Dear PD Colleagues:
During the summer of 2010, we held robust discussions of Using Social Media in Teaching and Professional Development. AALPD and ALTN took a survey of our PD List to see what tools we used and which we wanted to learn most about (see below for results). Do these results still reflect the needs you see for teachers and professional developers today? Why or why not? What would you add to the list?
I’m curious as to what people are using now. Which social media tools do you use in teaching and staff development? Who is your audience and for what purpose(s) are you using the tool? What are some strategies you’ve had some success with for engaging your audience with the media?
I look forward to hearing from you,
Moderator, Evidence-based Professional Development COP
Results from the 2010 AALPD / ALTN Survey of Social Media in Professional Development
After 100 participants rated their skills with dozens of online tools, they were asked to choose the top tools in each of the following categories that they wanted to learn more about. While they were allowed to skip some of these questions, here’s what respondents said:
|Category||Top Two Social Media Tools|
|Blogs||Blogger and WordPress|
|Microblogs||Twitter and Google Buzz|
|Associated Twitter Tools||Mr. Buzz and Tweetdeck/Twitterfeed|
|Audio/Video/Photo Sharing||YouTube and Flickr|
|Google Apps||Google Docs, Groups/Reader|
|Social Networking||Facebook and LinkedIn|
|Online Collaboration||Ning and Wikispaces|
|Audio / Web Conferencing||Skype and WebEx|
(ha ha all the jargon in my subject line)
Right off the bat I see some social media tools that are STILL popular 'needs' for PD and I see some that are missing.
Missing from the list are:
- Hybrid polling tools that leverage mobile learning like Socrative, Polleverywhere, etc.(not my strength - something *I* want to learn)
- Online 'bulletin board'/collaboration tools like tools like Padlet and Mural.ly
- Tools like Instagram and Pinterest are missing from the photosharing/microblogging category - these have really risen to the top.
- While YouTube is still very popular, other videosharing tools have arisen such as Vimeo and Vine (microvideo)
- Audio/Web conferencing has also stretched - with Zoom being a new top contender...
- Google has grown enormously since 2010 - I'd add GooglePlus and Google Hangouts and "Google Forms"
I'm still a big fan of 'text' Blogging and prefer Wordpress - which has really expanded it's ability to do highly visual blogging - making it a contender for photosharing too...
Ning and GoogleBuzz have wandered off the grid some...Edmodo isn't listed...
OK, I'll stop now...
Hi Duren, I hope your summer's going well!
Thanks for your feedback on "what's missing". Are there other SM tools you think are still needed for PD? If so, why?
I'd like to know if others agree with Duren's additions and if anything else may be missing. Thoughts?
Also, is this a topic we'd like to explore in a guest discussion later this summer/fall?
Moderator, Evidence-based Professional Development COP
On Twitter: @jataylor10
I'm currently engaged in some teaching/field research using FB with migrant youth in an alternative high school in Minneapolis. We are repeating a workshop/study that we conducted last summer. In both workshops we've used FB for both in and out of class work on Language Arts benchmarks - particularly around critical analysis. From this experience I've observed that successful integration of a social media tool depends largely on the affordances of that tool. We noticed that the youth have participated in the construction of a truly supportive, collaborative learning environment within our "secret" FB group.
If you think about it, FB is set up for just that (there is no "dislike" button). Also, because of its popularity and heavy use it's relatively bomb proof. No technical issues means no frustration and everyone feels welcome. The hardest part of the project was setting up the secret group and getting everyone in there. That can be teacher work, so that the learners are not burdened. I highly recommend using it for instructional purposes! Though I've heard it said that youth/young adults don't use FB anymore, I'd have to say that that was not our experience. Over the two summers, we only had 4 of 50 participants who did not have FB. Hence, we didn't need to spend much time with orientation of the tool.
Do contact me by email if you have any other questions about it. I'd also like to recommend a book I just found, that touches on some of the questions in this strand:
There are some great chapters in there on use of informal environments and "social collaboration" for learning.
