Sunday, January 31, 2016

How A Collective, Connected Community Can Stand Up for Those Who Are Down - RIP @DevenKBlack @BobSprankle

As I shared a few days ago, friend and award-winning connected educator, Deven Black was violently murdered in a homeless shelter. Many of those who knew Deven at the height of his career, just a few short years ago, tried to make sense of what had happened. Some felt guilty because they hadn’t reached out to Deven with a call or an invitation to meet.  As one person said, “I think this highlights the power of social media to bring people together, but also its power to make us think that we're helping when we really aren't.” Another put it this way, “"We posted kind words to a social media profile and assumed that was enough."


Some people conveyed that they were connected to Deven through their online conversations though they never got to meet him. Some called him an online friend who they never got to know in real life.  Some warned of the dangers when we let the the lines of online life and real life blur.  


We need to take a step back from the notion that online communication is interaction in a world that is not real or is somehow less valuable than face-to-face life.  This impulse to dismiss social media as less than other communication is detrimental. It leads to a false belief that if only we had selected a different medium in which to communicate, there would have been a different outcome. I'm not so sure.

Here's why.

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

My post about those horrible bells in school resonates with readers for another week. Out with the industrial model bells, and in with more modern and civil ways for queuing students to move between classes. Making its way to second place for the first time are 5 tips from digital influencers on how to make a great education blog. Following that is a post that I wrote to let people know the benefits of going paperless and how to make agendas that make that possible. Next up is post that I have found really helpful. It explains how to write a killer Tweet. I find myself referring to that post often and sharing it with others. Rounding out the top is a post about how to use social media to change perceptions. It’s an important post for schools and educational organizations to read understand how their digital image can support a positive reputation. 

Title
Views
Dec 30, 2015, 
3694
Jan 17, 2016, 
3108
Jan 10, 2016, 
2586
Jan 12, 2016, 
2256
Jan 3, 2016, 
1820


I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Friday, January 29, 2016

RIP to Award-Winning Librarian @DevenKBlack

Last month educators had to say goodbye to Joe Bower. Shortly prior, we lost Bob Sprankle. This week, I was stunned to learn we lost another innovative educator, Deven Black. I knew Deven as an intellectual out-of-the-box thinker. I loved speaking with Deven because he appreciated having lively conversations where we might disagree on a topic and knew on the other side of it, we’d both come out smarter.


Deven credits me for getting him started with social media. He said he was pissed when my advice on how to get started with Twitter and other social media was, “Just create an account and do it.” He was looking for a more complex answer I suppose. He told me he followed my suggestion and later grew to appreciate my advice to simply jump right in. At the time Deven was a special education teacher and later he became a librarian (which you can read about here). Because of his intellect and insights, it wasn’t long before Deven became quite well-known in the world of education.


In 2012 he was named one of the top 20 education bloggers by the Bammy Awards. You can read his take here. The same year he gave a great talk at Jeff Pulver’s #140Edu Conference. His topic was “How to make dropping out work for you.” It’s worth watching. You can watch his talk or read the transcript here. Deven was part of a group that contributed to the New York City Department of Education’s ground breaking social media guidelines which were the first in the world to be created with students and teachers.  

Bammy 2012 Top Education Bloggers. Devin is on the left. Back row.
Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

10 Practices to Help Bilingual Students Succeed from a Tel Aviv School via #VibeEdu @VibeIsrael Tour

This is just one in a series of ongoing posts on the educational innovations in Israel. You can see additional coverage here

New York City is indeed a melting pot, and while New Yorkers embrace its diversity, teaching in a school where students are not fluent in English, and often are not even literate in their own language, is challenging. Students are often unable to perform at grade level, not because of their capacity to learn, but because of their capacity to understand the language. What’s more, after just one year in the country, foreign-born students are expected to perform on the same standardized tests as native speakers. When they don’t, there’s a domino effect: the student is labeled a failure. His parent feels like a failure. His teacher a failure, and if there are many such students in attendance, the school is labeled a failure. The failure however is not the student, teacher, or school. The failure is the a school system that is failing these students.


Does any of this sound familiar?


What if there was a way to change this scenario?


As one of five bloggers invited to be a part of #VibeIsrael’s #VibeEdu Education Innovation tour I had the chance to visit a school where none of this is the case. The Bialik Rogozin School provides a unique model where refugees and children of migrant workers, some of them with little or no schooling at all, are integrated into Israeli society with common sense educational strategies that any school or district could adopt. 
Students at Bialik Rogozin Scohol connect through the common language of the arts.
Here they dance to music from various cultures.
Here they are:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Is My School #CIPA Compliant? @CommonSenseEdu + @EverFi

If your school provides students with free or reduced lunch you are eligible to receive a major discount (up to 90% off) for internet services from the universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as “E-rate.” Here’s the discount chart. But it’s not like they just hand the moola over. To get this federal support for tech, you must ensure you are preparing your students to be safe, smart, responsible digital citizens.

That’s great, but how do you do that?

