TechSlam: LinkedIn


Definitions: LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for professionals to connect, discuss, search jobs, and enhance their digital identity. LinkedIn supports professional's efforts to push out information such as research papers or other articles in groups they have joined or in their own LinkedIn network. Above all, LinkedIn ensures that your digital identity is a professional one when others are searching your name or seeking someone with your credentials.



Examples:



Here are some example LinkedIn Profiles. You will be able to view more content on these profiles if you set up a quick LinkedIn account first.

Rochelle Tkach

Jason Ribeiro


Dino Miele


Camille Rutherford


Thomas Whitby

Tutorials:



The video above will help you get set-up with the basics of LinkedIn. If you would like more in-depth tutorials on different features for LinkedIn, please check out more of Anson Alexander's tutorials on his YouTube page.

Practical Use:

LinkedIn allows you to network and connect with other professionals in your field. You can feel confident that you are collaborating and sharing ideas in a secure network with people you accepted into your network or with groups you chose to join. In LinkedIn groups, it is easy to contribute to discussions, push out research papers, other articles, updates, etc. Through LinkedIn, you can also follow different organizations or businesses (i.e., Brock University), and stay up-to-date with their current messages to the media.

As a professional, LinkedIn is ideal for its ability to enhance your professional identity. Even if you do not have the time to always contribute to LinkedIn group discussions, your profile will be one of the first things that come up when someone searches your name or is looking in LinkedIn for someone with your credentials. In the 21st century, it is crucial that our digital footprints reflect the professional we want the world to see. LinkedIn provides the platform to do so.

TechSlam: CourseSmart


Definition: CourseSmart is program that allows students to find and purchase e-textbooks. Students can read their e-textbooks on multiple devices, which includes iPads! Along with an organized platform to store e-textbooks, CourseSmart offers other interactive features for students to enhance their reading and learning experience. These features include a digital highlight tool, note taking tool, and bookmarking tool. Any text that has been highlighted, will further show up in the students' Notes page, which really speeds up the quoting and citing process while writing a paper.




Examples:




As you can see in the images above, CourseSmart provides students with a digital bookshelf and further allows students to highlight and add notes within the ebooks.

Tutorials:
  1. Create an account at coursesmart.com. Any e-textbooks you would like to buy, will need to be done through the CourseSmart website. Unfortunately, you can only search e-textbooks through the app. You cannot purchase them. Once a book has been bought through it website, it will then show up in the app after you have logged in.
  2. Select the book you would like to read or make reference to.
  3. View the table of contents by selecting the little image at the top right corner
  4. Highlight text by holding down a finger over the text, dragging the selection over the text, and pressing highlight.
  5. Attach a note to the text by selecting Attach Note after the text has been selected. 
  6. Book mark a particular page by clicking the red ribbon at the bottom left corner. View all pages and bookmarked pages by selecting the four little squares at the top of the screen. 
  7. Add a note to a page by selecting the little yellow sticky note a the bottom left corner. You can add multiple notes to pages. 
  8. View all notes by selecting the image at the top left corner. Once the table of contents pops up, select Notes to view notes taken while reading or select bookmarks to view just the pages that were bookmarked. 
Here is an extra tutorial video to help you get started with CourseSmart:



Classroom Use:

CourseSmart enhances textbooks for the 21st century. It makes reading and learning more mobile and provides anytime anywhere access. By encouraging your students to purchase the e-textbook, it makes it easier to reference and work with the textbook while in class. Some group work or activities in class may be specifically related to a case study or other component in the textbook. It makes it a lot easier for students to remember bringing their textbooks to use in class if the textbook is on their devices.

When considering learning for all, CourseSmart does its best to enhance such a traditional way of learning for students who struggle to learn this way. It provides an easier way to highlight and organize notes. It further helps students remember what pages they bookmarked and why. Notes can be added to enhance the readers understanding and reflective thinking. At the bottom right hand corner, CourseSmart also provides zoom buttons to make the text larger and easier to read. The e-textbooks are generally a lot more accessible and user friendly since they stay the size of the device and are not an added bulkiness when carrying the books around.