Hi Jen and others,
I agree that using a technology that users are already on makes all kinds of sense, but here is my question:
Some have said they like Edmodo, since it looks/works similarly to FB. Was the key factor for you in using FB the ease of use or the ease of getting on/connecting. I guess my question is since Edmodo would work roughly the same once users are in, how much of the issue is about the ease of getting signed up with a new platform. I ask since Edmodo has more educational features. Would you ever consider after FB moving to Edmodo or is it just that the benefits would not outweigh the challenges, particularly with the population you are working with.
Educational Technology Center
World Education, Inc
I've used Schoology for PD and I see the similarities with FB. I think Edmodo is similar. Yes, the key factor for me choosing FB was that the students were already FB users. I didn't want the newness of the environment to be a distraction. We were also looking to gain some understanding about the ways that the youth use FB, and more specifically, how they express their identities within the online space. It seemed a good idea to use an authentic social media space over one designed as a learning environment.
Another great plug for Schoology: you can pull in all of Google, including Google Drive and looking at websites through Schoology, so that is one less log in and password everyone has to remember.The creators designed it to be intuitive, so if you have no training, you can easily put together an incredible, online course. I use it for math and professional development with my colleagues.
Thanks so much for sharing your work in Minneapolis with the migrant youth and Facebook. Would you also please give us a couple of examples of how, specifically, you used a private Facebook group with the students? For example, was it a forum for exchange of questions and answers among the students? Was it used as a tool for flipped learning? How would you describe it supported student learning and collaboration? If a teacher were going to try using Facebook with students, what advice would you give?
I welcome others' responses to these questions as well.
Thanks again and looking forward,
Hi, Jackie and all.
I created a secret FB group for the youth that I worked with. That way their posts would appear on their own FB walls/visible to them, but not represented in their FB friends' newsfeeds. I think this privacy setting was key to learner buy in and comfort expressing their views. Most of the posts made by the students were in response to assigned tasks. For example we asked them to analyze images or texts found online (and from our own FB pages). We scaffolded their writing on FB through pair and small group discussion and planning. Then, after all posts were made, we encouraged them to respond to each other with questions and comments.
I have no doubt that FB itself supported collaboration and learning (see previous comment about FB affordances). The youth were familiar with FB (many had thousands of FB friends), so their exchanges did not feel forced; it was an authentic space for writing and exchange of ideas. The classroom teacher we worked with said that the youth produced more and higher quality text than they had previous written on paper. Yes, it's easier to type, but I think the fact that they knew they were setting up a conversation was motivating for them.
Jackie, Jen, Branka and Steve & many others, Thank you for your links, questions and thoughts on using Facebook for creating class pages. Being based in the SF Bay Area, I now have the opportunity to share with Facebook's content staff ways to improve Facebook's usability for low-level adults and students (should it be easier to navigate? should the language be graded down more?). If any of you teachers out there who use FB pages regularly with students (Paul Rogers, Donna Price, Susan Gehr etc), please let me know if you have particular ideas or recommendations on how to improve your students' experiences or make it easier or more effective for you to use it with your class. Feel free to respond here or offline: firstname.lastname@example.org-- and I'll be sure to credit your ideas or include you in the conversation. Best, Alison
This is a great opportunity Alison. Thanks so much! If you are planning to summarize the recommendations, could you also post the summary here?
I hope everyone here who uses Facebook with their students joins in with suggestions, recommendations, or intriguing ideas. You never know when one of your recommendations (or dream ideas) will be acted on by a publisher, in this case by Facebook.
David J. Rosen
Moderator, Technology and Learning CoP
I like to use Schoology to house any PD "courses." It's free. I can put the handouts there. People can continue to discuss the topic and share resources, if they so choose, after the PD "event." And what I really like about it is that it has a low learning curve. It's very similar to Facebook in many ways, so most people catch on to how to use it very quickly. Plus, when I go to facilitate that particular training again, everything is already there. I just need to curate, update, and go.
There are many SM tools out there that people are familiar with and are often the "go to" places when people think social media. At the same time, many are fearful of control, security, and general outside influences that might disrupt positive educational flows because many of the SM environments have limited or challenging controls. One tool that might not get enough love is Google +. It is an environment very much like Facebook, but G+ allows for organization of friends, groups in many ways that other tools do not allow or are not easy to facilitate. Add in that EVERY post that anyone puts out can be quickly and easily directed to an individual, group, or groups by simply clicking on the appropriate parties before you hit post. Heck, you can even go in after you post and change how has access to each post. None of these situations where people are posting in the wrong group or situations where "I thought I was posting to ...". A nice and easy recipient popup is present in every post.
