Saturday, June 29, 2013

No App? No Problem! Adding Tiles to Your #ISTE13 Surface

Like countless other educators, Cara and I were super excited to receive a free Microsoft Surface RT while we were at ISTE. We started playing with it that very night, but with the rush of ISTE I wasn't able to really dig in until I got home. One of the first things  I tried to do was find a Twitter app such as Hootsuite, but there are none I like as of now. The Windows store is still really new, but I wasn't willing to wait, so here's what I did. I opened a web version of Hootsuite and saved it as a tile on my start screen. Now, even though I don't have the app I'm able to use it from my device with one tap. Here's how:

Quick note: For this tutorial I began in the desktop version of IE, not the IE tile on the start menu. The desktop version saves a tile that has a small picture on it and will also open in desktop mode. I will post how to do the start menu version shortly.

Step 1: Open the site you wish to have access to on your start menu. I used Hootsuite.
Step 2: Tap on the wheel in the upper right corner.
Step 3: Choose 'Add Site to Start Screen.'

Step 4: Tap the add button.

Your new tile will appear at the end of your other tiles. You can move it around by using a quick swipe down to select it, then dragging it and dropping where you'd like it to be.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Out with the Old, In with Bloglovin'

I am a huge Google fan and have been so bummed out with the retirement of Google Reader. Why, Google???? How will I keep up with all of my favorite blogs and how will people follow my blog? Enter...Bloglovin. I've only been using it for a few hours and already I love it. You can easily import your feeds from Google Reader, and the format of Bloglovin is visually appealing. There's very little "clutter" on the screen, and it's easy to scroll through your favorite blogs. So I made the switch. If you'd like to follow me on bloglovin, you can click the link below. Also, feel free to grab the image I made if you want it for your blog. Just please link back to my blog.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The ISTE 13 Vibe: Let's Reconnect

You know that feeling you get when you return somewhere after a long absence and feel a little lost? You thought you knew where things were and how things worked, but then you get there and it's a little like the Twilight Zone...looks the same, but something's definitely fishy. After missing last year's ISTE, I was fortunate to be a presenter with my friend, Cara (Teaching...My Calling) for ISTE 13.

I was really looking forward to meeting some of my twitter friends in person, seeing friends, getting to network with like-minded educators, and learning more about teaching and technology. And while I did get to do all of those things, the vibe at the conference was definitely different this year.

My last ISTE (11) was in Philly, and I remember an up-beat air and people stopping to talk to one another. There was sort of a fun, friendly feeling in the conference center. People would smile at each other in passing, talk across the escalators, in the hallways, and generally seemed open to conversations. We exchanged thoughts, ideas, and contact information.

Was it just me, or did this  year feel a little serious and stuffy? I'd smile and nod...people walked by. Cara and I would say hello to people, and get blank stares. It seemed as if many were closed off and unwilling to meet a new friend. All of this could very well have been because of the layout of the conference center, and I really hope that is the case, because we just cannot shut one another out.

We educators are a community-some might even say that we are like a family (albeit a very large one). We need one another! I am the teacher I am today because of the connections and relationships I've made over the years. Sharing and collaborating have made me a better teacher for my students and the teachers in my building. Can you think of a better way to grow than to learn from others in your profession? Proverbs 27:17 says "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." We need to connect to others in our field to improve ourselves.

Attending sessions is very important. Don't get me wrong--I attended many, and learned a great deal from them. But they are only one part of the conference. If you attended ISTE and didn't make any connections, you missed an opportunity for growth. We want our students to connect globally. Let's model that practice. Let's connect and work together online, but also when we meet at conferences.

I am so grateful for the new people I did meet and look forward to collaborating with you on Twitter. I'm also thankful for the time I was able to spend building my friendships with the fabulous ladies with me below. I look forward to learning from you and with you. My conference certainly would not have been as rich without these connections.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Just One ISTE Tip for the Memory Challenged

With all of the wonderful posts out there about getting ready for ISTE, there's not much that hasn't been covered. That is, except for organizing and accessing all of those pesky little details like flight information, hotel name, sight-seeing info, etc...Who actually remembers all of that off the top of their head? (Okay, if you have a great memory, you may want to stop reading now. This post is for those of us who can't hold lots of little details in our brains at once).

