Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Works for Me on Twitter: Lists

Does your Twitter timeline tend to overwhelm you from time to time?  Is someone posting random tweets that keep you from accessing the useful information you joined Twitter for?  Do you have a group of people that post tweets regarding a similar topic most of the time?  If any, some, or all of the above situations apply to you it's time to begin setting up some Twitter lists.

Many users aren't aware of this, but you are a mere few clicks away from way more control over what you see and when on Twitter.  Simply click on your settings wheel in the upper right hand corner of your Twitter home page and you're on your way to a less complicated and more valuable experience with Twitter.

The main Twitter list "pane" looks like this.

Click on the "Create list" button to get started.  Here are the options to choose from:

Give the list a name.  Add a description if it will help you or your audience know what information and/or who is included in the list.  Also be aware that the list you create can be private only to you or be shared with others.  Pro Tip: Explore the public lists of the people you enjoy following most to find other Twitter members you may like to follow as well.

If you ever want to go back to a list, rename it, edit the description, or make a private list public or vice versa, simply go to the list and click on the "Edit" button here:

Also, clicking the "Member of" button here,

will allow you to see which public lists other Twitter users have placed you on.  See who may be stalking you because you're awesome!

As seen in the images, I have two lists associated with the Twitter account I use professionally.  One list, titled "IT Team" is there to make sure that I don't miss any tweets the colleagues on my team posts.  I follow them in the traditional way, but if I'm not on my timeline at the right time I could miss an important tweet of theirs and I don't want that to happen.  The other list I created is simply titled "List."  I have reserved this list for a few people that I really want to follow, but they just post too much during the day.  This way I can still see their tweets, but now I see their tweets when I want to see them instead of when they post them.

There are many reasons to create a list on Twitter.  I was speaking from experience in my examples earlier.  Your reasons may be different than mine, but one thing we can agree on is that having a little more control over when you see particular tweets from particular people is a positive thing.

So this should hopefully get you started with lists.  Enjoy the new control you have over your timeline and let your more personal Twitter experience work better for you.

(For further information about the creation and use of lists on Twitter the great people at Edudemic have you covered.  Click here for a post about how to create Twitter lists and click here for some perspective on how to manage information from your PLN via Twitter lists.)

Note: This is a cross post from my CCSD blog, also under our district Google domain.  A link to my blog is here if you're interested in reading a little more about various topics.  Find me on Twitter here and visit and follow one, some, or all of my boards on Pinterest here.  Let's get connected! 

Copying Courses to Resources in COLE 3.0/Schoology

As some of our courses may be wrapping up (either because we're at the end of Trimester 1 or Quarter 1), it might be a good idea to make sure that course content has been copied to the Resources area in COLE 3.0/Schoology.  This makes it easy for teachers to use that same content for other courses that may be starting with a new grading term.

Unlike COLE 2.0/Moodle, once a course term ends, the course goes into "Archived" status in COLE 3.0/Schoology.  It doesn't go away, but it isn't available via the drop-down list any more.  A teacher can still access the course by going to "See all" under the Courses drop-down and then clicking on the "Archived" tab in the "My Courses" listing.  Students and parents, though, cannot access the course once it's been placed in the Archived area.

Best practice, though, is to have all course information and materials in the Resources area for later use.  If teachers have been placing materials into a course vs. Resources, s/he can copy all contents into either Personal or Group Resources.

In any course, a teacher can use the "Options" pull-down to get to the "Save Course to Resources" option.  If a teacher wishes to save the course content to a group for sharing with others, s/he can just select the Group as the destination.  After choosing a destination, a folder will be created in that location with all of the course content inside.

As we continue with the school year, it's best to build content in the Resources area instead of  a course as it simplifies this issue and makes copying to other courses or sharing with others much easier.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip: Chrome Web Store

Google Reader may be dead, but the Chrome Web Store is alive and kicking with plenty of great educational apps for teachers and students.  Many of us use web apps already and may not even know.  A few of the more common are GMail, Google Docs, Lucid Chart, or even WeVideo. 

 What is a web app?

Web apps are applications that are designed to be used completely in a web browser.  This means, no more installing software on a computer and no more reinstalling recent updates.  Just click on the app and go.  Apps install in seconds, with one click of a button. You don’t even have to restart your browser or computer.



Where to find Chrome Web Store and Apps

You must be logged in to your Cherry Creek Google Account in order to install apps from the Chrome Web Store.  Not logged in?  Login here.

You can get to the Chrome Web Store by clicking the Web Store icon in the Apps section of the New Tab page.
  1. Search for the app you’d like to install or click apps you would like to learn more about.
  2. Free apps show an 'FREE' button on their details page. Click the button to install the app.
  3. The app automatically installs and its icon appears in the “Apps” section of the New Tab page. 
Note: Some apps will have a free trial so be careful when reviewing apps that you think are FREE.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Professional Learning, Anytime and Anywhere

Early to an appointment at a school?  Potential for professional learning.

Waiting to get my haircut?  Potential for professional learning.

Waiting in line at the grocery store?  Potential for professional learning.

Anytime I have access to my phone, iPad, and the Internet in general I have almost direct access to professional learning sources.  How is that?

I am putting this out there because I truly believe it (and I'll even type it in bold font to show that I'm totally serious): There is no better place for asynchronous/self-paced professional learning than Twitter and Twitter helps me be more effective at what I do.  Period.

October is Connected Educators Month and I wanted share the tool that continues to shape my passion for what I do while, at the same time, allowing me the potential to connect, talk, and share with people across our school district, our state, the United States, and potentially the world.