Want more? G+ is of course a Google product and integrates all of the google tools. Your posts can be embedded articles you drafted in a shared doc, it could be a form where data automatically is displayed graphically on a site that the students are brought to when they complete the form. How about having all respondents to a post thread automatically getting an invite on their calendar to a group discussion in a google hangout (video and voice conference that can handle many more people than standard free tools)? There are way too many incredibly interactive options to explain in one post. Suffice to say that Google + offers more power and flexibility as a SM tool than any of the others I have used and taught. If you have questions about G+, please share as many people really have never really played with the tool. If you have specific ways you have used G+ please share the love :)
Can you give us some links to good YouTube or other online videos, including online screen capture videos, that walk us through some of the things that Google + can do? If you can, and if it isn't clear from a video title, could you give a short description of what the video demonstrates and/or explains. The idea is to create an easy way to get up to speed with Google + so that those who wish to can try it out.
Of course, if you already have a Google + training group whose purpose is to do what I have described, perhaps you could just send those here who are interested an invitation to join.
I wonder if there is a Google + educators group in which people discuss how to use it with students and other teachers. Do you know?
David J. Rosen
Technology and Learning CoP Moderator
I have to say that finding just one quick and dirty presentation that really highlights all the strengths and options of Google+ (G+) has been difficult.
Just a few short highlights from my perspective.
- Google offers educational units the ability to create their own subset of the the Google network so that local admins can better control what tools people have access to and how those tools might function within their community. I don't see many other SM tools offering that localized control.
- G+ has many components including wall posting (like FB and Pinterest), Chatting (FB, Twitter, Skype...), Video/Audio conferencing, Screen sharing, collaborative whiteboards, ability to record sessions, scheduling tools and so many other features that no other one tool includes.
- The sheer number of tools integrated within G+ and it's ability to tie in other Google Drive tools, offers unparalleled options in terms of how educators and students can be interacting and collaborating.
- Any of your hangouts act as live streams that can be automatically recorded on your youtube page. In this way you can record lessons for distance learning or for students that were not present or even for students to review lessons at a later date.
This video offers a nice (somewhat dull though) run through of the many options you can set up in G+. The author offers information specific to businesses, but as he goes through the features, your imagination will be able to derive tons of creative ways teachers can use these options in class and with peers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FSOhJCio-M
There is a live binder started up here: http://www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=135530 and that has many of the features highlighted.
In terms of communities there are a few that might be worth following. The challenge is that any search for "Google+ for educators" will often bring you to Google's education service information where they help schools create their own closed network versions of the Google Tools.
- Educators on Google+: postings by educators for educators but no one set subject or focus https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/100342834366095345013
- There was just a community discussion centered on Google+ Communities for Schools and the recording and links are here: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/videopd/20150324-google-communities
- This is a G+ Hangout sharing 31 ways G+ is useful for higher education. It is 2 years old so there are many other features and options not mentioned in this, but it does give you tons of ideas. (1 hour long) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lwnjo9DpV4
If anyone has any questions like, "Can you do something like .... ?" in G+ please offer your questions as there are so many options that it difficult to find a finite presentation that covers all bases.
Hi Ed and all, I am just starting to learn about the tremendous resources available through Google +. It would be great to see some of this demonstrated. I would like to set up a class using this online space. My interest started because I have tablets for use in my class, which do not have Microsoft products loaded. Since I want the learners in my class to create presentations, I was looking into online presentation tools. I know about Prezi, but I am not crazy about it. Then I learned about Google Slides from a colleague, which works similarly to PowerPoint. I plan to try out Google Slides this summer.
I certainly welcome members' suggestions for other ways to integrate technology into instruction. Thank you for emphasizing the value of this great resource, Ed!
