Digital Tools for Digital Learning

Update for Feb 2-6

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Last week I shared some thoughts about developing a “brand” for yourself and the implications branding might have for students.  I argued that students are going to have to leverage themselves through the use of digital tools in order to be able to have access to opportunities.

This week, I want to expand on the idea of using digital tools to create a brand and connect it more to our own learning and development as educators.  I want to share some of the tools I have been using as a learner and how it has helped me begin to think about the implications this kind of learning has for the work we do for kids.

Social Media — aka, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.  All of these different platforms have a different way to access ideas and to connect with others.  I treat Twitter as a river of ideas and information where I occasionally “go fishing”.  It’s impossible to keep up with all of the different ideas, so just let that go and connect when you want to connect.  Just remember that connecting can help you strike gold, so don’t be afraid to reach out!

feedly — This is an extremely powerful learning tool for me.  feedly is a “news aggregator application”.  In plain English?  It’s a web-based application that allows you to subscribe to all of the different blogs and websites you check frequently.

Let’s say you love reading Seth Godin’s blog, but you don’t always have time.  Adding Seth’s blog to your feedly account tells feedly, “Collect any blog post Seth publishes and keep it here so that I can read them when I am ready.”

You can do this with hundreds of other blogs, too.  I know it sounds like a lot, but reading articles on feedly is how I start each morning.  I feel like I have learned so much from this practice; more than I ever have from a PD session.  I highly recommend checking it out.

Google Apps — The apps are getting better all the time. Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more.  The apps give you a full range of tools to help you create and explore.  I used Google Apps to do all of my grad school work, even my 8 billion page portfolio, using only Google Apps.  I love the ability to collaborate with any of the apps, which is one of the skills we all agree is important for students to develop.  We know that it is a powerful tool for students, but how many of us teachers are using it for ourselves?  Isn’t it time to start making the move?

Kindle app — This has been another huge learning tool for me for a couple of reasons.  First, I can read the same book on many devices.  I never have to have the book with me as long as I can connect.  I can read a book on my phone while at soccer practice, on my iPad at home, or on the computer at work which is especially helpful when I want to remember something I read the night before.

Second, the highlights! Let’s say you read some great line or passage in a book and you want to be able to find it quickly.  Just highlight it in the Kindle app.  Here’s the great part: Amazon gives you your own place online where all of your highlights are housed. I love that I can have every single thing I have highlighted from a book at my fingertips.

The bottom line for me is that these tools have helped me begin to understand how to learn in a digital world. I believe that it is important for us to be using these tools so that we can develop a deep understanding of how learning is different with digital tools and the implications it has for the work we do for kids.

Next week, I’ll some characteristics of a connected learner.

Have a great week!

Articles worth reading:

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A Principal’s Reflections: Leading Schools of the Future http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2015/01/leading-schools-of-future.html?spref=tw


Why Even ‘Good’ Schools Benefit From Trying Fresh Ideas | MindShift http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/01/why-even-good-schools-benefit-from-trying-fresh-ideas/ via @MindShiftKQED


The SAMR Model In 120 Seconds: The SAMR Model

Upcoming Dates:


Feb 3
BIT meeting, 8:00am
Kindergarten Data Team meeting, 1:00

Feb 4
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8:00am
3rd Grade Visit to ILC, 9:30-11:00
Special Education Team meeting, 12:30

Feb 5
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8-11:00am
3rd Grade Data Team meeting, 9am
4th Grade Data Team meeting, 1pm

Feb 6
Yearbook Sale Ends
Newsletter home
BAC meeting, 8am

Feb 9
PARCC Testing meeting (Herb), 1:15
PTO Meeting, 7:00pm

Feb 10
Community Outing (Shively), 9am

Feb 11
Conference Night

Feb 13-16
No School

Feb 17
Waiver Day — Hilliard U

Feb 24
Wellness Committee Meeting, 7pm

Upcoming Assessments:

Tuesday Feb. 24th
PARCC – English Language Arts  PBA Unit 1
4th and 5th grade students
Wed. Feb. 25th
PARCC – English Language Arts  PBA Unit 2
4th and 5th grade students
Thursday Feb. 26th
PARCC – English Language Arts  PBA Unit 3
4th and 5th grade students
Tuesday March 3rd
PARCC – Math  PBA Unit 1
3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students
Wed. March 4th
PARCC – Math  PBA Unit 2
3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students

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