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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ironic Photo: Digital Democracy?

Does anyone else find it ironic that when I follow this link that I cite in my highly trafficked post Making the Case for Cell Phones in School that it would take us to the Center for Digital Democracy and a page that is now firewalled?

Tell Your Story of Global Collaboration

We are sending this message out through our networks, but want to make sure that all of you who are collaborating on a global basis have this invitation to share your story.  This is the email we're sending out today.

Consider this an invitation to tell your story!  Thank you!


Hi everyone!

We're so excited to be publishing a book with Pearson Publishing teaching how to connect classrooms on a global basis and we want your stories!

Please share your story of collaboration by emailing it to story@flatclassroombook.com!  If your story is selected, we will email you with a permission form and confirmation of the text selected for the book (whether it has been edited or not!)

Has global collaboration changed your view of the world? Improved some area of your life? Established friendships that you still maintain?

Was it a positive experience? Negative? What lesson did you learn from the project?

Please share -- we want to know!

Thank you everyone!

Also, if you'd rather tell your story below in the comments - feel free! That is fine too! (just make sure you put your email in disqus so I can contact you for permission.)

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/31/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Finding Hope

215/365 I hope you danceImage by kharied via Flickr
"H--o---oooooo---pe!  Where are you?"

I called as I looked in my desk drawer, under the manuscript sitting on my desk, between the books I'm studying to teach in a few weeks.

"Hope. Are you in there?"

As I looked in the kitchen sink, among the laundry around my recliner. 

I see a lot of work.  A lot of signs of life in these places, but no hope.

"Hope? Where have you gone?"

I said as I booted up my computer and searched the Internet. Maybe I should just stop looking for her.  I'm so tired and have been working so unbelievably hard this summer.

My shoulders sagged as I went to preplanning and worked through my days.  She wasn't here either.  Hope must be gone.

The bell rang and students filed into my room for the first day, looking me in the eye with eager anticipation. It was then that I saw her reflection in the pupils. The eyes of my students reflected her so that I was almost blinded like a spotlight cutting into midnight stargazing.

"Ahhhh. There you are, my friend, Hope. It is nice to find you again. I thought I'd lost you."

Commentary on Losing "Hope"
In the summer and as we work, we get rest but sometimes amidst all of the work, we as teachers feel something is missing. That spark of excitement-- something is just not there.

It is truly because we miss our students. Somehow the process of teaching and interacting with the minds of the Beautiful Generation is addictive to the point that I find myself feeling almost hopeless.Upset somehow.

And Finding Hope
But I know that once they enter my room. Once it starts again that everything will be back in place.

THEY are back.

All of the frustration, upsetness and yes, energy, vitality, greatness, and wonder of a generation of students who have captured my heart and imagination will be back in my life full force.

In some ways, I need a break from them and yet, I miss them terribly.

These upset feelings always end my summer like an exclamation point but I've found that in many ways I am upset from giving up days that are not governed by a bell but also nervous energy from starting another school year.

My list is huge, my mind is nervous, but I think that very soon, my heart will be ready.

Such mixed up thoughts that govern the teacher's heart. Such is the nobility of a profession that is oft misunderstood but truly noble in calling.

Remember your noble calling, Teacher!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/29/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do you have advice on a laptop for me in my classroom?

Photo of HP Tablet PC running MS Windows Table...Image via Wikipedia
Tomorrow is "b" day -- the day I have to buy the new laptop at school for me.  Yes, it has to last me another five years. The trusty Toshiba I got five years a go lasted until the backlight went out.  I don't have a lot in my budget for this, but here is what I'm looking at right now.

  • 64 bit Windows 7
  • 8 GB Ram
  • fingerprint reader
  • Media card reader
  • docking station (so I can hook to external monitor)
  • Adobe Suite
  • New MS Office
  • Pinnacle 12 (Man, I love that movie program.)
Ok, these are just some of the things and I looked at a Tablet PC but all of my machines HAVE to be able to edit video and the Tablets seem to have a lower power processor of some kind that has issues.

Now, those of you who read my blog know that I don't really ask for too much, but today, I'm asking.  Throw it at me -- give me advice. What advice would you give a geeky kind of teacher who doesn't have a ton of money ($1100-1200 probably not including adobe) but wants to be as current as possible and edit video.

And no, I cannot go with a Mac at school -- we're PC and that is the way it is going to be for now with our budget.

I'll tell you that the new multitouch has me fascinated as do touch screens.  Please, my friends and readers - I would so much appreciate if you took a moment to either share what you have, your regrets, your wishes, and what you'd get if you had the chance to buy a laptop today. (And please, no vendor bashing unless it is done in taste.)

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/28/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What is the most important thing you should be doing right now?

On-car camera test shot - dayImage by exfordy via Flickr
Taking time to focus on the most important thing, especially first thing on Monday morning is a great way to start the week. It is a gift to yourself for the rest of the week.

So, since Julie and I have four more chapters of our book on Global collaborative projects due Friday, I'm focusing on the main thing today -- WRITING.

What is the most important thing you SHOULD be working on right now? Stop what you're doing (you're in your RSS reader) and DO IT.

