Tuesday, March 1, 2016

TED Talks and Twitter

This week my class had a webinar guest, Adam Taylor, a high school science teacher who started #scistuchat, a was for students, teachers, and scientists from around the world to connect on twitter.   Adam has connected with around 400-500 scientists from around 150 countries around the globe to participate in a monthly discussion about different topics having to do with science.  They use moderators to keep the conversation steady and educational and have made some memorable connections, including the US Department of Energy.  

Adam has made his connections through twitter by first finding out that certain scientists were on twitter and then contacting them.  From there, his PLN grew into the thousands.  He categorizes people into lists on his twitter (his Women in Science list has 590 members.. WOW!) to keep it organize!  
One tip from Adam about growing your PLN is that the number of followers doesn't matter, it's the connections that are important. Check out the full webcast below!

Presentation Tools
Everyone knows about PowerPoint, but did you know that there are a bunch of tools to help you make presentations?  Presenting has grown past PowerPoint and its original uses, to aid someones verbal presentation, and online tools have become very beneficial.  Some online tools that you can use are Slideshare, Prezi, VoiceThread, and Poll Everywhere.  

Prezi is a tool, just like PowerPoint where you make slides and put information on them.  Instead of just having a bunch of info on each slide, the Prezi makes the presentation more entertaining and interesting!  One of my teachers used a template that looked like a tree, with each leaf being a different slide.  The presentation was shown by hopping from leaf to leaf!  And the presentations don't have to be linear either.  The presenter can lay the information on a canvas and draw a path and click through it! So much more interesting than PowerPoint.

Slideshare is a tool that lets people share presentations to people around the globe!  Everything you upload automatically gets converted into their format and gives others the ability to look through everything without having to download it.  If your teachers or other professionals in your field are using it than it's a great tool because it can catch you up on things you may have missed at a conference, in the classroom, or give you the opportunity to see what other's in your industry are studying and presenting about.

Poll Everywhere is great because it can be connected to your phone.  A teacher can poll a question, multiple choice or open ended, and students can have it sent to their phones and answer instantaneously.  A free teacher profile gives you the opportunity to get forty responses to polls and also download the polls into a PowerPoint.  With a paid subscription you can do even more like upload student names, input the correct answer to the poll, and have the site automatically grade the students based on their answers.

VoiceThread gives you the ability to share videos and photos along with comments.  These comments can be through text, audio, or video.  It is a really great tool for digital storytelling and even though it is simple, it's effective.  There is also a paid subscription version of Voicethread where you can create student accounts and upload unlimited files.

Ted Talks, Have a life that is truly awesome.

Some of you may have heard of TED Talks and some of you may not.  You're thinking, "who is Ted and why would I wanna listen to him talk?"  But TED is actually a nonprofit organization that has one mission, to spread ideas.  You can either go to conferences or watch online to listen to extremely amazing people speak about a myriad of different topics from The Mysterious World of Underwater Caves to Failure or even the Piano.  

One video that I personally really like is Neil Pasricha: The 3 A's of Awesome.  Even through a really tough time in his life, Neil was able to look at life and realize how awesome it is.  Through Neils experiences, he started to write a blog called 1000 Awesome Things which eventually went viral and earned him a Webi for Best Blog of the Year and a book called The Book of Awesome.  In the TED Talk Neil talks about the 3 A's of awesome, attitude, awareness, and authenticity, and how living with these three A's in mind will make life awesome.  Our attitude make our lives better or worse.  You can hit a slump in your life and feel bad about yourself and have a bad attitude and it's not going to get any better, but with a good attitude you can make it through any day.  With awareness, he mentions how it's like being a 3 year old discovering the world for the first time.  Always be aware because at one time you too saw something for the first time and never let go of that feeling of amazement and excitement.  Authenticity is about being true to who you are and loving who you are.  For instance, I am very passionate about travel and when I have the opportunity, and finances, to travel I do it.  Some people look down upon spending your money rather than saving, but I believe that the experiences I have from travelling make life awesome.  Now go give yourself an awesome life.

Some other awesome TED Talks

Monica Lewinsky: The Price of Shame - Monica Lewinsky talks about her experience with cyber bullying and shame.  Getting through a seriously rough time when her life where compassion and empathy outweighed the shame.  She said that we need to change our culture and stop the shaming.  

Rite Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion - Rita Pierson talks about her years as an educator and how the teachers attitude and presence in the classroom can change the education and confidence of any child. "I am somebody.  I was somebody when I came, I'll be a better somebody when I leave.  I am powerful and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here.  I have things to do, people to impress, and places to go."

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