Twelve shopping days until Christmas!
For the educational technology enthusiast, there are so many people on the gift list. Indiana’s eLearning community, #INeLearn, suggested several, such as:
- a budding new musician
- the new blogger
- Twitter newbies
- the overloaded committee chair
For me, thinking about all of the ed tech possibilities is like a wide-eyed child the first time he sets foot in an FAO Schwarz. There’s so much great stuff out there, and I want it all!
Let’s take care of this gift list!
1. Resources for your colleague who just started using Twitter
I have two. Colleen Lee recently posted a great article at Edudemic called “5 Ways to Get Better at Twitter”. Here are some of her recommendations:
- Add a profile picture to get rid of your egg! (New Twitter users’ profile pictures are eggs — just hatched — by default.)
- To get the most out of the gushing flow of content on Twitter, organize with lists and don’t be afraid to unfollow.
- Set some time aside every day — maybe 10 minutes — to look through your feed .
My other gift is a must-have if you don’t have it already: the weekly education Twitter chat list. At the time of this post, there are just over 200 chats to choose from. If you’re not familiar with Twitter chats, they’re a virtual place where educators gather to discuss. There’s a lot that happens in a Twitter chat!
2. A tool or widget for your friend the new blogger
I wish that someone had told me how valuable MailChimp would be when I first started blogging. MailChimp provides, among other things:
- A customizable form readers can use to subscribe to e-mail reminders for your blog
- Automated e-mails sent to your subscribers when you post new content (it’s called an RSS-driven campaign)
- Customizable templates you can use to e-mail your subscribers
If you’re starting a blog — or have already started — I suggest that you make MailChimp a priority from the start. It’s free for lists up to 2,000 subscribers.
3. Something creative for your media specialist
I’m quickly falling in love with Snagit. It’s a TechSmith program that captures images and video from your computer. With a quick keyboard shortcut, you can grab a screen capture, add highlights, text and other features, and quickly share it to a variety of online platforms.
Snagit is great for creating tutorials, either with a screencast video or in pictures. It could also be a great tool for newsletters. Snagit isn’t free ($49.95). I very, very rarely pay for digital tools, but this one is very valuable.
4. A tool to help the overloaded committee chair
Communication has to be one of their main responsibilities, and Remind 101 is a great resource for keeping in touch with lots of people. Remind 101 allows leaders to send text messages to a group. The leader is the only one who can send messages and it keeps contact information private, so it’s a very safe service. It was one of my five changes for a more digital classroom this year.
So many people communicate by text message and it’s so easy. Remind 101 is engaging and gets the job done.
The rest of the list
5. A tool or app for a budding young musician: Garage Band. You can create music with a variety of instruments, jam with friends and record your best songs. (iOS, free as of this post)
6. An app or recommendation for your students’ parents: the #ptchat hashtag on Twitter. It’s a weekly chat (9-10 pm EST, right after the #INeLearn chat!), and it’s a wealth of resources and people to help parents connect and support their children and their schools.
7. A blog or book recommendation for the analog admin: The Principal of Change blog by George Couros. This guy really gets what makes schools thrive and what administrators can do to be proactive.
8. Something to delight your picture-happy secretary: Pixlr is a great, free photo editing site that offers 200+ photo filters and effects. It kind of feels like a free online version of Adobe Photoshop.
Who else should we get gifts for? And what other great gifts are out there? Be a Santa and leave a comment!
Matt is scheduled to present at the following conferences this school year:
- InSAI Indiana Conference on Learning (Jan. 28, Wyndham Indianapolis West, Indianapolis)
- Indiana Google in Education Summit (Feb. 15-16, William Henry Harrison High School, Evansville, Ind.)
- Indiana Network for Early Language Learners: Technology in the World Language Classroom (March 15, Park Tudor School, Indianapolis)
Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!