Easy.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Hottest posts Everyone's Reading

My post about those horrible bells in school resonates with readers for a second week. Out with the industrial model bells, and in with more modern and civil ways for queuing students to move between classes. Following that is a post that I wrote to let people know the benefits of going paperless and how to make agendas that make that possible. After than are 5 tips from digital influencers on how to make a great education blog. Next up is post that I have found really helpful. It explains how to write a killer Tweet and I find myself referring to that post often and sharing it with others. Rounding out the top is a post remembering the young Joe Bower who we lost too soon and someone from whom I personally learned much. 

I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Entry
Pageviews
Dec 30, 2015, 
3632
Jan 10, 2016, 
3585
Jan 17, 2016, 
3512
Jan 12, 2016, 
3172
Jan 4, 2016, 
3100
Dec 25, 2015, 
2916
Dec 26, 2015, 
2018
Dec 25, 2015, 
1916

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

5 Ways to Determine If You Wrote a Killer Tweet Using Twitter Analytics - #EdcampNYC Takeaways

I recently shared my #EdCampNYC discussion on the "The Anatomy of a Killer Tweet." We came up with the five elements that make a Tweet killer. At the session, participants were challenged to write their own killer Tweet, but how would they know if they really nailed it? The answer: Twitter analytics. This is a free tool helps anyone who has had an account for at least 14 days receive details on tweets' engagement, clicks, retweets, favorites, replies, and more. 

Here are some ways to see how you've done.

If you're interested in an individual Tweet, you can look at just that Tweet by clicking on the date. If you right click on the date, you can copy the link to that Tweet. 

Analytic #1) Single Tweet:
Once you're looking at that Tweet, you'll see a bar chart symbol. When you click that you can see impressions, engagements, retweets, likes, profile clicks, link clicks, and more.  

Analytic #2) Comprehensive View
That's how to see how one Tweet is doing, but you can see how all your Tweets are doing with Twitter Analytics.  Check out the picture below to see how.

Once you select analytics, Twitter brings you to a comprehensive dashboard where you'll find information like the number of Tweets you had for the month, number of impressions, mentions, profile visits and new followers. You'll also learn about what made it to the top Tweet, mention, follower, and media Tweet.  Here's what that looks like.  
Analytic #3) View all Tweet Activity
On the left side of the picture above, under Top Tweet, you have more options to "View all Tweet activity" and to "View followers dashboard." Here is what that looks like. You see number of impressions, engagement, and impression rate broken down by Tweet.  On the right, you also see an overview of overall engagement rates, link clicks, retweets, replies, and likes. Here is what that looks like.  

Analytic #4) View Followers Dashboard
Next, check out the followers dashboard. You know your followers already made the smart decision to follow you, but this dashboard will show what else they may have in common. You can track your follower growth over time, see their top interests and uncover their demographics


Analytic #5) Benchmark Your Numbers
You can also benchmark your numbers against the total Twitter user base and find out what makes your community stand out. For example, I can see that I have 88% more followers in the area of Education than Twitter users overall. Here's what that looks like:

Extra Credit

1) Tracking Links:
At the session, Ann Oro pointed out that in addition to checking out your Twitter Analytics, it's also a good idea to track links within your Tweets. (You can additional reflections from Ann here.) She suggested using Google Shortener which you can access at https://goo.gl. Once there, you paste in your long url and Google gives you a short one. After that you can visit https://goo.gl and click "Details" to find the analytics.  Here's how you get to Google url shortener:

Google link analytics tell you the number of clicks, which sites people came from, the browser they used, the country they were in, and which platform they were on. Here is what that looks like:

2) Tracking all social media
It's one thing to track your own Tweets, but what if you use a hashtag and want to know what everyone is saying across platforms? Use Tagboard! It collects what people are posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Flickr, and Google +.  Here's what it looks like: 

Now it's your turn.

Write your killer Tweet using these five tips, check out your analytics using what you learned here, and let us know how you did. If you have any additional tips or insights, please share in the comments.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

5 Tips for Writing a Killer Blog Post via @RossCoops31 @TonySinanis @MsSackstein

I attended an #EdCampNYC session called "The 3Bs of Connection Education (Blogging + Branding w/ Buddies). The conversation was led by @RossCoops31 @TonySinanis @mssackstein. They shared ideas and insights with participants about being connected in general and blogging in particular.  A blog is one important piece of your digital footprint as +Tim Needles Tweeted along with the photo he shared of the session below.
Here are some tips for those who are interested in bringing blogging into their practice that were shared by the innovative educators who were leading the session (along with a few from me).

1) Getting Comments
A concern for participants was that no one would comment on student blogs. Here are suggestions to remedy that.
1)  Write an email to parents telling them what you are doing and ask them to comment.
2)  Ask students to comment on blogs of others in the class.
3)  Ask other classes at your school to comment.
4)  Ask teachers you know have classes at their school comment.
5)  Try Quad Blogging. Edutopia’s Suzie Boss describes it here.  
6)  Make a killer Tweet (see how here) incorporating the link to the post and using the #Comments4Kids hashtag.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.

