Monday, November 18, 2013

AR Flashcard Work Stations

Beginning Letter Sounds Work Station with AR Flashcards

AR Flashcards
Using AR Flashcards app can bring in  a new spin on identifying things that begin with a letter sound.  AR Flashcards are augmented reality flashcards.  When you use the AR Flashcard App to view the card, something magical happens!  An animal appears before your eyes.

This app also includes a “camera” button.  This gives the user the ability to take a photo of the Augmented Reality animal that pops out of the flashcard.  If you place items, words, or yourself with the card, you can capture a nice entertaining photo or a photo that shows understanding.


Beginning Letter Sounds Work Station
Set up a work station with a basket of items that include examples and non-examples of things that start with the letter ____.  Allow students to work together to sound out the names of the items.  Students should place items that begin with the given letter around the AR Flash Card.  Students use the camera button in the app to take a photo of their work.  Have students include a name tag in the picture to identify who completed the work.  The photo will be saved to the camera roll.  Consider having students help to build the work station by searching for an example and a non-example at home for homework and brining it to school.  The item should fit into the palm of their hand. In the video below, Joe Meza and I share how to use AR Flashcards in a Beginning Letter Sound Work Station.




Phonogram Workstation

Set up a work station with words for students to read and recognize phonograms. Allow students to work together to read words and identify words that follow rules of the phonogram they are learning.  Students should place words that include the phonogram sound with the given phonogram that is built using the AR Flash Cards.  I share the example of using the -er sound of her in the video below. Students should use the camera button in the app to take a photo of their work.  Have students include a name tag in the picture to identify who completed the work.  The photo will be saved to the camera roll.  Consider challenging students to write other examples they think about on paper and include them when they take the picture.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Modifying my Child's Homework

Torture
At the beginning of the school year, I felt like homework with my first grader was torture. It still isn’t where I’d like it to be, but it’s a work in progress.  It will be a gradual change.

Homework is the same every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I believe I know what my child needs a little extra help with.  I really wish I could focus her “homework” time on creating scenarios and problems for her to solve, as a way to connect what she is learning to the real world.   I wish we could invest that time together to Blog more, make movies, write digital stories, or even create our own games.  For now, her homework is what it is, a way to reinforce what she is learning in the classroom. 

On Mondays and Tuesdays my 6yo spends about an hour and a half completing homework.  She must write her spelling words (8 in English and 8 in Spanish) 3 times each, complete a math work sheet (front and back) and read a book that is sent home with her.  These books usually include her spelling/vocabulary words, but are not challenging for her.  The stories don’t have a plot and are not exciting.  You literally have to make up what your favorite part would be by looking at the pictures.  They are not stories that encourage my child to love reading.

(I’m human) After raising my voice at my child saying, “focus”, “do your homework,” “stay on task,” “I don’t want to be here all night watching you write your words,” and hearing my daughter tell me, “I HATE homework,” I knew we needed to talk with her teacher.  I emailed her and scheduled time to meet with her after school.  I wanted to kindly inform her about what was going on. My daughter and I were frustrated. 

Asking For Change
I wondered if her teacher would allow me to modify my daughter’s homework.  After all, I do work with my child at home. If she was going to spend that much time on homework, I wanted her to have the opportunity to create something.

After kindly sharing my concern, I explained that I would like the opportunity to switch things up a bit. I told her I would never ask her to provide extra materials or provide different homework. I know how hard she works and how many students she has. I told her that my passion includes technology integration and allowing students the opportunity to create things that they are proud of. I said, “I’d like to begin using technology with her to study and learn during homework time.”  Her teacher said that would be okay.  I promised to email evidence or send a note on the nights we modified homework. 



First Change
A few weeks ago, I asked my daughter if she would like to try something different with her homework.  I set my laptop down at her homework desk.  We substituted handwriting her spelling words for typing her words three times each.  I loved teaching her how to change the font style, font size, use the “tab” key, and print a document. 






The following night, my daughter asked if she could print her homework.  “Print, NOOOOOO”, I thought. I was sure she wanted to hand print her spelling words.  Oh no, she had her heart set on, printing her homework on the printer.  Tuesday night spelling words are completed pyramid style, as requested.  That evening, she learned how to center her words to make a pyramid.