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TechSlam: MindMeister



Definition: MindMeister is a collaborative mind mapping tool. It is a platform to support students' concept learning while also making the process digitally networked. MindMeister supports a blended learning approach and further provides a safe and secure environment for students to express their thoughts, ideas, and options during a brainstorm session. MindMeister also provides a wide variety of pre-made templates for students to manipulate through the program. The app works fantastic, but MindMeister looks just as great on a laptop or desktop computer.



Examples:

This is an example of when I used MindMeister in one of my graduate courses to take an online facilitated discussion off of Sakai and to a more interactive platform. As you can see, students were able to post comments, links, and make connections between points. The only downfall to MindMeister is that the free version does not allow one to upload pictures or videos. You would need to upgrade your account to add pictures or videos.

Tutorials:

  1. You will first need to create a MindMeister account. The email you use to create the account will be the email you give to someone when they want to share a mind map with you.
  2. Once logged into the app, your mind maps will appear on the left hand side (there will be some sample mind maps to get you started).
  3. Select the plus sign at the bottom of your screen to either create a blank map or choose a map from the templates. 
  4. Once inside the mind map, the plus and negative signs on the map allow you to add or delete bubbles. 
  5. Double click a bubble when you want to type something. 
  6. Select the little 'i' with a circle around it in the top right hand corner and click Share Map to add someone to the mind map. All you need to do is enter their email address. Choose Read-Only if you do not want to let this person edit the mind map. 

Here are some videos to further help you get started with the MindMeister mobile apps:





Classroom Use:

MindMeister is a program or app that can be used in any subject or course. It can be great for students to brainstorm, have discussions, or provide feedback to one another about their ideas. MindMeister goes beyond being a simple a mind mapping tool. It allows the owner of a mind map to share their map with others so that they can contribute or provide comments on the map.

Instead of having an oral classroom discussion, post a question in MindMeister and allow your students to collaboratively answer the question in a digital network. This app will support students who may need more time to form their thoughts and opinions. If some students are not as confident during classroom discussions, MindMeister provides a safe alternative environment for students to participate in these discussions.

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TechSlam: Educreations


Definition: Educreations is a screen-casting app for teachers to create tutorials or for students to create presentations. It is a fantastic app to support a blended learning platform. Educreations also comes pre-loaded with tutorials made by other educators. When students are creating their own tutorial or presentation, the app allows students to write, draw, type, or upload pictures all while recording their voice in the process. This is a fantastic way to document students' thinking and communicating during inquiry-based or problem-based learning projects.


Examples: 


Tutorials:

This image below gives a clear and concise idea as to what the features are and where they are in the Educreations App. I took this image from RMHS Rocks Help Desk.


Here is a video tutorial to help you get started!



I also wanted to mention that students should definitely create an account for Educreations. This will allow them to save their Educreations in the account and come back to them either on their own device or on a different device next time in class.

When students are ready to send their work to you, have them click 'Select' at the top right corner. Then have students select their screen-cast. Once this has been done, students need to select the box icon beside the trash can. Students can select the Mail App and email you their work.

Classroom Use:

Educreations is a cross-curricular app. It is a fantastic tool to find tutorials for students or create tutorials for your course. I also highly recommend letting your students use Educreations to create an assignment or culminating task. It is more interactive and multi-modal compared to a PowerPoint or Prezi. For students with exceptionalities, it gives them other mediums to work with to demonstrate their learning (i.e., voice recording and drawing). It further allows teachers to track the progress of their students as they form their ideas, which may help support the assessment process after students submit their final piece of work.

During group work or inquiry-based activities, have students write and record their thoughts on this screen-casting app instead of chart paper or in their notes. After students have recorded their thoughts, have them send the link to you or to their own email. They can then show the screen-cast to the whole class through the LCD projector or SMART Board.

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TechSlam: Edmodo



Definition: Edmodo is an app to support a flipped classroom or blended learning experience. It resembles a lot of popular social media webpages and allows students to post questions and comments to one another. It is a fantastic app to take classroom discussion online, poll students, and send out alerts. Edmodo also allows you to view the latest posts from other educators and reply. It is a lot like having a Facebook newsfeed designed just for educators!