Cheers, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, AELL, Assessment & CCR Communities of Practice
Good day Susan and everyone. In thinking about how many educational dollars are spent each year to effectively advertise for applications we are forced to pay for I am sickened. If my computer has application X and I am using that program to teach students a vital digital skills they will use for most of their lives, and I do this for 7 or so years in school at least, I should not have to pay for that application as I am doing 7 years of advertising, training and application of their program. In effect, if I am going to condition people for many years to use a product, the company making that product should be paying education and not the other way around.
In 2005, I decided to switch over to study those programs that, in practice, seemed to be supporting educational uses for free and they had a profit model that allowed for sustainability of that free resource. There were a number of options and some of them are still healthy and vibrant. Google remains the strongest and most robust in my opinion.
Your post, Susan, got me wondering what might be the best way to offer each other support as individuals take the plunge into some very deep waters. You can learn most any skill or feature by going to YouTube or doing a search like "formatting paragraphs in Google Documents" and poof, you have many little mini lessons to help you. Still, that interpersonal touch is missing and we often feel more grounded if we have a mentor community, even if it is only digital. Perhaps we can start a thread on Lincs where people might post questions, set up demos (hangouts) , or share some resources people have created in that space? I help people explore the power of these Google tools every day and I have even started playing around with free screen cast software so I can make some walkthroughs for educators at some point (waiting on my mic to arrive) .
For those exploring a new resource, there can be much anxiety or frustration while for those very familiar with that resource those same tasks take seconds and are routine. We have a ton of talented people at least lurking on this list (yes we see you...grin), and creating some means for those exploring to connect with those experienced in a safe and positive forum may encourage more exploration and more of our experts to share their experiences. I am not sure what the best means to do this would be.
Hangouts, allow us to individually or in groups have our own little webinars with a host of powerful tools available. These can be recorded too if I am not mistaken (I have not tried that yet). We can use the text posting threads here in this Lincs environment, but I worry that as we accumulate good answers we might loose those or not be able to assemble those examples in a logical way for quick access. A google doc or wiki could be used and has been used by communities before, but much careful thought needs to be put into how are requests shared with the community (maybe a google form?), how do the community members offer answers/suggestions/advice, and then how do some of those best ideas (evaluated how?) get posted in an organized way? If others want to help set up that digital workflow, I would certainly welcome helping people explore the Google set of tools and creating a positive mentoring collaboration of learning. .
Google is really promoting its apps, etc. into classrooms and education; I remember reading an invitation for teachers to apply for "Google training camp" (and seeing the usual lack of diversity in teh pictures)... I'm "following" an Alice Keeler on Twitter who's doing lots of evangelizing and has written a book "Fifty things You Can Do With Google Classroom" who often posts "how-to" links. http://www.amazon.com/Things-You-With-Google-Classroom/dp/098615542X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 -- I notice that if you've got Amazon Prime you can borrow it on Kindle for free. Now, she promotes specifically Google's resources and wasn't well informed about things like OER (among other things, posted that the YouTube Creative Commons license that people can choose to use when they post a video was not a standard Creative Commons license, when it's not the same as the "Standard YOuTube license, but it *is* the standard CC-BY Creative Commons license with a direct link to download and remix right next to that statement.)
I've just found https://support.google.com/docs/answer/2375012?hl=en which explains how you can set up your computer to have access to and to be able to edit things even if you're not connected to the Internet; one of my big issues w/ Google is that Everythign Is ONline and I'm often where I don't have access. The other issue I know people have with things Google is that it's attuned to highly tech-savvy folks and there's always the Next New Thing. Wikis! Hangouts! Slides! Google Forms! (Then there's this: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2929855/cloud-computing/google-plus-is-dead-yes-really-this-time-its-true-honest.html )
That said, I've learned a lot in Hangouts. I remember when "webinars" and synchronous online interaction meant a bunch of people on the same page at the same time, *trying* to talk to each other while the computer stalled out and "buffered." This was much better. I was still glad I didn't have to figure out the tech side of it.
I can't remember whether it was "hangouts" or some other social media thing that basically put what you had said &done right up on YouTube...
