Thursday, March 11, 2010

NCTIES 2010: Why Tweet?

This is the first blog of what I'm sure will be several posts inspired by my time at the 2010 NCTIES conference in Raleigh. As I've reflected and read some of the recent blog posts from the great educators and presenters who attended the conference, I echo many of their thoughts. The conference is a whirlwind of new ideas and a brief chance to meet some of the really important figures in Edtech.
And I was pleased to have the opportunity to present a session at this year's conference. My session "Why Tweet?" was designed to make the case for why educators should use Twitter as a tool for creating a personal learning network (a phrase I heard repeated several times at many different sessions). My session grew from my realization that the Twitter workshop I've led in the past didn't always result in teachers who continued to use Twitter after the workshop. I always got good feedback and people enjoyed seeing the tool and hearing me talk about it, but they stopped short of using it for very long themselves. Why? I think maybe too much of the workshop was about "the tool" and not enough about "why use the tool."
So I traveled to Raleigh with a new approach. Show the tool, share how I've used it, and explain the ways I've seen it utilized to share great ideas, resources and make connections. Thinking that if the presentation made sense, participants might spend the time to set up the account and get started.
Early Friday morning I presented "Why Tweet?" and was pleased and honored to see some folks roll out of bed to hear me talk about Twitter for an hour. I also appreciated the support of some who already use Twitter, are already a part of my PLN and really didn't need a rationale of why they should useTwitter but still were there; it's always nice to see a few familiar faces in the crowd.
So while I was satisfied with the session, I was even more pleased to connect with some from the session on Twitter. I'm a believer in the power of the personal learning network, and it's changed the way I learn and access information. So much good results when learners network.
I've included the presentation below if you'd like to check it out.

Monday, March 1, 2010


One of my goals is to provide teachers with quality, usable technology tools for their classrooms. Most teachers want their tech resources to be easy to learn and use (no detailed handouts or pages of notes needed), they want the new tools to have a place in their own classrooms and subject areas, and they want the new tools to save them time.

Livebinders meets all those criteria and by organizing websites and webcontent. The setup is very clear. And if you have an idea of how you'd like to organize select websites around a subject, theme, class schedule, etc... you'll be binding websites together in no time.

Using it in the classroom:
  • If you have a projector, interactive whiteboard or flatscreen TV, Livebinders is a great way to present websites to your classes. In presentation mode the Livebinder is visually appealing and allows you to quickly jump from webpage to webpage without opening new browsers or tabs.
  • Your Livebinders can be used in centers on the classroom computers, allowing students to explore a topic or theme while staying on the websites chosen by the teacher.
  • Your binders can be linked to your webpage or embedded in a blog or wiki. This permits students to access the Livebinder from any connected computer. Livebinders are a great way to collect sites to support or enrich classroom instruction.
  • Finally, while a Livebinder can be set to "private," many of the livebinders are public and teachers can benefit from the broader community of educators using Livebinders - seeing and using websites other teachers have found.
Livebinders is a functional, easy-to-use addition to any teacher's tech toolbox. Check it out at and if you're interested in see a few examples first, check out my Livebinders on the SMART and Promethean resources below: