Since beginning my journey, a few years ago, with learning through social media my go-to has been Twitter. I developed a wonderful Personal Learning Network and found that I spend far less time on my own searching for articles, research, etc. because my PLN has vetted the information for me. In the past several months, I have used Google+ and found it to be a great platform as well. I love that I can use more than 140 characters and can post to focused communities. Recently, I posted a question related to Google Apps to 4 related communities and within seconds I received over 20 responses and answers.
How, though, do you begin to find information to share with your PLN and save information from your PLN, or online resources? Most times you need to find information quickly because you want to use it during a Twitter chat or, oftentimes as in my case, with teachers for professional development? This is how I have done it.
Zite: Zite searches for articles, videos, blogs and pictures that match my personal interests and then delivers the content to my iPhone and iPad. As Zite gets to know my interests, then it filters the content more specifically for my needs. When I first signed up for Zite, I selected areas of interests. Mine were: e-learning, technology, education, iPad, literacy, ESL, social media, information literacy, leadership, professional development, and Google. The other nice thing about Zite is that you can share articles directly from Zite to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, save information to Pocket and Evernote, and email information directly to colleagues or parents.
Feedly: Feedly is a customizable, cloud-based service that compiles the news feeds or blogs I have chosen from around the Web. It allows me to receive the information that I am interested in quickly and in an organized fashion. From Feedly, I can save to Pocket (see below), email content, and share via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More often that not, I also save to Buffer from Feedly. Buffer is a service that auto-sends my tweets throughout the day. Feedly has a Google Chrome Extension and App via the Chrome Web Store and an App for your iPhone and iPad. This makes it convenient since it can be used on all of my devices.
Saving and Organizing Information:
Pocket: Pocket can be found in the Chrome Web Store as an App and as an Extension. The extension is nice and comes in handy as I search the web. When I find information, I can automatically "add to Pocket" using the Chrome extension. Pocket can organize my information into categories (articles, videos, images or by tags). In addition, I can share from Pocket via email, Buffer, Twitter, and Facebook and save to Diigo, Evernote, and Pinterest. I also use the Pocket App on my iPad and iPhone. This allows me to have my information at my fingertips!
Google+: When I first started using Google+, it was frustrating because I could not find a way to save information that I found within Google+. Then, after searching on the Web, I discovered the Extension Favorite Posts for Google+ in the Chrome Web Store. Favorite Posts allows me to easily bookmark posts (by starring them) in Google+ and then open them in the "Favorites" link in the left-hand menu. Favorite Posts also allows you to save to Pocket, again helping to organize all of your content in one place.
Weebly: In my job as Curriculum Director, I am always searching for ways to organize and deliver content to teachers and parents. Weebly is the place where I house my blog and store resources that can easily be accessed 24/7 by others. For easy access, I embedded a link to my Weebly on the curriculum page of the school district's website and include the link in my email signature. This helps parents and staff to not have to remember the URL. Besides my blog posts on Weebly, I included additional tabs:
- Twitter Feed: By clicking on this tab, you will see tweets from the Wood Dale 7 curriculum account @wdalecurriculum, not my personal professional Twitter account @mbkudrna. From the curriculum account, I retweet or post information that is happening around the district that is related to student learning or post interesting articles for parents and teachers to read.
- Resources: This tab displays information about Common Core, the Next Generation Science Standards, Web 2.0, Twitter, Chromebooks/Google Apps, PBL/Inquiry, and Miscellaneous. All of these topics are one's that our important to our district at this time. This platform allows me to post information that teachers can use for professional development at their leisure or during scheduled workshops. The resources tab has also come in handy when I want to share information during Twitter chats.
- Learning in Action: When clicking on this tab, visitors can read, watch video, or view pictures of learning that is taking place in our classrooms and during professional development with teachers.
Pinterest: I created educational Boards so that I could organize my Pins. My current educational Boards are Math, Technology, Literacy, Education (for general items), Science, Social Science, Inquiry, and NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). I know teachers in our district that have organized Boards based on their curricular units.
Diigo: Diigo is a digital library that archives items from around the Web. It is wonderful because as I find information I can save it to Diigo by clicking on the Extension on my toolbar and the file automatically is archived in Diigo by date and by pre-determined tags. I can take a screenshot of an article, if I do not want to save the entire piece, annotate the file by highlighting or taking notes, or share the article directly from Diigo. Another wonderful feature, I set up the Diigo, Inc. iPad App so that when I favorite an item in Twitter, Diigo automatically synchronizes my Twitter favorites into my Diigo library. If the tweet has a hashtag, then Diigo will use the hashtag as a way to organize itself. Pretty great - huh? Diigo has a Chrome App and Extension and an App for the iPad and iPhone (DiigoBrowser and Diigo, Inc.).