As I was going over all of those details the other day, I thought to myself, "It sure would be great if I had access to all of this on my phone so I don't have to dig through my bag." Hence, this one little ISTE tip: Create shortcuts to the websites on my phone's desktop! Now I have at my fingertips my flight info, links to the restaurants, tours, hotel, and of course, the ISTE 2013 app!
Here's how to do it:
1. Open the website you want to save as an icon in Safari.
2. Tap the button circled in red below:
3. Tap "Add to Home Screen."

4. Give your link a name, and tap "Add."

5. After you have a few on your home screen, press and hold one icon until you see them wiggle and an "X" appear. 
6. Using your finger, drag and drop one of the icons on top of another one. This will create a group that you name whatever you want. 

That's it! Hope this little tip helps you stay organized and on top of those little details during your ISTE trip!

Friday, June 14, 2013

My AETC 2013 Smackdown

What a great conference this year at AETC! I always enjoy our state technology conference, and this year was no exception. I presented twice, attended several really great sessions, and visited with colleagues and friends from all over the state! I don't know about you, but when I've been to one of these, I need at least a day to let all of those great ideas marinate in my head, and putting pen to paper finger to keyboard is the best way for me to sort out my new learning. Hopefully, there will be some things here that you'll find interesting or useful:

First of all, if you've never heard Kevin Honeycutt (@KevinHoneycutt) speak you have really missed out! He is probably THE best keynote speaker I've ever heard. But don't worry. He has a YouTube channel. Here's a quick sample:

Now, on to my smackdown. These are a few of my favorite sites that I learned about and can't wait to use:

Tool Info
Multi-platform app which allows you to bump your devices together to share files, pictures, videos, digital business cards, etc...You can even bump from your phone to your computer by bumping the space bar.

File sharing site which will allow you to share multiple files. You upload them, they zip them for you, and give you a sharable link. 

Publish your book! This site publishes your work and allows you to sell it.

I usually use,, but this site is really cool, too, because it allows you to play a little more with your QR code's style.Not sure I'd use it in my classroom since "Pimp" is not a word I allow my little ones to use, but I would use it at home.

Ever lose a password? Not again! With 1 password, you can save all of those passwords you've accumulated and it gives you ONE password in place of them! The only con is that you have to pay for it :(

Make a video of your Twitter feed! Pretty cool little tool! Here's mine!

Word processing that allows students and teachers to work together in real time. Great for collaboration or back-channeling. 

Sort of like a QR code on steroids, Aurasma allows you to create images that link to web content. Really neat site.
Similar to Google Lit Trips, but you can actually create these pretty easily! There's also a searchable database with lots of premade maps. This one's a must see!
For the smart alec in all of us...You have got to try this site!!!! You know those "Duh" questions people ask sometimes? This is the answer. I literally laughed out loud when I tried this site. 

Have you used any of these before? Have something similar to add? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tis the Season

Tis the season for conferences, that is. I'm very excited to be participating and also presenting at AETC tomorrow and Thursday. Then, it's off to ISTE in San Antonio. After that, I'll be presenting and attending several sessions through our board of education. 

I love conferences! Teaching can be a very isolated profession in which you rarely even speak to your coworker during the course of a day. Attending and presenting sessions not only helps me sharpen my skills, but is a great way to network and connect with other educators. They sort of recharge me, and keep me excited about trying new things with my students. 

I'm such a school nerd! I wonder how many others out there are like me? Do you go to professional development during the summer?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

CORE Academy

I'm very excited to be a part of JSU's CORE Academy for the next few days. I'll be presenting two sessions with my friend, Cara (Teaching...My Calling), over the next two days dealing with integrating technology and using social media.

Here's a sneak peak of our LiveBinder of resources we plan to share:

Hope to see you there!

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