   

Since then, she has learned how to use the character keyboard on the MAC to accent letters when typing her Spanish spelling words.  She is doing this independently now and wants to learn how to type without looking at the keyboard.  She wants to learn!  She wants to do this homework.  Typing is still new and exciting to her.


What’s Next
My next step is to begin brainstorming more ideas that will keep her engaged while practicing her spelling words.  I want exciting and fun learning experience for her.  Will we create a spelling game?  Will we write a song together?  Will we make a spelling movie?  Who knows, but anything is more exciting than writing spelling words 3 times each.


Parent/Teacher Conference
During the actual parent/teacher conference at my daughter’s school, her teacher said that my daughter secretly handed her a note I had written when she turned in her homework typed.  My daughter was scared to turn it in.  She reassured us that it was fine.  :) She really does have a wonderful teacher.  I’m so glad I asked her if we could modify the homework.






Friday, November 1, 2013

Educreations + Background Eraser= ∞ Digital Storytelling Ideas

One of my favorite apps to share is Educreations.  It is app that students can use to explain their understanding, present what they have researched, or even tell a digital story.  I like to pair a few apps to allow students to use their own drawings from an external drawing app to create their stories.

Step 1- Draw a character
Use a drawing app to create a character that you would like to manipulate or move in Educreations and save it to your camera roll.

In the "What's Appening" tutorial below, I used the Hello Crayon App to draw a frog character.  It's easy to use and it's FREE.




Step 2- Erase the White Background
Use the Background Eraser App to erase the background your illustration and create a .PNG image file.  It's very easy to use if the background is one color.  With this trick, you can bring in a nice, full screen picture to use as a setting in Educreations, then use your own drawing as a "puppet."Check out the "What's Appening" tutorial on Background Eraser below.




Step 3- Create a Digital Story in Educreations
Create a digital story in Educrations by bringing in your own characters and moving them as you record. Check the "What's Appening" tutorial below.  My buddy shares his genius as we bring all three apps together.











Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Replacing my iPad Screen

My iPad had an accident 3 weeks ago.  I couldn't believe it.  It was my fault, no child was involved.

After debating all of my options, I decided I wanted to replace my iPad screen myself.

What I Ordered
I ordered my replacement kit before doing my homework. I am not recommending this product, just sharing that I decided to take a chance with the Zeetron iPad 3 Digitizer Glass Screen Kit from Amazon.  Prices varied, I took the time to read reviews and made my decision based on that alone.  I'm sure I will discover the quality of the screen over time. I hope I made a good choice.

If I would have watched the YouTube videos I list below before ordering, I probably would have ordered from DirectFix or iRepair Fast.  They have additional parts (that can be damaged during the repair) that I didn't consider ordering before this project.  Both companies also have a mail-in iPad repair service.

Doing my Homework
These are the videos that I watched to teach myself how to repair my iPad.  Each video has something different to offer. In my opinion, the first two, make the repair look much easier than it is, but offer good tips and share important information about what to look out for. The third video leaves nothing out. It is 1hour and 20 minutes long, because you see the entire repair of an iPad with a cracked screen and a damaged corner.  


My Experience
Cracked iPad Screen
It takes time.  I had to wait two weeks before I could find the time to work on my iPad without any distractions. I didn't expect the glass to break more when removing it.  If I had to do it again, I would use more heat, take more time, and have a set of gloves that fit snug.  I was careful around the camera, wifi antenna, home button and digitizer.  I made sure not to touch the LCD screen with my fingers and used a can of air to keep it dust free.  Before sealing the iPad up, I powered it on and made sure that my camera, wifi, home button, and touch screen were working properly.  Upon success, I smiled.  Accomplishment! Yay!

