Tag Archives: tools

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 16 – RSS Feeds, Another Way to Personalize the Content You Receive

Today we are taking a step back to our work on content.  A tweet yesterday, by Heather Theijsmeijer, has been retweeted countless times, and it has inspired this post on how to work smarter, not harder.

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We KNOW educators are very busy.  The OPC/UWO report on the role of the Principal in Ontario is a sobering look at the hours required to manage schools and lead learning in this province.

Today we explore another tool that will help you streamline the content you view each day.  In the comments on a previous post in this series, a colleague asked us how to quickly follow blogs using RSS feeds, so that she could visit one site and read all of the postings.

RSS, or “Really Simple Syndication” allows you to aggregate a number of sites into one place, allowing you to quickly check in and scan a number of feeds at the same time instead of visiting a number of different sites.

While there are many options to choose from when you are looking for an RSS Reader, we are going to walk you through Feedly.

When you go to the http://feedly.com site, it looks like this:

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You are asked to pick some topics that interest you to begin.  Like other tools we have used (pinterest, flipboard, zite), you will be able to narrow this search to personalize your feed. Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 7.25.55 AM

Choosing #Education brings up some possible blogs/sites to follow.  Click the green plus sign to start following.


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Feedly will then signal you to sign in with a social media account.

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Once your account is created, you continue to add the blogs and sites you want to follow.

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The blogs and sites you follow will then appear on the left side of the page.
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How do you follow a blog that does not automatically appear in Feedly?  Let’s look at how to follow this blog.  At OSSEMOOC, we make this blog very easy to follow.  We will look at three different ways to do it.

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To begin with, OSSEMOOC provides an opportunity to follow by email update.  We cater to new users, and this is the simplest method to follow every update.  But not every blog or site provides you with this option.



OSSEMOOC also allows following by RSS. If you click on RSS – Posts,

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you will be taken to this website:


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Copy the web address by highlighting it and using the keys (held down together) <CTRL c >(<Command c> on a Mac).


Go back to Feedly and “Add Content”.

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Paste the address into the dialog box by using the keys <CTRL v> (held down together) (<Command v on a Mac>).

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Now click the green + to add OSSEMOOC to your feed.


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It will look something like this:
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You can choose what collection or stream you want OSSEMOOC to appear in.

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To start using your Feedly reader, simply click on “all”, or on specific collections.  When you see an item of interest, simply click on it and you will be taken to the original site.

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Of course some blogs and sites, like OSSEMOOC, make it simple to follow on Feedly by clicking on the Follow button.



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Now you can start building your personal feed so that you can simply follow your favourite blogs, news sites, research sites, etc.

Remember to share your best findings with your PLN.

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Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 9 – Beginning to Share Content

Update: We have added a screencast guide to today’s learning.  We hope this is helpful for you!


Over the past week we have been looking at different ways to find content online to help us with our professional learning.  While we still have more tools to explore, today we are taking a pause and looking at the bigger picture.

At one time, we would read articles, and if they were useful to us, we might clip them or copy them, and file them away for future use.  Everyone had their own private filing cabinet full of clipped articles and other resources they might pull out later to use for specific purposes.

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 Sarah Cady via Compfight cc

Now we search and save online, but it is much more powerful if we share what we are saving.

For example, if I taught Geography of Canada, I might clip articles about ecozones or national parks.  But what if I had access to the articles that all of the Geography of Canada teachers were clipping, sorting, and saving?

As we collect content and think critically about how we can use it and/or integrate it into our practice, we can organize that content and share it with others.  This is the beginning step as we move toward content curation.

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We will be digging into the idea of content curation as we work through the next week.  Today we want to keep it simple and explore how “social bookmarking” works to help us aggregate resources. While our video selection is a bit dated, we do love how it really breaks down the ideas.  If you have a more recent video to share, please suggest it in the comments.

Please take about four minutes and see how social bookmarking can help make the process of accessing resources so much more efficient for you and your Professional Learning Network!