OK, I'm listening to myself and getting back to the book -- Bye now, Friends!
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/25/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

12 Healthy Habits to Grow Your Online Presence and Keep Balance in Your Life

"It's like I'm living someone else's life..."

A Little Reflection before Getting Down to Business
This just came on my Pandora radio station as I'm doing my monthly "file maintenance" and moving pages around. (See my Facebook posts on technology productivity for more on this.)  When I came to my presentations folder, I saw a journey. A journey of people and faces and places.  Those who gave me chances early on and things applied for - not knowing any better, I guess.

So, here's a mini trip that shows you how people network and connect and improve their lives.

Here's my screenshot journey of presentations.

Bringing us to 2010.  So, I have some people to thank. My husband says in many ways I'm like an elephant... (Oh dear, he's not talking about weight!)  I remember.  And I think it is important for all of us to remember those who have helped us on our life journey. Who believed in us when no one else did? Who gave us chances? Who gave us advice?  Remember the people who said "no" - learn from it.  And remember and treasure those who said "yes." And really, the presentations list is only part of the story.

In November 2005 I created my RSS reader and committed to "study" this new Internet at least 15 minutes three times a week during my break. (Now I read about 4-5 hours "in field" mostly on my Kindle.) In November 2005 I started a wiki.

In December 2005, I started blogging here at Cool Cat Teacher. Adam Frey and the people at wikispaces recognized my school wiki as a "Wikispace of the month" in December 2005.  Mike Hetherington (now at http://mhetherington.net/blogs/) was my first commenter and linked to me on his blog and Darren Kuropatwa followed that link and was my second commenter.  But if you look at December 2005, I really didn't get many comments! (Beginners, just write write write!)  However, some early links from uber-bloggers Stephen Downes and David Warlick pointed many of you to this blog in the first place during that December and January.

In early 2006, I was talking to Stewart Mader for his case studies on the uses of wikis but really spent that first year learning, blogging, commenting on other blogs and "getting my feet wet."  In October 2006, I started on an amazing two year journey with Jennifer Wagner, Sharon Peters, and Cheryl Oakes with the Women of Web 2.0 -- which is still going strong as Women of Web 3 under Sharon Peters leadership (though she is moving to Africa!)

Submitted to present at the first K12 online conference and proposed that we do a global collaborative wiki project between those educators who were willing and interested! I was so appreciative that a part of my presentation, we were allowed to do this incredible project which you can still see at http://k12wiki.wikispaces.com. It was amazing and that was where Julie Lindsay and I cross paths. In mid October, Julie Lindsay and I began co-planning and creating the Flat Classroom projects.

I did a wiki workshop to a packed house at my state conference in November 2006 and Anne Davis, someone I admire very much came to the workshop. Meanwhile, my good friend Gwen Solomon brought me up to Chicago to speak at a Tech Forum in 2007 and then it began moving very quickly and ACTEM in Maine (October 2007) was my first state conference. All these presentations represent hours of practicing in hotel mirrors and rehearsing for my husband! (If you want to do something very well -- practice well!) So many friends and readers and others began joining in. Now, my head spins.

I sincerely hope that I've helped as many as have helped me. There are too many to name. For really, the story of so many teachers is like mine -- we joined in and began sharing and those who shared back far exceeded what we gave. So, I thought I would codify some of the lessons I've learned.

Healthy Habits to Grow Your Online Presence and Keep Balance Your Life
What we measured out has been measured back to us ten fold. So, this is the message you to, the teacher from this mini trip down memory lane:

1- Share.
It is OK. There are ways to do it safely and protecting your job and the privacy of students.

2 - Respond.
As much as it kills you check your email and respond. Everyone deserves the dignity of a response EXCEPT spammers and email -bots and even those can sometimes bring good information.

3 - Comment
Don't be stingy with the conversation - it doesn't belong to you and on your blog. Go out there and comment and share and not just for self promotion but to encourage.  Try to find beginners and COMMENT. Try to be that first or second commenter -- many will remember you but don't do it for that reason. Do it because it creates the ultimate teachable moment.

So few people take the time to converse. I read once that only about 20% of people on the Internet comment. When you comment you are "voting" - you're telling the writer - "I like this - I want to read more about it." You're correcting things and teaching the blogger. Converse and share.

4-Link Generously
Links are some of the best, kindest compliments you can give to those you like. If you like them, link them. It brings all of us up and helps education move up in rankings for search engines. There is power in numbers and as we link to one another - we elevate the status of legitimate practitioners who are doing this.

5 - Read (or Listen) Prolifically
I probably read 5 times more than I write.  Have you heard that old saying that you have two ears so you can listen twice as much as you speak. You may not be a reader - if so, listen on your ipod or online. But the point is to listen and learn from others. Few of us are so very brilliant that the world hangs upon our every word. ;-)

6- Distribute yourself
Go where people are -- Facebook, Twitter, Plurk - do whatever suits you. Try to link those accounts by using things like Twitterfeed and Hootsuite to make it simple to manage. But it is OK to have multiple places to share. I do try to have a "vision" for what I'll do in each space just to simplify it.