It's a fact that Twitter itself has useless things on it.  There isn't much on the Internet, especially social media, today that doesn't.  Twitter though, along with many other places, allows users to filter the "noise" by providing the chance to follow and highlight who you want.  Also, with Twitter lists, users can control when they see tweets from other Twitter users while potentially making sure that tweets about like subjects can be found all in one place.  Weekly Twitter hashtag chats allow users to tweet about like topics during particular days and times with people who have similar interests and passions from around the world.  Twitter can very easily be leveraged as a one-way tool as well.  Users don't need to or have to post personal tweets.  Just follow users that share information that's useful to you and that can be it.  These are just a few of the many benefits of using Twitter professionally in some way, shape, or form.

Quite frankly, and in my humble opinion, the excuses for educators/educational leadership for not being a participant on Twitter for professional learning are beginning to dwindle.

I am planning a post series entitled "What Works for Me on Twitter" in the near future that will help you get started and going on Twitter.  I simply wanted to set the stage as a whole with this post.

Stay tuned...

Note: This is a cross post from my CCSD blog, also under our district Google domain.  A link to my blog is here if you're interested in reading a little more about various topics.  Find me on Twitter here and visit and follow one, some, or all of my boards on Pinterest here.  Let's get connected!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip: Creating and Managing Bookmarks in Chrome

With the plethora of information available to educators on the internet, it's difficult to remember where you found that great article/lesson plan/education blog etc. By using the bookmark tool in Google Chrome when you are signed in (see "Signing into Chrome" from last week's Tuesday Tech Tip), you can easily access all of your favorite bookmarked sites without having to worry which computer you have them saved to, or where you wrote down the url. Google Chrome will automatically sync and update your bookmarks for you making them available to you wherever you are signed in to Chrome.

Creating a bookmark in Google Chrome

Bookmark Star in Google ChromeWhen you are signed in, you can either bookmark the page you are on or simply enter the web address for the site you would like to bookmark. Then, click the star icon located in the address bar on the far right side.  Once you've clicked the star, you'll notice it has turned yellow, and the menu of options for where to save the bookmarked page appears. From the drop down Folder menu, you can choose to save your bookmarks either to your bookmarks bar across the top of your browser window below the address bar, into the "Other Bookmarks" folder, the "Mobile Bookmarks" folder, or you can create a new folder to hold specific types of bookmarks (by content, grade level, resource type, etc.) Tip: To add a new folder at any time you can right-click the bookmarks bar and select Add folder.Bookmark added in Google Chrome

Other ways to add bookmarks in Google Chrome

  • You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D on a PC, or ⌘-D on a Mac
  • Import bookmarks from other browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, FireFox, etc.) using the Chrome menu Chrome menu.
  • Manually add a bookmark by right clicking in the bookmarks bar and selecting "Add Page" 
  • Drag a link from the page you are viewing to the bookmarks bar or a bookmark folder. Also, you can drag the globe or lock icon in the address bar (to the left of the url) to create a bookmark for your current page. 

How to find your bookmarks

You can view all of your bookmarks in 3 places:
  • Bookmarks bar: Located directly below the address bar. You can toggle the bar to be visible or to not appear below the address bar. This can also be accomplished with the Ctrl+Shift+B shortcut on a PC, or ⌘-Shift-B on a Mac.
Bookmark Menu in Google Chrome
  • Bookmarks menu: Click the chrome menu (see left) on the browser toolbar and select Bookmarks.
  • Bookmark Manager: This makes it easy for you to organize your bookmarks. 

Edit or delete bookmarks

To organize your bookmarks, you can drag and drop bookmarks to move them around on the bookmarks bar. If you do not want to see a bookmark on the bookmark bar you can store it in the "Other bookmarks" folder. This folder cannot be deleted, but it won't show on the toolbar if it is empty. When it's hidden, you can still add bookmarks to the folder using the bookmark manager. 

To edit the details about a bookmark, find the bookmark either on the bookmarks bar or in the bookmark manager and right-click on it, select Edit from the menu. Then, you can update the bookmark's name, url, and folder. 

To delete a bookmark, find the bookmark either on the bookmarks bar or in the bookmark manager and right-click, select Delete from the menu. Note: If you delete a bookmark folder, you also delete all of the bookmarks inside the folder as well. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip: Signing into Chrome (Synced Bookmarks, Apps, etc.)

One of the great things about using the Chrome browser is accessing your tabs, bookmarks, and apps across all of the devices you might use.  And, since students across our district will soon be using Chromebooks, we should be aware of how to make their browser experience consistent, regardless of the device.

Signing into Chrome

If you log into a Chromebook, you are automatically logged into Chrome; however, if you are working on another computer (like a PC or Mac), you need to log into Chrome to get access to your bookmarks, tabs, and apps.  You should only sign into Chrome on a computer that you log into with your username & password.  If you sign in on a shared or public computer where you don't log in with your account, the next person who logs in will see your synced bookmarks, apps. etc.

Here are Google's directions for logging into Chrome on a computer (other than a Chromebook):
Follow these steps to sign in:
  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  3. Select Sign in to Chrome
  4. Sign in to your Google Account in the dialog that appears.
Once you have signed into Chrome, your bookmarks, extensions, and apps that you have added will "follow" you wherever you go.

As a reminder, this is really designed for computers that you log into with a username & password (or a personal machine).  If you're on a shared computer and you aren't logging into it with your credentials, you won't want to sign into Chrome.

Signing in on a Mobile Device

If you're using an Android or iOS device, you can install the Chrome browser for those systems as well and get to your bookmarks.  When you launch Chrome, it will ask you to sign in.  That will give you access to any bookmarks you've saved, tabs you might have opened on other devices in Chrome, and your history from signed-in devices.

If you want to know more about signing into Chrome (or why you would want to), check out Google's help area.