Social Bookmarking by Common Craft




Further Resources:

Five free social bookmarking tools – Edudemic

Social Bookmarking – Mind/Shift

Delicious Help Page

Learn it in 5:  Social Bookmarking in the K-12 Classroom

Learn Camp: Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking Explained for Teachers (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning)

“Share” photo credit: Funchye via Compfight cc

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 8 – Peeking Inside a Twitter Chat

Update: Here is the learning on “Twitter Chats” from our recent course – Twitter for Absolute Beginners.  This is an updated piece that might be a great addition


Here is our learning from November 2015:

Today we begin our second week of connected learning.  Most of our “10 minutes” so far have been about lurking and learning, which is great.  Finding out where to go online to learn what is happening is a huge first step in getting connected.  You need to feel some confidence with the online environment to really be able to leverage it for your own professional learning.

But if everyone just “lurked”, and pulled out what they needed, there would be nothing to “pull out”!  We ask our students to share, and we need to model that as well.  In our 30 days of getting connected, we are working towards full engagement as a connected learner – contributing and challenging, learning and sharing.

When we are learning face-to-face, others can see and hear what is going on.  They can choose to observe, or to join in the conversation.

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 svenwerk via Compfight cc

Online learning is different in that we need a few tools and access to digitally wander in and learn more about it.  People can tell us that we should “get on Twitter” because it’s an amazing place for professional learning, but it is difficult to form a concept in our minds of what that is all about if we have not directly experienced it.

This morning, we take you inside a “twitter chat”.

Twitter chats use hashtags to aggregate the tweets on a specific topic.  Normally, they occur at a specific time, and educators often answer questions posed by the moderator (questions appear as Q1, Q2, responders put A1, A2 etc. as part of their answer).

There are twitter chats for every possible interest in education.  There are chats for every grade, every subject area, principals, new teachers, special education, every time of day, you name it!  One fairly comprehensive list of twitter chats can be found here, though there are still many more to add.

Every Saturday morning, a diverse group of educators meet online on Twitter at 7:30 a.m. EST for #satchat. They share and challenge each others’ thinking in rich conversation.  This morning, we share some of today’s #satchat with you, so that you can see what actually happens in a twitter chat.

When you are ready, try joining a chat that interests you. Twitter chats can seem a bit overwhelming to newly connected educators at first, especially if you join a very large chat (for example, #satchat had 573 participants and 49 tweets per minute this morning).  It is very important to realize that you are not going to keep up with every posting by every educator.  Tweets are collected and posted in another format so that you can always go back and read all of the contributions at a later time.

Focus on a few contributors or even a single conversation until you are more comfortable with the tool.

If you already use twitter chats as part of your PLN, what chats have worked well for you, and what do you learn by participating?

First, a few Ontario education leaders share their journey to connected learning:

1. Silvana Hoxha, Vice-Principal and connected educator in the Waterloo Region District School Board generously shares her journey with us in how she began to use Twitter for professional learning.

2. Wayne Toms, ITS and Planning Manager at Limestone District School Board discusses his experience in using Twitter as a Professional Learning Tool.

Here are a few excerpts from #satchat, Saturday November 8, 2014, 7:30 a.m. EST.

Search #satchat on Twitter for the full conversation.  Leave comments here if you need support in accessing this form of professional learning and we will guide you.


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Twitter Chats and TweetDeck

Digging Into Curation

Contributed by Donna Miller Fry

Here at  #OSSEMOOC we are often asked questions like, “How do you find time to blog?”, or  “How do I find good stuff online?”.

While sharing tools is one approach to answering that question, I like to think of all of these activities as part of the process of curation.

When you have a PLN with strong curation skills, navigating through the vast amount of information online becomes so much easier.  In fact, curation is an important skill for everyone.

Sue Waters (@suewaters) has very neatly and concisely explained the curation process.

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In this post, Sue takes us through the process of discovering and recording information that we need, organizing information, contextualizing, editing and making meaning and then sharing.

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She has also described the process in further detail on her personal blog.

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As you head into summer, consider how the suggestions in this post can help you make your own learning and sharing more effective and efficient.

How can we help our students develop better curation skills?



Is Linear the Right Approach?