Examples: 

Tutorials:
  1. First, create an account with Edmodo. 
  2. If you are creating a group for your class, select Groups. In the top right corner, select Create. You will then be asked to put the title, description, grade, and subject area.
  3. Once you have created the group, write the class code on the white board or send students the class code. The class code can be found under your display picture when you are inside the group. 
  4. You may want students to lead their own class discussions. If so, you will need to join their group. Ask your student for the class code, go to Groups, select Join, enter the class code, and you are good to go!
  5. When you are ready to make a comment, select the plus sign in the top right corner, select Note, type your question or response, and click send. 
  6. There are also options to attach files to posts, send out alerts to group members, and poll students. 
Here is a video tutorial for Edmodo: 



Classroom Use:

Edmodo is a cross-curricular app. It can be used to enhance any of the content areas. It is a great app to support collaborative networking online. I would highly recommend using it to formatively assess your students before or during a lesson to check for understanding. If you are planning on assigning your students different weeks to facilitate group discussions, I recommend you give them the option to lead the group discussion online. This gives your students the experience of setting up a group themselves and experiencing the app from a teachers' perspective.

Edmodo also supports a learning for all approach. Students who may not be confident enough to speak during large group discussions or may need more time to think about what and how they would like to make their point may have a greater chance of success and class participation through digital networking. It provides a secure and safe environment for students to read, post, and reply within a digital classroom discussion.

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TechSlam: Penzu




Definition: Penzu is a free online journalling app. It is a fantastic way to keep students' reflective journals organized online. Students can send their journal entries after every class or send them as a collective journal at the end of the term. Penzu is great for formative assessment measures and can also enhance students' metacognitive thinking.



Examples: 





Tutorials:

  1. Select the Penzu App and have your students create an account.
  2. Students will then be walked through how to set up their first journal.
  3. When students are in their journal, they can select New Entry. 
  4. Students type their reflection or other written piece, which will then be saved in their Penzu account. They can also 
  5. Whenever students are expected to journal on Penzu, they can work on any iPad as long as they login to their account. 
  6. When students are ready to send their journal entry to you, they can select the gear in the top right corner and select export Export Entries. Once students have selected this, they can then enter your email and send their work to you. 
Classroom Use:

Penzu is a cross-curricular app with no specific features for the content areas. It does however enhance cross-curricular connections between content areas and literacy learning. This is a great tool to demonstrate to your students how reflective journalling can enhance an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Hopefully this can then be applied during their placements. Penzu can also be used as a word processor for students' assignments or culminating tasks. You may also want to introduce your students to Penzu Classroom. Please click the icon below to read my iPad App review on Penzu Classroom.






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TechSlam: Inspiration Maps App


Definition: Inspiration maps is a mind mapping tool for students to brainstorm and organize ideas. Students can either use one of the pre-made templates, or they can create their own mind map. The pre-made templates can enhance lessons in the content areas and also support formative assessment measures.




Examples:



Please read my iPad App Review of Inspiration maps by clicking the icon below:



Tutorials:

  1. Open app and select Templates.
  2. Students can either start from scratch and use the blank template or they can select one of the pre-made templates.
  3. If you would like students using a certain template, make sure to specify what template they should select. 
  4. Once students are in the mind map template, they can begin to type in the bubbles, add pictures, add audio, manipulate the map, and even switch their map to presentation notes (looks more like a Word document this way).
  5. Since this is the Light version of the app, students are unable to send directly from the Inspiration Maps App. When students finish, instruct them to click the wrench in the top right corner, select Share, and choose Save to Photos. 
  6. Instruct students to go to the photos app and select the picture of their mind map. Once it has been selected, have them click the bottom left icon, select the Mail App, and have students enter your email so that they can sent it to you. 

Here are some more Tutorials on how to use the Inspiration Maps App:






Classroom Use:

The Inspiration Maps App offers a variety of apps that are either specific to certain content areas or can be used cross-curricularly. An example of an interdisciplinary mind map would be the Group Project Plan.



There are also mind maps that support formative assessment. 


Here are some examples of mind maps specific for the content areas:

Language Arts

Science

Social Studies

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EdTech Internship: Real World Learning

Looking for an innovative course to take during your graduate studies program? Hear all about my experience as an EdTech intern for the Educational Research and Innovation Hub located in the DSBN Academy. The experience catapulted my career, research, and professional networks.