I got a link just now for a webinar on Aug. 15 on Hangouts. If you click the "Click HEre To Register" you'll see what I mean about it being enthusiastically promoted ;) http://www.simplek12.com/google-8-15
I'm looking for examples from around the country of successful uses of social media in teaching and professional development in adult education. Specifically, I'm seeking examples of using Twitter and Facebook, but I'd also like to hear examples of various tools in use. Who's using which tool, for what purpose, how are you using it, and with what success? (Anecdotal is fine though if you have some additional evidence I'd like to hear that, too.)
Please feel free to share your example here in our community of practice so that we may benefit from each others' experiences. Or if you prefer, email me direct at email@example.com .
Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,
Moderator, Evidence-based Professional Development COP
Jackie - and anyone else in the LINCS CoP:
Could you help us out with a definition or some examples of "social media tools"?
I find that I'm having trouble drawing lines between "online or mobile learning tools" and social media tools - as so many things now have elements of both.
As an example - there is an interesting discussion happening over in the Assessment group on use of tools like Socrative for formative assessment with adult learners. https://community.lincs.ed.gov/discussion/5-fantastic-fast-formative-assessment-tools
Do these tools qualify as "social media" ? Why or why not?
Hi Duren and All,
Duren, it's interesting you asked that question as I was just reviewing the discussion you noted after I posted my inquiry above (I was wondering similarly). Unless someone has a definition of social media that they like better, here's one with which we might agree and see whether the tools being discussed fall within this definition. What stands out to me from this definition is the ability to communicate many-to-many and to co-create user-generated content.
I'd also like to hear from others -- what do you think? Do you agree with this definition of social media (below)? And -- do all online or mobile learning tools constitute social media? Why or why not?
Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. Social media is defined as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content." Furthermore, social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between businesses,organizations, communities, and individuals. These changes are the focus of the emerging field of technoself studies. Social media differ from traditional or industrial media in many ways, including quality,reach, frequency, usability, immediacy and permanence. Social media operates in a dialogic transmission system, (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media that operates under a monologic transmission model (one source to many receivers).
"Social media has been broadly defined to refer to 'the many relatively inexpensive and widely accessible electronic tools that enable anyone to publish and access information, collaborate on a common effort, or build relationships'".
Hi Duren, and others,
Duren, what do you want to do with a definition of social media tools? Do you want to use it to help select various digital or online tools in or out as social media tools, and if so why? Or do you want to do something else with the definition? Perhaps that will help us decide if the Wikipedia definition Jackie suggested will meet the need or not.
It might also be useful to distinguish between:
- An electronic/online/digital tool, (think of a hammer, saw, or wrench) such as an app, a single tool that generally does one thing;
- A digital set of tools that can do many things; and
- A digital a tool bench or tool shed with all the digital teaching tools.
With a set of digital teaching tools, a tool bench, or a tool shed, there could of course be some social media tools as well as other kinds of tools, such as assessment tools, curriculum tools, classroom management tools, or course evaluation tools.
(BTW, if you are wondering what the difference might be between a teaching tool bench and a teaching tool shed, here's one example: a teacher who is also a professional developer might have a teacher tool bench and a professional developer tool bench in her digital education tool shed. In the professional development digital toolbench might be a webinar platform such as Adobe Connect, and a professional wiki such as the ALE Wiki. Of course, there might also be a tool set such as Schoology that is useful for both tool benches.)
I am interested in how a digital tool or set of tools might be used well for purposes other than for what it was intended. For example, several adult educators have suggested recently that LinkedIn, designed as a set of professional promotion/marketing and networking tools, may have some uses in adult workforce preparation for adult learners who are new to building their online work presence, that a link to their Linked in profile, for example, might be part of an online portfolio they share with prospective employers..