A new post takes the lead this week. It questions the need for bells in school and proposes a more civil method for scheduling time in schools. Following that is a post remembering the young Joe Bower who we lost too soon and someone from whom I personally learned much. Next up is a post from my #VibeEdu tour of Israel that shares the importance of using social media to change perceptions.

There are a few more posts to round out the top including one that addresses why we need to stop freaking out about screentime and another that shares lessons learned from my trip to Israel. Rounding out the top is a post that looks at the value of sharing a meal to learn about history and diversity. 

I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.


Entry
Pageviews
Dec 30, 2015, 
3625
Jan 4, 2016, 
2813
Jan 3, 2016, 
2246
Dec 20, 2015, 
1923
Dec 25, 2015, 
1916
Dec 14, 2015, 
1864

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

5 Elements of A Killer Tweet

I recently became intrigued by HS principal @DavidGeurin’s ability to write a killer tweet. For example the Tweet below has hundreds of retweets and likes.  
And, while this is his pinned Tweet (which helps it garner attention), many of his Tweets get a lot of attention. Here are some other examples:


So I started paying attention to what he was doing. To help me, I decided to discuss it and host an #EdCampNYC session called, “How to Write a Killer Tweet.”
Credit to Ann Oro for snapping this shot of me
discussing the Killer Tweet at #EdCampNYC.
We started by looking at and noticing some of what David does.  

Here is what we found:


  1. Link: He often includes a link to something useful to learn more.  
  2. Hashtag: Use appropriate hashtags. Know the hashtags that are popular. You can get started by checking out the list of hashtags shared by @cybraryman1  at http://cybraryman.com/edhashtags.html.
  3. Meme: He often creates a meme. I started doing more of this too using http://imgur.com.
  4. Media/Tags
    He uses an image to tag others with large followings in his post once he selects the image.  The beauty of this is that you can tag up to ten people without using the number of characters it would require to do so. You can see how to do this in the below screenshot.  
Lisa Nielsen   InnovativeEdu    Twitter Media.png

1 Word of Caution: Starr Sackstein (@mssackstein) pointed out the importance of tagging intentionally and respectfully. Among other things, make sure you have a relationship with this person and the post is relevant to them. No one wants to feel used, so make sure you tag responsibly.

Here is the anatomy of a Tweet looking at all five elements.

Those are four tips for a killer tweet and one word of caution.  Try it. Tweet this post, tag me @InnovativeEdu for a guaranteed like, and let me know how it goes in the comments.
_____________________

Check out more insights and reflections from Ann Oro at http://annoroteaches.com/2016/01/09/first-edcamp-of-2016-part-i

Sunday, January 10, 2016

7 Benefits to Ditching The Paper at Meetings + Events with a Great Agenda

We're deep into the 21st century, but you might not know it if you went to a meeting or event. There is still so much that is paper-based...fraught with broken promises of materials to be sent later or telling all participants to send separate emails to acquire materials digitally. If materials are handed out, the stacks of paper handouts usually end up forgotten in pile or waste space in a file cabinet. If you wanted to reuse, or refer to these paper presentations, you'd have to waste time recreating them.


This was a problem for me recently after attending an all-day conference sponsored by a few large ed tech companies. There were several presenters. No digital materials were handed out. Each presenter had a slide at the end of their presentation with information on how to reach them or their secretary to get materials. The conference organizer also say he could be emailed to acquire materials. What a waste of everyone's time. Rather than having the materials in the moment, participants would have to wait days or weeks later to receive materials. At that point, the opportunity to make the most meaning is lost.




I decided followed up on the promises and tracked down every single presenter and the conference organizer to get materials. After several hours of my time and several weeks, I had the materials that could have been provided up front. Most people wouldn’t even bother trying, but imagine if they had. There would be dozens of hours of everyone’s time that was wasted.  


All this can be avoided by updating agenda methods to save everyone's time. The agenda for every event (meeting, workshop, seminar, conference) should be digital with all materials digitally embedded.


This means that the answer to every question when it comes to materials is: “It’s on the agenda.” Every presentation, handout, url, hashtag, contact information...everything, is on the agenda.


Benefits include:
  1. Save time: No one needs to waste time sending and responding to emails about materials.
  2. Find materials: Materials don't get lost as various email attachments
  3. Editable: Participants can make notes directly on the materials rather than separately on a paper document that they will likely never go back to, to transcribe.
  4. Get to Thinking Faster: When participants know they have materials they can get to the thinking faster because they don't need to take notes on what you are saying but rather they are making meaning of what you are saying because they have the materials.
  5. Information is Accessible: No more repeating or reminding people of hashtags, social media sites, urls. It's all on the agenda.
  6. Save Money: Forget the stacks of paper and folders. When you go digital you can even toss that old copy machine.
  7. Save Trees: Less paper = More Trees.
Think about it. If you've attended an event or have organized one, you know the promised follow up materials are often forgotten. Why even promise? Just do it once and do it right before the event and everyone wins.

Wondering what this looks like? Here are some examples:
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