UPDATE: Tackk is no longer available. Check out Smore for similar features!
I absolutely LOVE the PD I am participating in called Educator Learning Series (#eduLS) from Todd Nesloney. Each week a new challenge is posted that allows me to explore old and new tools and complete challenges using these tools. The challenges are presented by different educators, giving me a chance to expand my growing digital PLN.
In week 8, we were challenged to create with easy to use digital tools. One of the tools was Canva, which I already love! I thought I would try out the other two suggestions: @Tackk and @SmorePages. Smore requires a paid account, although an educator option is available with special pricing. I'd heard about this tool before and am pleasantly surprised by the features it includes. This can be used for newsletter, invitations, etc. and the creation of these products is very straightforward. I decided to sign up for Tackk, because it is free and available as an app.
Tackk allows for final products to be shared to a variety of social media platforms, they can be printed or e-mailed, or they can be embedded like I have done here.
I am now curious about the use of Tackk in education. You can follow users like on Instagram, for example. You can also set your Tackks to receive comments from others, which I elected to turn off for this particular one. You can also set Tackks to be private and hidden from the Tackkboard that includes work from various users. The app is just as easy to use as the web version of the tool, and I will definitely return to exploring the use of this with students!
I LOVED this challenge from the #EduLS and I have plans to incorporate this with my students. I work with a group of grade 3 student TIFs (technology integration facilitators - my job), and my plan is to introduce photo editing apps to create an infopic.
I combined this challenge with a few things. First, I decided to use Canva to create my infopic. I love this free website! It is SO easy to create really fantastic products without the need for a degree in design!
I am also currently working on a course on the IB Primary Years Programme. This is my first year working in an IB school, but there is so much I already love about the PYP curriculum. I selected a quote from the "Making the PYP Happen" - a curriculum framework we are using for my course and for all IB schools.
Lastly, the photo is from last year and shows my fifth grade students working with grade 1 students. Both classes were learning about plants and living things, so we worked together to explore the area around the school. The students created an Educreations video (using the free iPad app) together with the grade 1 students.
The photo isn't really the PYP in action, but I loved this quote about learning!
This past summer, I participated in a Twitter learning series set up by Todd Nesloney. #SummerLS was set up by Todd to engage the teacher's at his school in weekly challenges leading up to the start of the new school year. I've followed Todd for a while on Twitter, so I joined in. This January he initiated a new learning series, Educator Learning Series, #eduLS.
The first challenge was to choose #onelittleword to guide our year. I initially thought of #impact, but never posted my word. This was due to the obsession I have with doing things perfectly. I sometimes fail to get things accomplished, because I spend forever trying to do them the perfect way. Perfect here is the idea that I have in my head for the way something should turn out. Since I've had some time to reflect on my word, I've changed my focus and selected #relationships as my word for 2015. I was hoping to choose a verb, but I then realized that what I really want to focus my personal and professional life around this year are the relationships I have with people in my life.
I currently live on the other side of the world from my immediate and extended family. The people I've grown closest to are not anywhere near me. As I continue on this amazing journey teaching overseas, I want to recommit myself to maintaining the relationships I have with the people that mean the world to me.
I also want to focus on making an impact on the students I work with and build relationships at school. For as long as I can remember, I've had a role that allowed me to work with children. From working with young swimmers through coaching and lessons, to baby-sitting and running a summer camp with a friend from her basement, to becoming a classroom teacher, I've always felt a calling to working with children. I find it easy to connect with others, but especially students. I've felt a lot of criticism by colleagues and others that felt my goal was to "be friends" and "be liked" by students. I think that a relationship is about mutual respect and a connection that shows the child he/she matters to you.
I have had an opportunity to work with so many incredible people and educate some really amazing and inspirational children. I learn new things from my colleagues and students constantly. I want to recommit myself to fostering the relationships I have and growing relationships with those new to my life. In Doha, I have the opportunity to interact and meet people from so many different parts of the world. While I have the chance to build so many new relationships, I want to make sure that I continue to show those in my life how important they are.
So in 2015, my #onelittleword is #relationships inspired in part by a quote I carried with me to Doha.
Saying goodbye to some of my former students at their summer swim meet this past year, between the hugs and tears held back with laughs, one of the fathers said to me, "Take time to build relationships with your students. It is so important."
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.