David J. Rosen
Hello Jackie and all,
I would like to share 4 videos illustrating use of Social Media (Facebook mostly) in Adult Ed in California, produced by OTAN in 2012. All four can be found under this link - http://www.otan.us/browse/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&catid=33160#social-media
Social Media for Promoting Adult Education Programs
Some schools are using Facebook and other social media to keep in touch with students and to get the word out about their programs. This will be increasingly important as requirements increase to report on numbers of students who get a job, keep a job, or go on to further education, after they exit adult education programs. Hear from Torrance and Downey Adult school administrators, teachers, and other staff about their recommendations and lessons learned while using Facebook for the purpose of promoting their programs. Running Time: 6:33
Using Social Media to Create Community in an ESL Class
Learners in an ESL program at San Diego Community College District Continuing Education and their teacher, Ann Marie Damrau, talk about how using Facebook for their class extends learning outside the classroom walls and immerses them into everyday English. It also helps them stay in touch, makes them feel closer and develop friendships. Running Time: 3:36
Social Media Supports Transition to Work
Learners in a VESL Personal Care Assistant program at San Diego Community College District Continuing Education and their teachers, Donna Price and Kathy Campbell, talk about how using Facebook for their class helps them get information related to the language and vocational skills they are acquiring. The larger community of current students and alumni share employment opportunities and job related experiences and tips through Facebook posts and documents. The teachers hear from former students and keep track of their progress. Running Time: 5:31
Social Media in Career Technical Education
A learner in a Medical Terminology program at Fresno Adult School, Nancy Bienville, and the teacher, Mato-Kuwapi Parker, talk about how using Facebook is a way to stay connected to the class and serves as a communication tool about useful information and resources. It also serves as a way to give recognition to those who do well in class and motivate the learners to continue working towards their goals. Running Time: 4:45
I am SO lost compared to you folks. Reading what little I have this morning has blown me away! I have jotted down a bunch of things to check out. Yes, I am familiar with FB 9no, I do not have an account, but my older granddaughters do) and my students use GoogleDocs all of the time (at least some of them) but I am so far out, I will never catch up!
Fear not, you're in good company. We are all feeling a little lost and none of us will "catch up". We can't. There are just too many apps, and an accelerating number all the time. Years ago, in his book Future Shock, Alvin Toffler said this acceleration would happen, and he was right. At one time in history all the world's written knowledge was in one place, in the library in Alexandria Egypt, which subsequently burned down. I suppose while the library was still standing and filled with books someone might have had the goal of reading them all. Probably everyone else who could read felt they could never catch up. Now no one would think of reading all the books in the world. Instead we ask our friends, family and colleagues what they have read, perhaps read reviews of books, and maybe take Amazon.com or other online bookseller suggestions that are based on what we have bought before.
So what's the solution to staying up on useful technology hardware and software applications? You could go crazy trying to look at them all. One answer might be to read reviews, but there are too many of these, (from someone who writes some of them himself.) What I would like to see is:
- A regularly updated online database of online (and other computer and digital device) tools for adult education teachers and learners that is searchable by categories of problems that adult education teachers, tutors and administrators would like to solve or learning needs they would like to meet. After all, digital technology describes a certain kind of tool, and tools are used to do things, to solve problems, to meet needs, in this case learning needs, or to solve teaching and learning problems. I would like to see as tool categories for example: managing a multilevel classroom, individualizing instruction, improving retention, improving vocabulary, learning how to reason in math, and others.
- For each database entry, a description that includes some standard descriptors that adult basic skills practitioners usually find useful
- For each entry, a section for ratings and comments by teachers who have used the tool, for other practitioners to read and consider
Easily said, of course. To be effective and high-quality it needs a long-term commitment of support from a federal agency, for example from the U.S. Department of Education. Maybe in the future this could be a LINCS project!
In the meantime, here are some recommendations for you, Ginger, and for others, about how to approach all these new apps and hardware:
1. Word process a list of the education problems or needs you hope technology can help you with (and if you do, please share that with us in the Technology and Learning CoP). When you have a new need, add it to your list.
2. When you learn about a software application or new hardware that you think addresses one of your needs, remember to add it to your list, under the need -- and include the web address for it.
3. Read the Tech Tips for Teachers Blog (now with a hundred articles). It has short articles by adult basic education practitioners about tools they find useful, and often why and how they use them. For example, in an article I wrote, you can see one way to use a free mind-mapping tool, Coggle, to assess students knowledge before and after watching a video or other kind of presentation or demonstration.
4. If you get the COABE Journal, read my Web Scan column, in which I review web-based software and websites suitable for adult basic education. (If not, perhaps your library would order it -- including back issues -- and you could read it there. (Perhaps someday old COABE Journal issues will be digitized and indexed for adult educators who do not subscribe, and for those who do!)