Tape was used to hold broken
glass together and guitar picks
to help keep the adhesive
 sepearated from the glass
Honestly, now that I've done it, I am going to be even more careful with my iPad.  I don't want to repair an iPad screen again. 
New screen installed












Where Are All the Connected Female Educators

While routinely checking my twitter feed in the morning, I ran across a nice blog post, Where are All the Connected Female Educators, written by Pernille Ripp.  She poses a lot of questions.  It made me think, What took me so long to get connected?  Why am I not more connected?  I agree, we need more women out there keynoting conferences, publishing books, and contributing to an audience that is mostly female.  I also wonder, if there are any men or women in my current situation.  Do the majority of connected women out there have young children?  How do they do it?

This is my own personal response.  I am not speaking for anyone else.  Being a connected educator is a struggle for me.  Being a connected educator is also very important to me. I have found that twitter is one of the best places for my own professional learning to take place.  I have found passionate educators, great podcasts, resources, and blogs while on twitter. I have been learning so much from other experiences.  I love it!

What Took Me so Long?
I learned about being a connected educator 5 years ago.  Around that time I was new to motherhood, my husband was deployed, but I still wanted to learn.  I struggled with raising my baby, keeping up with school paperwork, creating innovative lessons for my 4th graders, hanging out with my real friends, sleeping, the list could really go on and on.  I still created an account to begin connecting with educators on a social network called Plurk and through Facebook.

A few years later, baby number two came into the picture.  At that point FB was my place to share educational resources and baby photos.  I only contributed here and there, because the moment I picked them up from daycare, it was my time to catch up.  I hadn't seen them all day.  I missed many firsts, conversation, and I wanted to play with them.  

Now, I budget the time to connect.  What works for me is waking up at 4:45.  It seems like the best time for me to find time to myself. I drink my coffee, read blogs, check out twitter, read a book, or write a blog post of my own.  It's what works for me at this present time. Once I'm home and Mom, there are small opportunities to connect.

Most times, if I want to participate in a chat, I have to occupy my 3 and 6 yo for an hour.  That usually means start a movie for them.  I really do miss out on a lot of twitter chats.

I am human.  Sometimes, I do stop in to interact at night (on my smartphone). I am trying to limit that a little more, because there is nothing like the dagger of hearing your 3yo say, "Mom, put your phone down and play cars with me.  Do you want to play with me?" Mid tweet, I set my phone down. He'll only be 3 for a short while and I don't want to miss it.  

Stepping Out
I am trying to present at more conferences.  The struggle is feeling like I am burdening someone by asking for help.  My husband has a very crazy work schedule it doesn't leave much time for me to be spontaneous.  When he is home, he is one of my biggest supporters.  I have found that my family also supports my ambition to learn and my dream to excel in my career. That doesn't change the guilt I feel when I have to leave my children behind because I want to travel to a conference.

I want to be more connected, but I also want to be a great Mom and Wife.  Right now, it's educating my husband about why I'm on-line when he is home.  In a relationship, I feel it's healthy to explain what a twitter chat is.  Then it's knowing when to put the technology down because my family would like to interact with me too.

I Won't Give Up
I have begun challenging myself to step out and be more connected.  I do dream of being a Keynote at a conference.  I do dream of publishing a book one day.  I do dream of creating apps that will help my educator friends.  I do dream of going places. For now, most of that happens at 4:45 in the morning. That's how much I want to be connected. All in time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Day at EdCamp Dallas


This was the first EdCamp I attended outside of El Paso, TX.  An EdCamp is a free, unconference.  The educators in the room determine what the sessions will be and what they would like to share.  If you walk into a session and the conversation doesn’t feed you, it is understood that it is not an insult to leave and find a session that is right for you.  YAY!  You get to be in charge of what you want to learn.


The Meeting Room
Each participant received a blue and a yellow post it note.  You could write down a topic that you felt confident facilitating on the blue note, or a topic you wanted to learn more about on the yellow note.  



For those who wanted a digital version of a schedule, Guidebook, sponsored the event by providing access for free. We just downloaded the app and scanned a QR to get the schedule.

Tweep Board
Flipped Classroom with Shea Regian Forney ISD

Homework has never been the same.  With a flipped classroom, students learn the basics and mechanics at home by watching a video and do the work/practice/projects in class.  Shea shared her experience and how the flipped classroom works in her 8th grade math classes. Read more about this session here

Build your Own App 
Yapp Box is a free app that can be used to create your own app for the classroom.  It could be an app for a tech tips.  You can add buttons on the bottom for pages to twitter feed or a photo gallery.  It’s definately an app I will explore.

