Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Learning to Share the Learning

5 Days in and I'm still bubbling with enthusiasm about school this year...

My Problem:

I'm excited about all the NEW learning that will happen this year, in and out of the classroom. Over the past year I have learned that, as a teacher, I learn so much from both students and colleagues. The power of social media has really hit me hard lately. However, I have a problem - I need a clean and powerful way to share this learning tool to other teachers I work with. How can I prove that this will the best PD that they will ever be involved in. How can I hit them over the head with Twitter hammer and knock some sense into them?

What Tools Do I Use Now?

Currently I utilize the following social media and Web 2.0 tools to document and share my learning:


Twitter is my main hub for learning through social media. Everything else I use came from Twitter in some round-about way. I browse through Twitter and find tweets that interest me from people within and outside of my Personal Learning Network(PLN). I find new people to add to my PLN through retweets(RT) and mentions. As my PLN grows I find it harder and harder to keep up with it all. Maybe I have to start using a different Twitter client other than the Twitter App itself, or simply find better ways to filter the amount of information.


Obviously (as you're reading this) I use my blog to reflect on things I learn about or things I wonder about. I use it primarily for myself but love to share my thoughts with the wider community.

Pocket (formerly Read it Later)

I use Pocket to save articles I find on Twitter so I can read them at a later time. I have never referred to one of those articles or shared one from my Pocket account.


I have been using Evernote for a while now but this year have started to focus on using it to help myself become paperless. I do use various Apps to help me cut down on stickies and other paper, but Evernote is great for making notes, jotting down ideas, and other times when I need to write something down and save it. I also write some of my draft blog posts using Evernote. Another reason I like this App is because it is so accessible. I can access it on my phone, iPad or laptop.


This is an automation website. It works on a simple formula of - IF That Then This. As impersonal as automated tweets might seem. IFTTT allows me to do things such as record or be notified of tweets from specific people or hashtags. IFTTT allows me to filter my twitter feed easily. I also use IFTTT in conjunction with Buffer.


Buffer is a social media client that allows you to post to social media sites at specific times. This allows me to post when I think  might be a better time to post a tweet. At the moment I mainly use Buffer in conjunction with IFTTT to thank people who follow me on twitter.


I transitioned from Delicious social bookmarking to a new Diigo account early this year. I believe that Diigo is more powerful than Delicious, especially for teachers. With Diigo, I can follow other educators and the webpages and notes they save. At this point I haven't really utilized it that well. I have recently just begun to bookmark interesting websites again that I find through colleagues and my PLN. My Diigo account can be found here http://www.diigo.com/user/stevewclark


I saw this great video advertising Google+ yesterday http://goo.gl/O02TW. I have a Google account but have not really started using Google+. I use Facebook and have not seen the point in using book of these Apps. Although, I think Google+ is more powerful for educators as it allows you to share in many different ways. My Google+ account can be found with stdevo@gmail.com.


Facebook for me has always been a way for me to stay in touch with friends and family. I made the decision, when I joined Twitter, that I would use one Facebook for personal connections and Twitter for my professional connections. I'm starting to think that they will merge in the future. We'll see.

Where Next?

After looking at this list, I begin to think that I have too many things to think about. However, each one of these Web2.0 tools have unique uses and offer me something that other ones cannot. Also, as time is precious to me, I wonder if juggling all of the different accounts is too much. I guess I will continue to use them all and if one drops off the radar then so be it. 

My real dilemma and the reason I started thinking about this post is that I need to share what I learn from twitter with the Face-to-Face colleagues I work with. Most of them do not use social media as a professional learning tool but do for personal social networking. Not many use Twitter and do not understand how it works. Once I have them on-board with joining up I will be able to run little workshops and tinker sessions but first I have to get them to believe in it and buy-in.

What I need is a way to give a picture of what twitter is about. I need to keep certain tweets, articles and examples of how powerful it can as a learning tool. I think I will try to expand my blog and add pages for the different purposes of sharing. Here I can also house a hub for my different Apps and their associated accounts. I'll post more on this development as it unfolds.

An Inspiration to all

I'd also like to thank the people that have inspired me to share and learn from others as well as develop my own PLN are the greatest advocates for social media as a PD tool. Here are some snippets of their work.

George Couros (@gcouros)- George is a Division Principal for Innovative Teaching and Learning in the Parkland School Division in central Alberta. This video is a presentation George did at Syracuse to promote twitter and PLNs http://goo.gl/O02TW - The work that George does is documented on his blog website http://georgecouros.ca/blog/.

Dean Shareski (@shareski)- is a Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I love the way Shareski shares. He has a slick blog that has different pages that presents himself and what he has learned.http://www.shareski.ca/ simply has links to the social media sites that he shares on.His blog site can be found at http://ideasandthoughts.org/about/.

Alec Couros (@courosa) - Is George's older Brother and another advocate for social media in learning. Dr. Alec Couros is a professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. Through Twitter he also shares plethora of amazing links and stories about social media as the best PD tool. His blog can be found at http://educationaltechnology.ca/


  1. I'm struggling with this, too. I'm the Learning Leader of PD this year, and want to share the magical PD world of Twitter and other online PD sources. I was thinking about maybe doing some kind of Ed Camp idea? http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/

    Was also thinking about starting a blog with my staff in mind, to share some of the ideas that I come across that definitely align with my school's vision and focus. I have no idea if doing this would result in my colleagues actually reading it, though... Hm.

    1. HI Erin,
      Thanks for sharing some thoughts. It's certainly not easy to get people to believe in but I'm sure once they see the value in developing a Social Network PLN they will want to buy-in. As someone else mentioned today - We should start with the low hanging fruit.

      A wiki might work well to build on. We can get a few people in our system to contribute with stories, articles etc. A blog could also do the same.

      Let me know if you have anything else. I'll keep sharing what I do too.

      I hope your year has started well!


  2. I'm curious if how you're using Evernote in a your school setting - what kind of things are you keeping track of? Ever use it for assessment or just organization?

    1. Hello Mr. Simmons - Just using Evernote for organisation at this point. Amy Park (@amydawnpark) and Deirdre Bailey (@deirdrebailey) from Calgary Science School have begun to use it in their classroom. They are essentially developing portfolios. The two teachers are using the premium version but the students are using the free version at this point.

      Is 12MC pushing for paperless classrooms?

      Cheers man!