5. Continue to read posts in the LINCS Technology and Learning CoP.
6. When you get a few applications listed under a problem or need that you are especially interested in, look for reviews online, or post a message to relevant LINCS CoPs such as Technology and Learning, Reading and Writing, Math, Learning Disabilities, Science, etc. asking if anyone has used the application and ask some specific questions about it such as: used with what kinds of students, at what level, how they and their teacher like it, and why, etc.
7. Then, if you find that other adult education teachers like a particular application, review it yourself.
Anyone else have suggestions for Ginger, and for us all? Thanks for raising the problem, Ginger. You are not alone!
David J. Rosen
Technology and Learning CoP Moderator
May I suggest, that since what David said to Ginger - there is no way to be familiar with or even aware of every tool - is completely true, we instead think of our goal for technology and then find technology that meets that purpose? I have felt less 'behind' since watching an excellent keynote about that very topic by Dan Meyer. Now I only explore and read reviews of tools that fit my mission.
David is absolutely right in that no one of us will ever have complete mastery over even half of all the tools and information that are available at an increasing basis every day. Asking questions in your social media networks like this one or Facebook or linked in or many other tools that allow you to connect with other people gives you a collective knowledge that you can use to get help in your learning. I am always reaching out to my online communities to try to learn about what works what doesn't work how do I make it work and to explore things I was just curious about. I am constantly amazed by the wonderful expertise and suggestions that are offered almost immediately by the online community.
As an example David just shared with everyone a wishlist for some way to organize the many tools available in a way that is specific to teacher-centered activities or goals. As I was reading David's post something was nagging at the back of my head that there was such a system already in place that we could use, I just could not remember the name. I hit up my social network and within 2 minutes had a colleague remind me of the name of the tool I had explored a number of years ago that would fit every single one of those bullet points that David shared. The collective knowledge of a social media group is incredible.
I will need to explorer this tool a bit more before presenting it to the group just to ensure there is support material available to help early adopters jump on board. In the meantime I think it would be very productive for someone to create a wiki or online shared document that discusses the possible categories. With any organizational tool that a group will use it is vital to have a list of terms or searching criteria that everyone can easily recognize in order to find relevant information. Once we have established a list of searchable criteria I could get a tool set up in about 10 minutes that would that would fit the needs of our group to organize the many tools and resources we all have to share with each other. Does anyone wish to start up that list and share with the group. David, you already have a mini list started, would you want to flash that out a bit more in a document people might use to comment or add on to the list?
This is exciting stuff and I look forward to seeing what our search criteria might look like. So many searches online are set up by academic category or by specific professional terms. It seems refreshing that we might create a product or need based criteria with which educators can search by need or by goal and can find the tools that may be helpful in those efforts. I should have more information on the stool this weekend after I verify that all of our requirements are easily done within the tool. My quick review this morning left me feeling that all the bases were covered, but I do want to explore with a fine tooth comb to ensure we don't run into barriers that limit the tools effectiveness. In the meantime, let's get discussions going around what search categories would be most effective.
Thanks, Ed, for researching this online database tool that we might use for organizing free or inexpensive online and other digital instructional tools for adult education teachers and administrators. I/we eagerly await hearing more about it from you. Perhaps we can try to do this as a LINCS Technology and Learning CoP project, at least to get it started and to learn if it is useful to CoP members. If so, we could take the next step to seek funding to maintain it over time.
You have suggested that someone set up a wiki page where LINCS members can add their (instructional problem, need or objective) categories for searching for online or other digital tools. I have just created that page. It's on the Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Wiki at http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Search_Categories_for_Online_Tools,_based_on_Instructional_needs,_problems_or_objectives . To add to the ALE wiki one must be registered. It's easy to do, but you will need the ALE Wiki Code (this is to avoid spammers.) To get the code, email me. Instructions for adding text to the Wiki appear at the bottom of the wiki page.
I hope those of you who agree with Connie, Ed and me that this could be a useful way to search for online tools will add search categories to that page.
David J. Rosen
Technology and Learning CoP Moderator