Many of our conversations around eLearning in Ontario involve the idea of online course “content”.  As schools make plans for online learning next year, teachers want to know, “Is there a course?”.

Years ago, when I was teaching full time online, my principal often said, “We are not in the business of content delivery, we are in the business of learning!”.

In one conversation about content this year, a teacher said to me, “Well, wouldn’t you just have the students build their own content?”.

This article in my zite feed caught my attention this morning:

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As we think about how our students learn, how does it impact our thinking about what online learning should look like?

Shared by Donna Miller Fry (@fryed)

#OSSEMOOC 20140429: The Future of Learning

As we wrap up our focus on blogging and move into our focus on Digital Citizenship, we are inviting you to have a conversation with us on Tuesday evening around what learning will look like five years from now.  Where are we going in Ontario?

We initially held this conversation about a month ago as part of the stakeholder consultation process for eLearning Ontario as the group moves forward with their work in providing the tools  Ontario students need for technology-enabled learning.  Since then, the new vision document has helped inform some of what we are doing as we have a clearer impression of where Ontario is going.

The stakeholder consultation process closes on April 30, and we would like to offer OSSEMOOC participants one more opportunity to provide feedback. Please join us on Tuesday, April 29 at 8 p.m. EDT  [here] for a live discussion opportunity.  The online room opens at 7:30 for set up.  If you are new to collaborate, you will need some time to get set up, so feel free to start any time after7:30.

We value your input to this process.  Conversations about learning in the future have been very rich as we have moved around the province working with different stakeholder groups.  I know this will be a catalyst for further thinking about student needs in Ontario as we move from great to excellent!

If you are unable to join us, please use this form to provide input via this Feedback Form. Thank you for taking the time to help us make the most informed decisions possible around the tools our learners need to succeed.


Day 14: Words That Resonate – Inspiration from Google Summit 2014

Created and shared by Bea Meglio

Bea’s Piktochart can be viewed here: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/1671747-words-that-resonate

Screen shots of the graphic can be viewed below.

Please take the time to comment. Do you agree? Start the conversation!

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Bea Meglio, with over 25 years of classroom experience, is a passionate advocate for empowering teachers and students to always strive to reach their potential. Currently as an Education Officer with e-Learning Ontario, she works towards supporting digital opportunities for all learners.

Follow Bea on Twitter: @megliomedia

Day 10: Letting Learners Lead

Written and shared by Scott Monahan

I had to opportunity to take in Rolland Chidiac’s (@rchids), “Chromebooks in the Hands of Grade 2 Students” session at the Ontario Google Apps for Education Summit in Kitchener and what blew me away was the opportunities I’ve missed over the years to make use of the Drawings tool in Google Apps.  I sometimes struggle with finding an entry point for primary students and teachers in Google Drive (my go-to tool is usually Slides/Presentations) and I picked his session specifically to look for strategies to use with primary students and teachers.

What I learned from Rolland (and his students) is that, sometimes it’s best to let the students explore the tools and tell you what they’re good for.  As a starting point, Rolland gave his students 20 minutes to explore and create with Drawings and learn to use the tool.  What the students picked up on what that they could use the various tools, and shapes to create simple drawings to communicate their thoughts and ideas.  They’ve added text and used the sharing and collaboration features of Google Apps to give and get feedback on their work.

Before I saw Rolland’s students work, I saw Drawings as a somewhat rudimentary tool; a tool that you might use to create simple mind maps or embed images that you wanted to create mashups with.  Now, they’ve redefined my vision of how to use Drawings.  One of the best things about the tool: it’s accessible throughout all of Google Apps.

It was also great to see all of Rolland’s anchor charts in which (I think) Google Apps were not mentioned once.  His learning targets and success criteria were all anchored in the curriculum, and students had the freedom to choose the tools that worked for them to get the job done.

Rolland blogs at http://www.newfluencies.blogspot.ca/.

Scott Monahan

Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer




Day 9: The Power of Support in Sharing

What I Learned Today: The Power of Support in Sharing #OSSEMOOC

Written and Shared by Jaclyn Calder

Last week Donna Fry challenged us to share. Through this #OSSEMOOC post, she asked us to write a blog post about what we learned today.

