“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” —Bill Gates

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Twitter for your PLN

Hi! A few days ago I was reflecting on how much Twitter has helped me to grow professionally. In a short time I feel my learning curve has skyrocketed. It also made me realize that there are very few teachers in my school that actually use Twitter. So, I decided to spend this week's training time on evangelizing Twitter and showing them how to form a professional learning network (PLN) through Twitter.

Yes, there are other ways to form a network, but not as easy, quick, and simple as Twitter. Just join Twitter, start following the right people, and see the flow of knowledge instantly pour in! You can't go wrong. Focus on your interests and look for who shares them too.

Why tweet?

  • Create a community with people sharing your same interests.
  • Find recommended articles, books, web sites, information, tips, etc.
  • Stay up-to-date
  • Open a window and see what others are reading, doing, saying, thinking.

Basics things to know:

  • Composing new tweets
  • Reading the tweet stream
  • List of Followers/Following
  • What are Retweets (RT), Favorites, Mentions (@), and Direct messages (DM)
  • What are Hashtags (#) 

How can you extend your network?

  • Search by categories in #Discover.
  • Search for people you know by their name.
  • See the recommendations Twitter makes of who to follow.
  • See who others are following.
  • Click on the "Follow Me" button when you see it on a web site.


  • Make sure you complete your Bio with what reflects who you are and what you want others to know about you.
  • Change the egg picture right away!
  • Retweet the gems you find so you can forward the goodness to your followers.
  • Remember, you can have several Twitter accounts, so maybe you'd like to separate personal from professional networks.

Helpful links:

If you have a story of how Twitter has helped you, please add a comment, or better yet, follow me @dianasaldana and share on Twitter.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

More on Google Drive

Hi! A few weeks ago I had written about a few pointers related to Google Drive that have changed the user's perspective. Now I want to share a presentation I prepared this week at school that shows more things to keep in mind when working with the Google Drive user interface. 

It's been a slow transition, but we're getting the hang of it now!


Monday, January 7, 2013

21st Century Learning & Technology

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2013!

Wow! We had a great start of the year at school today. After the Christmas holidays we came back to a full PD day. At this time we were honored to have Pam Allyn, author of many books and director of LitWorld and LitLife.

My takeaway from today's sessions is:
  • How can the 21st century tools help bring out the best of each and every child?
  • Nowadays, everyone can get what they need from anybody. The challenge we face now is how to ask the right questions.
  • 21st century school can help empower the shyest and most fearful child.
  • Characteristics of 21st century learners: Connected, Collaborative, Critical Thinkers, Creative, Independent, Empathetic
  • A paradigm shift is focusing on technology-based genres of text. For example, write a long essay and a short essay in Twitter form.
  • The 21st century tools contribute to building empathy in the children. For example, in the community created in Facebook, in which people share and agree upon posts.
  • "To be a master of content you have to be a strong reader." ­—Pam Allyn
Pam stressed that these are transformational times and that technology plays an important role, however it's not about teaching the tool, which will most likely be replaced by another one quite soon, but rather it's about empowering the students to thrive as learners in the 21st century.

Finally, I'll share a list of websites and apps that promote reading. They are all really good. Enjoy!