Hacking the Classroom
I snuck into this session so I missed the beginning.  Aimee Bartis was sharing how her class is hacking the tech apps classroom.  You can read her student’s blog and experiences at http://hackingtechapps.blogspot.com.  They love comments.  If you have time, leave one for her students.

Genius Hour
Martha Lacy shared what Genius Hour looks like in her classroom.  She said it’s important to decide when and how often genius hour would be.  To me, genius hour in her classroom seemed like a time to for students to create and integrate technology.  I loved Martha’s student examples, how well her elementary students collaborated with Google Docs and how excited she was about the students progress.  My favorite take away was the keynote story her students created.

Leadership and 1:1  with Greg Gardener
Greg facilitated a discussion to see where everyone was with 1:1.  I decided to attend this session because I work with a campus that will be going 1:1 iPads next school year.  I feel that not enough conversation is happening and not enough planning and preparation is in place. Read more here.

Teaching with AR
Todd Nesloney and Matt Gomez shared the Augmented Reality (AR) Apps they use in their classrooms.  He had Drew Minock and Erin Klein Google Hangout in to share their ideas.


Apps Todd Shared

There were a lot of "ooooohs" and "ahhhhhs" during this session.  

Daqri Elements (they haven't been release yet)





App Smash or Smack Down
Click on the link to view the list of things shared during the Smack Down.  It was awesome!  Tellagami is one of the free apps that were shared.  I created one very quickly.



video

Sunday, October 13, 2013

EdCampDallas-Leadership and 1:1


Leadership and 1:1  with Greg Garner

I went to EdCampDallas this weekend and enjoyed the conversation in this session.  I work with a campus that will be going 1:1 iPads next school year.  I feel that not enough conversation is happening and not enough planning or preparation is in place.

Greg facilitated a discussion to see where everyone was with 1:1 and said,“You cannot over plan a 1:1 roll out.” He recommended having an iPad Oath, a moral document for students in addition to the legal acceptable use policy.  If it is not on file, they take the iPad from the student and the signed document magically appears.  You will find other resources that might be helpful on the West Ridge Middle School Website. 

WestRidge Middle School in Austin, TX began their roll out by assigning each teacher an iPad.  Teachers were to learn how to use them, because it was coming and each student would have one.  It became very clear that it was not an option.

What you should know before the roll out
8th graders will do whatever it takes to break the restrictions. Campuses handled this differently.  One treated it as a disciplinary problem. One treated it as an instructional problem.  If you don’t have the apps you need to learn, there is a problem.  There was  “juice bar” that students could visit and have the apps and restrictions placed back onto the iPad.  It's probably a good idea to think about how you will handle it before it happens.  You can not over plan a 1:1 roll out.

As the group added input, one participant said they researched before 1:1 deployment.  He mention that research says to have a successful roll out, you must educate the teachers and the parents.

Educate, Educate, Educate 
Parents and Teachers need to know that they are in charge.  They need to take the responsibility of being the teacher or parent and think about things that will happen and how to handle situations that arise.

If a teacher has difficulty with classroom management, the teacher probably had trouble with it before the 1 to 1 roll out.  If a parent had trouble being an authoritative parent before a technology device was introduced, they will still have trouble after. 

Greg says that he reminds the teacher that they are still the teacher and reminds the parent that they are the parent. He also said, "If a teacher is ineffective before a 1:1 roll out, they will still be ineffective with the 1:1.  The technology just puts a big spotlight on it."   

It was said, "you can’t over communicate with parents."  Talk with them about the options.  Share what an 8th grader will be doing with technology in their bedroom, door closed till 1 in the morning. Talk with them about how to avoid that.  Talk with them about changing wifi codes, unplugging the wireless router at bed time, a place to leave the device after a set time, how to be a parent that monitors their child on the internet. Be the parent and stand your ground.  

