is a safe and effective way to use Twitter to communicate.  Using hashtags in tweets allows communication without the need for teachers to follow students or for students to follow teachers. Students would be instructed by their teachers to search for a particular hashtag (that is related to their class) to get access to all of the class tweets. Hashtags are a great way to organize (and search for) tweets. For example, if I were to tweet a reminder to my students in my 10th grade English class (B Block) to study for a test, my tweet (and hashtag) might look like this:
  Reminder test on Friday Romeo&Juliet – Study! #eng10B

More on Hashtags

There are numerous education related “chat rooms” accessible in Twitter by using hashtags.  For example, there are Twitter chats for World Language: #langchat, Education: #edchat, Social Studies: #sschat, Science: #scichat. The list of educational “hashtags is very extensive; the odds are that you can find one that you will find useful. By entering the name of a hashtag at the end of the Tweetchat web address (, you can view Twitter posts/tweets from any particular chat (in this case, I was viewing the langchat chat room). I followed #olympics this past summer to stay informed about the Olympic games. You don't need a twitter account to view the tweets/posts in chat rooms, but you do need an account to contribute.

As you can see, Twitter is much more than just following celebrities and sports figures; it really does have its place in education.
           @LoriAlighieri  @LoriTech1

Homework Due: November 15, 2012
1) Send out 6 Tweets using our class hashtag, #pln12.
2) ReTweet 2 Tweets using our class hashtag, #pln12.
3) Follow additional educators so that you follow a minimum of 25. Pay attention to what they're chatting about. Is there anything that you find interesting or useful? 
4) Follow additional news sources so that you follow a minimum of 8.
5) Follow a minimum of 10 random people or organizations.
6) Send a Tweet with a Direct Message to me and to 3 other course participants (using our class hashtag, #pln12).
7) Read the articles about Twitter located at the bottom of the Session 1 & 2 Page. Be prepared to discuss how Twitter might be effectively incorporated into education and specifically, how you might be able to use Twitter. 
8) Find an additional web based article about Twitter that you think would benefit our class. While in class, we'll learn how to "shorten" a URL and how to include a link to your article in a Tweet.
9) Be sure that you're following me on both of my Twitter handles.
10) Visit the Edudemic web site on hashtags and find a few that are interesting to you. Then, either in Twitter or TweetChat, use that hashtag to see what all the chatting is about! Be prepared to share your findings with our class.
11) Be sure that you are following me (LoriAlighieri & LoriTech1) and all the class participants.
12) Play around with Twitter and have fun!