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professional development tools

Page history last edited by Keri-Lee Beasley 12 years, 5 months ago


 
 

Tools for ongoing professional development

 

AIM OF THE WEEK:

 

To get you to appreciate how a few online tools or combination of tools

can help you increase your professional development

 

 

 

Professional development is about keeping in touch -- with the latest research, with colleagues, with what's happening in the world of international schools. 

 

Subscribing to forums and webpages by email is one way to keep in touch.  But there are others.

 

Personalized homepages

 

Personalized homepages are one way to pull together the websites you use regularly in one place.  You choose and organize what is displayed.  There are several tools that allow you to do this -- and they make it very easy to share links or modules, often called "widgets", between users.

 

  • iGoogle is one of the most popular.  It's great if you have a Gmail account, but because each page is private (you have to log into your Google account to see it), it's not something you can share with others. 
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  • Netvibes is another -- with the added advantage that it allows both a private and a public page .  For example, see below the public East Campus Library webpage I set up to hold basic links to our UWCSEA community information.
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    Similarly, I have set up a public East Campus Teachers webpage to hold basic links of interest to our teachers -- with plans to collect links related to our units of inquiry on a public East Campus PYP webpage, with each UOI on a separate tab.

     

  • Pageflakes is very similar to Netvibes.  Keri-Lee has created Mrs. Beasley's Pageflakes as a basic "fun" page for students to access.

 

RSS Feeds

 

RSS feeds are ways of getting automatic updates from your favorite websites.  Here's a CommonCraft video to explain them in plain English.

 

If you subscribe to RSS feeds, you need to set up a "feed reader".  Google Reader, as mentioned in the video above, is one option that allows you to manage many feeds.

 

Personalized homepages, e.g., Netvibes, are another.  For example, look at the East Campus Library webpage -- notice that there are individual RSS feeds coming in from blogs written by UWCSEA teachers, blogs Keri-Lee maintains for Grade 2-4's ICT classes, and news from the main UWCSEA page.   Also look at the East Campus Teachers webpage -- notice there is an RSS feed coming from the Connecting East blog

 

NB: You can put a widget for Google Reader onto your iGoogle or Netvibes page.

 

Twitter

 

Twitter, a micro-blogging tool, is the latest craze in instant communication, but one that looks like it will be around for a long time.  In essence, it's a news feed on someone's professional or personal life.  If you are unfamiliar with it, watch this CommonCraft video.

 

If you want to see some examples of Twittering, flip through this slideshow, Why is the Fail Whale Smiling?

 

 

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Exercises to try

 

NOVICE -- accessing a professional development organization

 

1.  Access the OCC (Online Curriculum Centre) of the IBO.  There is a link to it on the IBO/PYP tab of the East Campus Teachers webpage.  Login using the School Code, Username, and Password that was provided to you by our PYP Co-ordinator.  (If you don't know what to enter, you know who to ask!)

2.  Click on "Forums" on the left-hand side of the screen.  Select a Forum of interest to you and have a read.   (NB: The IBO is in the process of re-designing the OCC into something called the Digital Space Initiative.  Don't worry if you hate the interface -- everyone does.  Let's hope it gets replaced soon.)  This exercise is just to show you what professional development conversations are available to you via the IBO / OCC.

3.  Send one of us an e-mail telling us what you thought of the website and whether you found anything of interest to you.  If you want to subscribe to any forum, you can do so by clicking on the "Profile" option and then "Personal Options".  You can then subscribe to receive email updates when your chosen forums have new activity.

4.  Alternatively, access the moodle of the ECIS (European Council on International Schools) -- which is called iSkoodle.  There is a link on the PD Organizations & Conferences tab of the East Campus Teachers webpage.  Find a forum of interest (note: forums are called "Courses"), sign up for it, and have a read.  (Don't worry -- you can unsubscribe from any "course" you sign up to.)  Again, send us an email letting us know if you found anything good.

 

APPRENTICE -- exploring RSS feeds and Twitter

 

1.  Watch the CommonCraft video on RSS feeds embedded above.

2.  Check out the Interactive Whiteboard tab of the East Campus Teachers webpageBrowse through the feeds there -- whether Keri-Lee's or general "IWB" or "Promethean" ones via Delicious.  Find a website you want to bookmark -- and tag it "IWB" and "connectingeast".

3.  Watch the CommonCraft video on Twitter embedded above

4.  Check out the PD Organizations & Conferences tab of the East Campus Teachers webpage.  On that page click on the link to the EARCOS Teachers Conference wiki.  Also note the Twitter feed for that conference (which is based on people attending the conference agreeing to use the hash tag #ETC09 in their tweets).   Look for any tweet from EARCOS by Keri-Lee (Twitter name = klbeasley).  If you have trouble finding one, have a look at Keri-Lee's whole Twitter streamSend her an email proving you have read one of her tweets (unless you want to skip to the Expert task and just sign up to Twitter, in which case, tweet her.)

 

PRACTITIONER -- creating a personalized homepage and subscribing to feeds

 

1.  Do the Apprentice task above.

2.  Either create your own iGoogle page (explore iGoogle here) or your own Netvibes page (see these FAQ re Netvibes to help you get started).  (Remember, you can always go to Atomic Learning to get help -- just search for "iGoogle" or "Netvibes").

3.  Subscribe to some feeds that you feel will give you ongoing professional development -- using either Google Reader (which you can then put on you iGoogle page) or using Netvibes.  Blogs by other educators are a particularly rich source of material.  If you don't know of any, go back to our Connecting East week on blogs where we gave you some websites that might be good sources OR go to this fairly recent blog posting, Educational Blogs You Should Be Investigating:

"What I’ve pulled for you today are blogs divided by subject and grade level for you to quickly reference, but I do encourage you to explore blogs outside of your curriculum, as well.  Some are classroom blogs.  Others are teacher reflections.  A few are teaching strategies with classroom resources, and there are even some from outside education, but relate to your curriculum. "

4.  Send us an email giving us either the public URL of your Netvibes page OR a few of the feeds you ended up subscribing to.

 

EXPERT -- twittering

 

1.  Do the Apprentice task above.

2.  Sign up for Twitter, if you haven't already

3.  Sign up to "follow" klandmiles, librarianedge, and WLIAO (and if you are already following us, then please send us a tweet so we know you're out there!)  Respond to at least one of our tweets.

4.  Search Twitter for words that may lead you to people you want to follow.  Sign up to "follow" some new people.  If you get stuck, there's always Buckminster Fuller (long dead, but alive via Twitter).

5.  Explore some of these 25+ Incredibly Useful Twitter Tools and Firefox Plugins, e.g., Keri-Lee and I highly recommend Tweetdeck.

 

 

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Further reading/exploration

 

Explore some of these Twitter "Shorty Award" winners.  Let us know via a tweet if you find any to recommend.

 

 

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