Leadership

Greg also talked about the leadership role. If you are in a leadership position, you must remember that you are the leader.  You will need to have tough conversations. It must be understood that the 1:1 roll out is not an option.  If a parent wants to opt out, it’s a cop out.  He mentioned that one parent, bought a safe and had his child lock the iPad in it at when they got home.  The parent would unlock the safe in the morning and allow his child to take it to school.  

Option

The school district Greg works with allowed students, grades 6-12 to take the iPad home over the summer if they paid the insurance. Insurance was outsourced for the district. K-5 students didn’t have the option to take it home over the summer.

My Thoughts

This session was worth it for me.  Hearing what others experienced as they began a 1:1 roll out share was valuable.  It’s never to early to plan for it.  Thanks for sharing, Greg!

EdCampDallas-Flipped Session

Flipped Classroom with Shea Regian Forney ISD

I attended this session at EdCampDallas to learn more about the Flipped Classroom.

Homework has never been the same.  With a flipped classroom, students learn the basics and mechanics at home and do the work/practice/projects in class.  Shea shared her experience and how the flipped classroom works in her 8th grade math classes.

She recommends using whatever technology you have to create the tutorials, Promethean or SMART Recorder, computer webcam, document camera, iPad (camera, Educreations, Explain Everything), or screen cast tool.  Shea uses One-Note to get the job done.

She explained that when she first began creating her videos she was a “talking head” and it would take her 30 minutes to create a video because she was looking for perfection.  Now, creating the video takes a few minutes and she doesn’t worry about perfection because making mistakes and correcting them is a part of a regular classroom. Some teachers in the group commented that they give extra points to students who catch a mistake while watching a flipped lesson for homework.  Shea is no longer a talking head anymore, she uses the sheets with examples and works them out during the flipped lesson.

What it looks like in Shea’s Room

Day 1-
(In Class) Students don’t get a choice. She tells the class that homework is not an option.  On the first day of the unit, she spends class time with the name of the unit, asking students what it sounds like to them, includes informal and formal language, and spends time talking about vocabulary.  When they go home, they spend 3-6 minutes watching the basics.  She always uses the terminology and vocabulary in her videos and in class.  Students are required to take good notes while they watch the flipped lesson.

Day 2- 
(Class time)- Shea spends time giving her explanation, appling the algebra to the real world and how students will use it in algebra II and geometry.  She also takes time to teach students how to take notes for homework.  Students know what she expects to see.

Review Night- These are the longest videos.  She usually will film 4 to 6 videos for the review.  If the class does the review, they get a free question on the test.

What if you have problems?
Shea says it's okay to revert back to the old way if something goes wrong.  Things will happen. It could be a bad storm and the internet is out for the entire neighborhood.  It’s okay to do it the old way for a day.

Students didn't do their homework? It's not an option.  They will do their homework. Her room is open at 7:45 in the morning and for a time period after school for students to come in and complete their homework. Students can go to the library and complete it there or even use their personal mobile devices.  Shea knows who completed homework by completing a quick walk while students have their notebooks open on the desks.  She checks them first thing. If the notes are good, they move on to the lesson.  If the notes are not good enough or have none, they go to the back of the room to complete it.  The computers students can use in class are slow and the chairs are uncomfortable.  Shea doesn’t try to create a perfect situation for them.  She mentioned that there was only one situation where a student proved she didn’t have a way to complete homework at home, before or after school.  Shea worked with her and a few of her teachers to allow her to leave a class a few minutes early to come sit in the back of the room to complete it daily. 

Grading

Homework is 10% of the grade.  If students do it, they get a 100.  If they complete it outside of the notebook it's a 90 until they cut it out and glue it in.  Students who didn't complete the homework before class can earn a 70 once it is complete.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

AR Flashcards


Do you use alphabet flashcards in the classroom? If so, you have to try out AR Flashcards! They are augmented reality abc and dinosaur flash cards that will bring excitement to the classroom.

What you will need
1. Visit the AR Flashcard website and download their flashcards for free
2. Use a color printer and print out a set of flashcards
3. Cut the cards out on the dotted lines.
4. Download the AR Flashcard App from iTunes or AR Flashcards for Android.
5. Launch the app and try it out!
6. Don't forget to tap on the flashcard when you see the character appear. The creators of the app included audio that says the letter name and the name of the animal. 
7. Be AMAZED!!!