The day that Donna sent out this challenge I had spent the day working with a TLLP team in my school around the next steps of our project. The first order of the day was to share what we had learned already. Each teacher wrote a blog post while we were all in the same physical room. For many of us, this was one of our first blog posts. Our goal was to share at least one good thing that had happened in our classroom as part of our journey towards 1:1 BYOD Blended Learning.

Teachers shared posts about the following classroom activities on our TLLP blog http://personalizinglearning.ca/.

What I learned from the process was the power of support in sharing. As we all sat together in the workroom and people learned how to work the blog platform, embed samples of student work and write up their learning in an engaging manner, teachers talked and chatted. Many felt that they didn’t have anything exciting to share, but once we started talking, others in the group jumped on board and started encouraging each other. Pointing out the great practices that were embedded in their classroom activities and how they may adapt the activities to fit other subject area and classes. Teachers even commented on each others blog posts. The atmosphere was amazing, supportive and critical.


What really resonated with me during the process was the importance of support (moral and technical) to start sharing. We talk about the importance of sharing the good things happening in our classrooms, and becoming connected educators – but how often do we embed the time and support to do the actual sharing as part of our professional development?

This morning of sharing and supporting one another has to be one of my favourite days working with colleagues.

You can find me  and my work online at:

Twitter: @jaccalder www.twitter.com/jaccalder

Skype: jacjaccalder


Photo Credit: Funchye via Compfight cc 

Day 8: Feeling Off-Balance is Okay

Written and shared by
Julie Balen

Last week, we were asked as a staff to once again articulate what technology needs we  have. Like many schools and school districts, we are working hard to upgrade our infrastructure and our hardware. This is necessary work, to be sure. But as I listened to the ‘wish list’ that teachers have, I reflected on how this conversation about tools did not stem from the need to change practice.

And maybe it can’t. Maybe the process of the integration of technology and shifting practice has to happen at the individual level.

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 Photo Credit: Mark Hunter via Compfight

I have a class set of Chromebooks, and the impetus for acquiring them was not pedagogical. In the fall of 2013, I was asked to teach grade 10 communications technology, and the Chromebooks were purchased to support that course. But I had them, so why not use them in all of my classes? This could be a bit of a pilot program, we (the principal and I) told ourselves. Let’s see how these devices work out in the non-tech classroom.

The Chromebooks worked marvelously.

I didn’t.

Sure, I knew how to use the machines and the apps. I knew how to set up student blogs and wikis. I knew how to organize documents and folders, to comment, and to share. What I didn’t know how to do was to integrate the devices into the teaching that I do.  Let me try that again. What I didn’t know was that I needed to see the curriculum (English) in a completely different way. What I didn’t know was that ‘changing my practice’ meant reconsidering every aspect of my practice from how I structured the course (traditionally thematically) to what essential skills I believed my students needed to have and how they would/could demonstrate them.

Here’s an example: Senior students need to demonstrate their ability to research, organize ideas, write, revise, format for publication, and cite sources appropriately. For many teachers, this translates into a research report or essay that is produced in Word or Google documents and that is printed or shared. Is that traditional research report/essay format still valid? Do I need to teach them how to produce their thinking in this manner because that’s the format required or expected in higher ed? Or can students research, curate, embed, link, write, and cite in a wiki? Or is the conversation really about choice?

This past February, I had a conversation with Steve Anderson (@Web20Classroom ) about content curation, in which I raised these same questions. His response? We need to understand that “there is no final solution when it comes to [student] learning.”

No final solution. No one way. No program. No script.

What I learn a bit more each day is to be okay with feeling off balance as I figure out what to hang on to from how I taught before and what to let go of. And this, I think, is not something that anyone else can do for me.

Julie Balen has worked for the Wikwemikong Board of Education on Manitoulin Island for the past 13 years, mostly as a high school English teacher, but also as a system-wide literacy coach.

Julie Balen

Blog: http://connectingtolearn.edublogs.org/

Twitter: @jacbalen

About Me: http://about.me/julie.balen