Friday, February 28, 2014

Staying on Top of the Crazy

As employees in education, we have a lot that is asked of us. If you’re nodding your head right now, you know exactly what I mean! And you also know that it often feels like it’s impossible to stay on top of all the crazy AND use technology.

I’m going to show you my favorite tools for staying on top of all of the latest and greatest in education, libraries, technology, and school administration. No matter what you teach or how you affect a school, these tools can help you filter the internet down in to consumable chunks that will only take a few minutes a day to use.

RSS Feeds - Your Info Delivered

Have you ever seen this symbol on a website? If you haven’t, then look for it, because it’s a magic button to free, instant, personalized, and delivered professional development.

Without getting too technical, that symbol means that there is a RSS (really simple syndication) feed on that site. In other words, you can click on that symbol, answer a few simple questions, and get the content from that site delivered to you whenever it’s updated. You never have to visit the site again!

So go take another look at your favorite sites and blogs and see if that symbol is there. If you find it, give a click and start making the internet work for you. Read the next article to find a great way to store and organize all of your new delivered content!

Feed Your Need with Feedly.com

Now that you know how to find an RSS Feed, let’s talk about what program to use to collect your content. There are many choices, but my favorite feed reader is feedly.com. Feedly is available not only online, but as an app on iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.), Android, and there’s even an extension for the Chrome web browser!

Feedly allows you to add content from any website or blog, as long as it has an RSS feed. You can also organize the content so it’s easier to find. After that, it works pretty much like an email inbox. You read what you want when you want and it’ll wait for you when you’re ready for more. You can also remove any content you don’t want at any time.

Google + Communities Rock!

Google +, or G+ is basically Google’s version of Facebook. While it may not completely replace Facebook for you, I have found it to be my new #1 location for reaching out to other educators and innovators.



G+ has many features, but I’m going to specifically focus on communities. A G+ community is a group of people gathered around a certain topic. You can post questions or comment on others’ thoughts. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for an idea or want to share something amazing you’ve discovered. You’ll need a non-.info Google account to start, and you’ll need to join Google +. Then, just go here: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/communities/

There’s pretty much a G+ community for everybody. Are you a science teacher? There’s a G+ community for you. ESL? They have a huge community! There’s even a community for school counselors and for people teaching with chromebooks. If you’re interested in it, chances are there’s a thriving G+ community that already exists with just the people you’re looking for. If you can’t find the right group of people, make your own community. That’s what I did! I’m the owner of the Library Media Specialists community on G+. I also help moderate the 3,000+ member Educators on G+ community which is owned by my husband.

Oh, and you can join as many communities as you like!

Each community has its own rules, so be sure to read before you post. Beyond that, explore and enjoy.

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