Tips- use white card stock and print them in color

I tested AR Flashcards with my little girl.  Check out her first experience using the app.  :)
 


Classroom Ideas
Spoiler Alert!!!  I recommend keeping what will happen a secret!  Just guide on the side.  Let them experience and discover it.  Isn't that a reward in learning?
-shuffle the flashcards and have students alphabetize them
-shuffle the cards, lay a limited number out, have students build beginning or ending sounds
-shuffle the cards, lay them out and have students spell their name (you may need two decks of cards)
-print two sets of cards and play memory
-count the legs of each animal
-identify the color of each animal
-identify the number of syllables in each animal word that is on the flashcard

I believe educational apps are best used as part of a great lesson.  How would you use AR Flashcards in your classroom or with your child at home?  I'd love more ideas to share with the teachers I work with.

Special Thanks to Brad Waid and Drew Minock for sharing this awesome app with me at Podstock and Mrs. Gaskin for collaborating with me. I'm excited about scheduling my first tech integration PLC with my PreK-Kinder teachers this year.  Woot!

ABC Conference

Our instructional technology group was invited to present at the 9th Annual ABC Conference, A Better Beginning Conference, held at the University of Texas at El Paso.  It's a small conference that is put together for novice and mentor teachers in our area.  This conference was complete with a keynote, snacks, ed tech sessions, and a nice lunch to honor a novice and mentor teacher of the year.

The Keynote- Colby Smart
I took the time to look up our Keynote, Colby Smart and follow him on Twitter.  I'm always excited to meet someone new and learn from their experiences.  I have to say that the most exciting part about this Keynote was the interaction.  Colby had Todaysmeet.com open.  He had set up a room for us to share our ideas as he presented his belief and ideas about technology integration.

Colby talked about a small school he works with, Weitchpec: Yurok Immersion School and the importance of keeping their native Yurok Language apart of the learning.  The language is a very important part of the community.  He asked the audience to talk with each other and suggest ways they could use technology to help the students learn the language.  Here are some of the responses from the audience.





Technology Integration & Apps Teachers Love

Sherita and I teamed up to present during this session.

For me, this was my chance to share what technology integration looks like. I think it is important to know when you enter the classroom.  I wanted novice teachers to know what 21st Century Learning is and that student created content is great evidence of technology integration.  I shared the three tiers of technology integration and what they look like in the classroom.  I wanted teachers to know that having a set of iPads or visiting the computer lab for 45 minutes a week did not mean that technology was being integrated effectively.  I have seen teachers visit the computer lab for 45 minutes each week, ask students to go to the same game website all year long, and then sit down and check their email or surf the web for resources.  When I see this, the students are not excited about the learning and it appears to be a break for everyone.

I shared my experience as a new teacher.  I admitted that I did what everyone else did.  I took my class to the computer lab weekly.  The paraprofessional in the lab told my students to pick a CD and play a game on the computer.  The games were educational, but random. I didn't realize that I could say, "no." I didn't realize that I could take them to the computer lab at that time and let them publish a piece of writing, blog, try out a few science simulations, or connect to a global audience.  It wasn't obvious to me. I shared a few things that students have created on the iPad.



3D Shapes with Animoto- 4th grade students collected pictures of 3D shapes around the classroom. They got together and used the Animoto App to build a slide show that shared attributes of each shape.
Try our slideshow maker at Animoto.

  

Rhyming Words with Puppet Pals HD Director's Pass- 1st grade students were given a scavenger hunt list of words and had to find and photograph words that rhymed with it in the room. After, they used puppets and their voice to share the rhyming words.


Fog Fanner with Puppet Pals HD Director's Pass- I created this with my first grader at home. We had several foggy days in our city.  My daughter had an idea for an invention that would make it easier to see while driving to school.  We had to use Puppet Pals HD to create it.

Sherita shared these iPad Management and Apps that teachers love.  Check out It's All Good! to read her Blog.  Here are the awesome apps she shared with the teachers during the session. They are are on her Resource Spot.

