Students Explode Onto the Blogging Scene!

We all know it…it’s very difficult sometimes to get high school students excited about writing (and almost anything else these days). We proved this week however, that once you give them a voice, add a dash of guidance, and a splash of technology… viola! We’ve got kids writing like crazy at one high school.

This week, three classes at Bertie Early College  were exposed to training on blogging. Mr. Michael Everett allowed me to come into his Creative Writing class and conduct a workshop for his students on Evernote Web, Evernote Web Clipper, Clearly, and of course, WordPress. The kids were enthusiastic and engaged!

Let me tell you just a bit about what started the blogging revolution. Earlier in the week, I visited with Ms. Rhonda Taylor’s Earth/Environmental Science Classes. Their task was to research an event relative to human’s impact on the environment, and summarize their findings (on paper). This assignment needs some pizzazz, I thought. TechChic to the rescue! Continue reading

10 Takeaways From ISTE 2014

20140701_102350The 2014 ISTE conference in Atlanta GA, was indeed an eye-opening experience. If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the #ISTE2014 on your feed for the last seven days. I got off the plane ready to take in all of the information, and I boarded the flight home afraid that my brain was going to ooze out of my ears! Therefore, it’s taken me a few days to wrap my mind around the many things I learned while in attendance. So, here are 10 takeaways from this amazing national conference!

1. Technological Savvy requires a personal commitment.

Let’s face it. After attending ISTE 2014, it became very clear to me that there are far too many tools and strategies for one to ingest and regurgitate all at once. If I were to rely solely on the presenters and materials I encountered during the conference, and tried to remember every word spoken, I’d fail miserably at retaining valuable knowledge. Thus, it is my personal responsibility to go back into my notes, research the many links I’d written down and QR codes I’d scanned, and embed those concepts mentally, according to the needs of my school district. Continue reading

Twitter For The More Advanced

Use a Dashboard and Expand Your Twitterverse!

Are you still trying to follow along with various Twitter chats, stay abreast of all the breaking news, and keep a watchful eye on your kids’ tweets all on the official Twitter website? It can be mind numbing trying to flip back and forth to all of those pages. This is when a dashboard comes in very handy! Today’s post features TweetDeck, prefered by many to use specifically with Twitter. Unlike Hootsuite, you can only manage your Twitter accounts and no other social media like Facebook or Instagram. However, if you are only looking to supercharge your Twitter experience, this may be the dashboard for you! Click here to see a Thinglink graphic with tags and explanations!

Just a little tidbit as we move into summer conference season. Be armed with a dashboard and Tweet Like A Boss!

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Go Wild With Social Media In The Classroom! Sort of…

Are you tired of constantly being on the prowl, looking to reprimand students whom you catch using social media during your class time? Unless your school has strict digital device policies, or the ability to block all connectivity to the outside world, it’s an everyday task. However, today I’ve got a couple of tools for you from that your little social media enthusiasts will love! So, let’s take a traditional research paper/PowerPoint (substitution) assignment, and move it into the Modification/Redefinition levels of technology integration.

MJ Cover

Continue reading

Twitter Basics for Educators

A few years back, some of my colleagues regarded Twitter as something quirky that I was just really into on a personal level. The truth is that using social media for education is one of the top trends today. There isn’t a conference around which does not host tweet chats during an event. There are loads of Twitter chats for education every night of the week. Alternatively, you can find lists of chats on everything from A to Z on Twubs.

What I’ve discovered however, is that here in Northeastern North Carolina, the issue is tougher than what one tech facilitator can handle alone. While we’re all learning to implement the Common Core and Essential Standards (still), there are cultural and generational divides between technology and traditional education. The reason for this is summed up best in the following quote:

“People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.”
― Andrew Smith

Well fear no more! Below is a screencast to simply help teachers, principals, and district personnel learn what Twitter is, how it can be best used in education, and mostly…how to get started, and get the most out of tweeting to grow your PLN!

I hope this helps. The next screencast will focus on hashtags, tweet chats, and dashboards (Tweetdeck). Stay tuned! Meanwhile, share this and subscribe to the Social Juggernaut.

5 Reasons Every Educator Should Blog

Blogging is so…

16010_wpm_hiresTherapeutic! I blog because I’ve got a lot to say. I can write for hours on end and no one butts in, begs to differ, or tunes me out…on paper. The crazy thing is, blogging has unlocked a talent that I didn’t even realize I had until recently. I was going through some old school certificates, which were mainly athletic. I came across the most rewarding one in the bunch!  It read, “This certifies that Joan Sharpe made a perfect score on the North Carolina Eighth Grade Writing Test…”

Wait… You mean to tell me that I’ve searched the world over to find my calling, find my ideal career, find myself, and find my purpose in life, and the answer was filed away in a drawer all this time??? This explains why I could often times spit out a 10 page paper in college the night before it was due and make an A (but more on that later)!

Why should all educators blog? I’ve got a few reasons that apply to all, regardless of your writing skills, or your level of desire. 

1. It’s Good Reflective Practice

One of the major parts of the basic lesson plan is reflective practice (RP). This is where teachers reflect on the effectiveness of, and the areas of improvement needed after a lesson has been delivered. RP is an essential part of the planning process because if we learn to critique our own lessons and make changes for the better, then we improve as we facilitate instruction. We can also research trends and discover ways to stay current in the profession. For example, because I blogged about social media in the classroom, it actually opened my scope further about ways to use various platforms in my lessons. It also led me to find Today’s Meet, for the tweeting impaired. Administrators may also reflect on their philosophies of education, trends they see in their buildings, and initiatives under which their school may operate. Blogging is a great way to build your digital portfolio. Continue reading

Are Schools Losing the Social Media Race?

social-media-logosThe thought recently occurred to me that in order to prepare our students for the future, school districts have to implement social media technology into the curriculum.  Recently, one of my eleventh grade anatomy students (we’ll call him Andy) raised his hand to be acknowledged and said frankly,

“Mrs. McCullough, you do know that today’s student’s are smarter than you all are, don’t you?”

In an attempt to fight back the adrenaline rush and avoid the onset of steam spewing from my ears, I replied,

“How on earth did you come to THAT conclusion, Andy?”

His answer was simple, but painfully obvious.  “Teachers are not ‘up’ on technology like we are.  If you all hook up a new device, you have to read the directions.  Y’all don’t even really know how to use Twitter or Instagram. The stuff we’re learning in school is really not preparing us for real life.” Continue reading