Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thing 9: Twitter

Welcome to Thing 9!

I debated about whether or not to include Twitter among the "Things" in the program. I believe so strongly in Twitter's professional educational value, however, that I feel like I would be remiss not to include it! If you are skeptical, all I ask is that you set aside those feelings, and approach Twitter with an open mind. You may not be convinced by the end of this "Thing", but hopefully you'll have learned a little bit more about this tool that is considered by many educators (myself included) to be one of the most powerful and effective professional development and networking tools out there.  After all, according to the recent article "Educators Dominate the Twitter Sphere", over 4 million tweets related to education are posted every day!

First, a cool video from an Illinois school district which encourages Twitter use among its teachers:

Next, I created a series of four "All About Twitter" videos that will provide more detailed information about how Twitter works.

Video 1: "Intro to Twitter"

Video 2: "Anatomy of a Tweet"

Video 3: "Hashtags"

Video 4: "Managing Twitter With Apps"

Finally, a few more articles about Twitter and education:


  • If you are new to Twitter, watch the videos posted above. If you already use Twitter, watch at least the first TWO videos ("Twitter in D123" and "Intro to Twitter")
  • Browse the articles posted above. The first four are especially helpful.
  • If you are new to Twitter, sign up for a free account. (***You can sign up for Twitter even if you do not want to tweet. You can make your account completely anonymous if you prefer by choosing a name and "handle" that do not use your real name. Having an account will allow you to explore hashtags, find other users, and see how people are using Twitter professionally.)
  • Set up and personalize your profile. Include a picture and short statement about yourself. (***Recommended, but not required.)
  • Follow at least 10 people. (@aliciaduell, @ISManilaHS, @LearningES, @LearningCoISM are a few suggestions!) Here are some more ideas:, (***Recommended, but not required.)
  • Explore some hashtags. See the "Hashtag" video above!,
  • Try tweeting, re-tweeting, favoriting, labeling a tweet with a hashtag, mentioning someone in a tweet, etc. (***Recommended, but not required.)
  • Optional: Create a TweetDeck or HootSuite account.
  • In your "Thing 9: Twitter" blog post, reflect on your experience with Twitter. If you have a Twitter account that you wish to share, include your Twitter "handle" in your post. What are your thoughts about using Twitter professionally? Did you use it prior to the program? Did you try out TweetDeck or HootSuite? Do you think you'll continue to use Twitter professionally? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Thing 8: Digital Storytelling

Welcome to Thing 8!

One of technology's greatest benefits is the way it opens up the range of assessment and assignment options. If you've ever wanted students to tell a story, explain a concept, persuade an audience, etc. but craved an alternate to an essay/PowerPoint/poster, then digital storytelling is here to save the day!

According to digital storytelling guru Alan Levin, digital storytelling "is a multi-segment narrative that uses more than one type of media (images + text, audio + images, etc) that are assembled on the web, and can be presented on the web or embedded into other web sites."

Here is my first attempt at a digital story. I loved it, and feel like the possibilities of digital storytelling are endless!

Song Credit: "Connected", Luke Dick
Flickr CC-licensed Photo Credits:

Wendy D. also created some great examples of digital storytelling, which she has posted on her blog. She made one for class (the story of Macbeth as original rap!) and one that is more personal. Both have great potential to be used with students as well!

Another great place to see some powerful digital stories is at Many of these are very moving stories of place, family, and identity.

One of the best resources for digital storytelling examples and ideas is from the DS106 massive open online course (MOOC). The course originally started as a traditional university course-- Digital Storytelling 106, but then the instructor wondered what it would be like to put the entire thing online, allowing anyone, anywhere, to participate. For free!

The DS106 site also has an extensive assignment bank, in which I found the idea for the Acrostic Photo digital story that I posted above.
There were so many great ideas, and I chose a bunch that I thought were really cool:

Another fantastic resource for digital storytelling is Alan Levine's 50+ Web Ways to Tell a Story.
He breaks the process of creating a digital story into 3 components:
Story Ideas
Story Media
Story Tools
Finally, Levine created 50 different digital versions of the same story about his dog Dominoe

Once you have collected your media (if you use someone else's pictures/video, make sure to use copyright-friendly material-- Create Commons Image Search is a good source).

If you use video clips, YouTube has a great video editor which will allow you to attach videos to one another, make enhancements, add music, etc.


  • View some examples of digital storytelling. and the DS106 Assignment Bank have lot of examples ('s are particularly moving and powerful).
  • Create a digital story. Your story should use at least 2 types of media (eg. images, video, text, audio, etc.) Use one of the assignment suggestions above, explore the D106 Assignment Bank, look through Alan Levine's Story Ideas, or come up with your own "assignment." 
  • Embed your digital story into your Thing 8 blog post.
  • In your "Thing 8: Digital Storytelling" post, reflect on your experience. Did you enjoy the process? What, if anything, did you find challenging? How could you use this in your professional work and/or personal life?