I have set up some hashtags to follow within my TweetDeck. They are #edtechchat, #educhat, #edchat, #ipadedu, #ipaded, #googlefored, #makerspace, #gbl, and #elemchat. It is probably too many, but these are all areas that I am interested in and would like to learn more about. Most obviously I chose #edtechchat because I am the technology coordinator for my school and because I am in the Edtech Master’s program at Boise State University. Because I teach all grade levels, K-8, in computers, collaborate with all the teachers in my school and technology teachers in our Diocese, and because someday I may go back to teaching in a regular classroom, I chose to follow #educhat, #edchat, and #elemchat.
Our school has a 1:1 iPad program for grades 6-8 and we have small sets of iPads for grades K-5. As a result, I chose to follow #ipadedu and #ipaded. I would like to learn ways to help my classroom teachers better integrate the iPads into their daily lessons and move beyond using them for games, calculators, and AR tests. I am also following #googlefored because I am not convinced iPads are the way to go and I would also like to explore the idea of switching to Chromebooks. I’d also like to become a Google Certified Educator.
Not only am I the technology coordinator at my school, but I am also the library media specialist. I have been hearing more and more about Makerspaces and would like to pursue starting one in my school library. As a result, I chose to follow #Makerspace.
The last hashtag I chose to follow is #gbl. I took a class on game based learning last semester and loved it. I am following this hashtag in order to keep the momentum going for what I learned last semester and begin developing a game based learning system for my computer classes next year.
After the initial set up in TweetDeck, I began exploring. In my initial exploration I learned about 5 handy Chrome extensions to help students with their writing including Read and Write which allows students to hear words or passages, highlight, and learn word meanings as they conduct research. There is also an extension called Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides which allows a user to edit Microsoft files without having Office installed on their computer.
I also read an article and learned that the older iPads we have at our school might become obsolete in the Fall after the IOS 10 update. Now we may have to scramble to upgrade a large amount of iPads we have for our middle school students. This will cause an unexpected financial strain on the school which will escalate the debate we are having regarding Chromebooks and iPads.
Finally, I found a tweet with a link to an article on 16 resources for creating Makerspaces. This provided some good reasoning and resources for implementing a Makerspace within my library. From this Tweet, I started following other Library Media Specialists to learn more about Makerspaces and I also found book recommendations for my library which was an added bonus.
Having these hashtags set up in TweetDeck has been beneficial because it provides an organized method for studying different topics. The topics I chose are related to my interests and provide tailored professional development for my specific needs. The only drawback (which may not necessarily be a drawback) is that I am finding that I could spend hours at the computer reading and studying all the resources that people are sharing. I can’t wait to share what I have learned with my colleagues when we get back to school in August.