The Writing on the Wall and Other Things They Took Away

Last week at the request of one of our teachers I led a collaborative session about using Twitter to create your PLN (Personal Learning Network). I’m an enthusiastic Twitter user and love sharing and receiving information. Twitter provides educators with personal development 24/7—it’s a conference anytime any place. However, there can be a lot of benefits to short collaborative meetings as well. I thought I’d relate some things people took away from the session last week that they would not have if we had not been meeting in person.

I used LiveBinders on the iPad as part of the presentation, and although I called the LiveBinders a Lunch and Learn we met during the time set aside for collaboration in the morning. I used a QR code and mentioned my favorite QR code reader which is I-nigma. We spoke about using TodaysMeet instead of Twitter as a backchannel or in-class chats. We met in a classroom that had special paint on the wall that allows you to write on it and then wipe it clean. Some people had not seen this before.

So, besides Twitter, what did the participants take away?

  • That LiveBinders is an awesome tool to organize your presentation. Great for conferences and it’s easy to add information later to respond to questions and requests. Everyone can stay up to date. People who were not able to attend the session but wanted to have access to what was discussed.
  • QR codes are great to use in presentations if people are using mobile personal devices. They can easily take a snapshot to get to the page.
  • I-nigma scans QR codes fast!
  • iPads are great for some presentations. They are lightweight. No messing around, your screen pops right up. At our school you need a 30-pin to VGA Adpater cable to hook up to the projector. (I presented at a school this year that had two hook-ups, you walked to one place if you were presenting with your iPad and another if you were presenting with your laptop. I thought that was nifty.)
  • TodaysMeet is useful for a backchannel or in-class discussion. One world language teacher who was not able to attend our session but asked to be included in the notes and follow ups has already used it with good results. He said the students loved it.
  • People asked about writing on the wall. 🙂 They liked it. One person has begun exploring the possibilities of using the paint on tables in a student center at our school. The painting on tables idea was sparked by a tweet and added to the LiveBinders after our meeting.
  • I made a cake and they wanted the recipe! It was simple to add the link later.

It’s fun to look for ways to include technology that is not directly related to the subject at hand. It livens up the discussions and people have fun sharing and learning from one another. But often after a presentation people go back to their desks with good intentions and then promptly forget the lessons learned. They get busy. But if they get follow-up links taking them back to topics of discussion and start hearing results from the others, they are more likely to find the time to put the information to use.

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