Group Photo of the team that presented from EPISD.
I don't want to forget the things I am presenting, learning, or attending.  Blogging is becoming my way to document and remember.  :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Being Impersonated on Twitter

My Impersonation Story
Last week, I was introducing Twitter to an elementary campus.  As teachers searched my name to follow me, one asked, "Which one do I follow? There are two." Like any teacher would, I walked over to check it out. Yes, indeed.  Someone had taken my profile picture, description and full name to create another twitter account just like mine.  My handle @kbalbier, my imposter's handle @bkalbier.  At first, I was creeped out and worried that they would spam and direct message people that follow me.  :(

Checking it Out
Here are the results that appeared when I searched my name this morning. You'll notice the handles are slightly different and the second profile has a comma in the middle of the word instructional.

I'm still not sure why someone would create a double version of me.  I wonder if that person makes a few bucks for creating people and having them follow others.  Who knows.

I spent a little time checking out my impostor's profile page.  This morning it was following two.  One of the profiles it is following is @certain_kq. It looked like most of the followers of @certain_kq were impersonated too.  Then I found that @certain_kq was an impersonated version of @certain.  It seems like a big twisted web of fake twitter accounts.  After I searched the impostor again tonight, it is now following 21 people.

What to Do
Don't panic.  This could happen to anyone.  If this happens to you, I would inform your Twitter Followers.  Read up on the impersonation policies that Twitter has in place and make sure to report the impersonation to Twitter's Help

Then What
I reported the impersonation.  Twitter Support emailed back.  I was asked to fax a copy of my State Issued ID to verify that I am the real me.  I sent off the fax this morning.  Now, I'm waiting for Twitter to send a confirmation.  I hope this account will be deleted soon.

Lesson Learned 
I will make it a routine to search my name on Google and Twitter more often.  I will also read more than a profile description before deciding to follow others.

This is not going to deter me from seeing the bigger picture.  Sharing the good that is happening in the world of education, my experiences, and making connections with other educators are all things that are meaningful to me.  There may be a copy of my face and profile, following random people and tweeting nonsense.  That profile will have 0 impact on the world of education.  It will be a meaningless Twitter Account.  I, on the other hand, have bigger plans for the real me.

Update
After about 3 weeks, if I search the handle of the impersonator account, it currently says it has been suspended.  I searched @certain_kq and it has been suspended too.
FYI- I did not receive a confirmation from Twitter when they received my fax with my state issued ID.  I also did not receive a confirmation when the account was suspended. Just keep checking.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking Time to Blog with my Daughter

I have seen what students can do with technology.  What is a mother to do when opportunities to create with technology are not all over your child's classroom? I begin to sprinkle it in to spend time with her and share with her teacher.

My daughter does not attend a school that I work with.  I'd like to keep it that way.  I don't want to be a helicopter parent. When she was 4, she would passionately talk about wanting to go to "Spanish school."  She would tell me she wanted to speak Spanish.  I sought out a public dual language school that could help make her dream happen. :)

In the back of my mind, I wondered what my little girl would create. I wondered if she would use the computer.  I wondered what she would learn.  I also knew I was not her classroom teacher.  Nope, I have a "one up."  I'm her Mother, her first, and most important teacher and role model.

After her first day of Kinder, we created a Blog together.  It was also my project to begin blogging myself.  I also wanted to have a portfolio of my daughter's learning.  We didn't do much with it last year and we are starting all over again. :)

This year, we decided it was time to give it another shot.  We worked on a project together.  When we were finished, we sent an email to her teacher to share her work.  Friday, I received a message back.  Her teacher played the Puppet Pals video we created and posted on her blog for her class.  



Last night, before she went to bed, I showed her that she had 587 blog views (in the history of her blog).  She smiled very big and asked, "Does everyone like it?"  Then, she repeated, "587."  

She's my daughter and student.  I love her and am going to help her be a 21 Century Learner.  Check out her blog, Kaylee Shares, and leave her a comment.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Best Compliment

As an Instructional Technology Specialist, I work with 9 schools, K-12.  I make many classroom visits to work with teachers and students.  Many teachers introduce me to their class as a tech guru or as a person who is really good with technology. Maybe it's because I am always willing to help them with technology and when they attend sessions with me, technology is always involved.  Those are fine introductions.  It is always nice to be introduced to a classroom of excited students.

The best introduction I received was when I visited a 3rd grade classroom.  The teacher turned to her students and said, "Class, this is Mrs. Balbier.  She is my teacher." She went on to explain that she was attending my classes while they were at P.E. to learn all about iPads and the SMARTBoard for them.  

It made me smile.  The best compliment for me is not hearing, "You are a wonderful Instructional Technology Specialist." The best compliments are the times I hear, "You are a wonderful teacher."  <3
This teacher, made my day.  



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Twitter, why did it take me so long to get you?

I knew about Twitter.  I knew many high school students used it as their primary social networking tool. I knew my boss expected me to tweet.

Why did it take me so long to understand the most powerful learning tool, Twitter? After all, I have been sprinkling my love and excitement for teaching, technology, and learning, with a smile for as long as I can remember.  What I need to remember is, there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. What I see now is, I was only sharing with the people that see me face to face or get my emails.  They are the people I trust and work with.  I know that I have only debated and had conversations with groups of educators that will still like me tomorrow, if I don't agree with them.  

I feel that it is important to let you know that I have had a Twitter account since 2011.  I would only use Twitter when I attended a conference, like TCEA to tweet what I was learning.  I didn't add to my PLN by collecting people to follow.  When I would return home, I felt like I was tweeting myself and no one could possibly be reading what I was tweeting.  Do teachers tweet in El Paso?

I have been a faithful Twitter user for 4 months now.  Faithful, meaning that I am using it to learn, share, and make connections now.  I no longer feel like I'm tweeting myself.  How did this happen?

Twitter tips from a Newbie 

1.  Ask for Twitter Handles- During the last conference I attended, PodStock 2013, I didn't want to lose the connections I made.  Every time I had a conversation with someone, I asked for their twitter handle.  They usually asked for mine back and I gained a few new followers.  I wasn't tweeting myself anymore.

2. Build Relationships- This has been the most difficult for me.  Try to interact, answer questions that you know the answer to, send a compliment if you honestly notice they are sharing things that are valuable to you, retweet any message that you want others who are following you to read.

3. Discover hashtags #- I didn't worry about hashtags too much when I began tweeting.  I have since learned that it makes it easier to search and following topics.  As I read other tweets, I am paying attention to what hashtags they are using.  As I tweet, I am trying to add hashtags to share with others who are interested in that topic. 

4. Explore- Use the search feature in Twitter.  Search for people, topics, keywords, places, book titles, or anything you feel like learning or reading about.  After searching names of people I work under, I have discovered that I am not the only person that didn't get twitter.  There are a lot of people in education, making huge decisions, that do not have an account.  We all have to start somewhere, right?

5. Learn- Take learning into your own hands.  Every story and how is different.  Here is one story that started my twitter learning adventure.  I saw a conversation someone was having with @TechNinjaTodd.  I think I started following him because I liked his twitter handle.  I found that I am learning a lot from him and his twitter friends.  He shared, @EduAllStarsHQ podcast.  I later found that he is also a host with two other amazing educators.  As I listened to the podcasts, I started following all of the guests.  Then I found that other educators I made connections with at other conferences knew @TechNinjaTodd via twitter.  It's a small Twitter world.  I could keep going.  Since then I have been on a learning overload.  Learning through twitter because I want to, is very different than someone telling me I have to read a book and discuss it at work.  I am learning what I want to learn, when I want to learn it.  How powerful is that? 

I feel like I can sprinkle my excitement for education, learning and technology with people I know now.  I don't really know them, but I'll be working on the relationships.  Since twitter only allows for 140 characters, I know blogging is going to have to be another way I share.

Here's to my rebirth of learning and sharing.  I will be sharing Twitter with a campus on Tuesday.  I'll be happy to share your twitter advice.  I don't want it to take them 2 years to get it.

Connect with me on twitter @kbalbier