7 -  Beware of Flattery
Probably the worst period of time for me in all of this was when I began believing my own press.  When you believe your own press you can become arrogant and there is a lot of flattery that runs around. I don't think that we mean to do it to each other, but when we go to conferences and we call each other a "rock star" or "superstar" or whatever we are not painting a picture of reality.  I hate to tell you but none of us in educational blogging are rock stars -- I don't see our CD's at Walmart nor I books (yet) on the New York Times Best Seller List.  Yes, there are some tremendously amazing people that work in educational technology but when we become proud we become useless.  Show me an arrogant technologist and I'll show you someone who has stopped listening to people and won't stay relevant for long.

Some people bemoan the fact "no one knows who I am here," "no one recognizes my work here."  I say "Good, maybe you can do something then."  A huge ego is a boat anchor to overcome. There is a difference between arrogance and self confidence.  I will fight for opportunities to share because I think I can contribute to the conversation, but I will never think I am the conversation.

Beware -- and just take flattery with a grain of salt. Enjoy and laugh and meet with your friends.

8- Life Life Online AND Off-line
Part of my weight gain has been sitting in front of this computer too much. My children need me and they won't be here forever. These children will remember me as long as they live. When I pass on, most people online will never know I was here.

So, yes, it is great to live part of your life online - you can make friends and most of my best friends I have met online.  But never ever let it take you away from your family. Spent time off-line and go totally OTG (off the grid) sometimes!  Even go OTG with your online friends.  Sometimes when I go to conferences and we all huddle up and I see everyone with a laptop on their lap just writing away, I look at the eyes on the screen and wonder --

"What on earth are we missing? We're here with people we've wanted to meet forever and all we can do is tell the other people that we have wanted to meet forever that we're meeting and WE'RE NOT EVEN MEETING!"
If we talk about how great technology can improve your life and we're all fat and friendless then our message isn't going to get further than other people's ear drums.  Use technology (Like couch to 5K) to get fit. Live deeply and drink deep of your online and off-line relationships!

9 - Latch Key Your Legacy
I have a folder locked in the safety deposit box -- "Vicki's Online Identities" - it has my usernames and passwords so that my family can "get in here" when I'm gone. It is handwritten.

Some of us have literally created blogs that may live several generations or more. These are legacies to hand down to our families. Make copies of your work by using online back up programs (see my facebook page again) and backups of your blog. One day your great great grandchild may have a question and may literally be able to read what grandma said at that same phase in her life.  Maybe not.  But maybe. Don't let the bits just evaporate - our bodies may rot, but our digital footprint doesn't have to be washed away in the tides of time if we archive it for posterity.

10 - Laugh (a lot)
Some funny experiences happen on Twitter, in our classrooms and all around us.  Life is too short to be serious all of the time. When I was in my twenties, people used to tell me "you never leave work - we just want to relax sometimes" and I didn't get it. Work has ALWAYS Been my hobby. I can't help it, it is how I'm made. But sometimes people don't want to talk about deep stuff - they want to laugh. It is OK to do that. I like to scan for inspirational and funny videos through youtube sometimes just to crack a grin.

11 - Take Every Presentation Seriously
As important as it is to laugh, every presentation is a doorway to an opportunity. If you have two in the audience (you and them) there is an opportunity for you in the future. Whether it is an online presentation or face to face -- do not, I repeat, do not look at how many people are in the audience. You make your presentation world class and you'll be able to present more (if that is what you want to do.) Hone your slides - make them great (NOT too noisy.) Read Presentation Zen.

Rehearse and practice in the mirror the night before. Rehearse your timings.  Check out the room the day before if possible, if not, be there RIDICULOUSLY early. Know your audience. Take time to get to know the people putting on the conference. Work hard to tell their story as part of your story. It isn't all about you -- sure they've come to you to learn what you have to offer, but at the end of the day, it is about how THEY feel at the end of the presentation.

Do they have simple take-always that will empower them to action? Do they feel respected by you? Honor those you present for with your very best and you'll receive it back.

12 - Expect Criticism
When on vacation or OTG, I don't check email. Why let a stranger ruin my day?  It is a tough world out there right now and negativism and frustration are rampant in education. It is heartbreaking - many great people have had the vine of bitterness choke their heart for teaching and if you're going to work with educators you have to know this.  When I see someone angry, often they aren't really angry with me but at the situation in their life and something I said ticks them off.

Sometimes they DON'T WANT to learn what you have to say and are angry because someone made them come to hear you!  Often it isn't about you.  So, when I read criticisms, I take it, make notes for improving my presentation and if there is anything personal - I just say "duck back" and let it roll off. (Like water off a duck's back.)

My Dad says if you're doing anything worth doing that people will criticize you. The only people that aren't criticized are those who do nothing. Criticism is part of life - don't take it seriously and remember that often it isn't about you at all.

You set the tone for your blog. If you flame and post when you're angry you will use poor word choice. If you attack personally, you will have that reflected back at you.  For me, I want my blog to be a place where we discuss issues openly and up front but that everyone is treated with respect. The only comments that don't make it through are those from spammers. I published a death threat for goodness sakes (which I think was a teenager for teaching his parents how to use parental controls on xbox 360. ;-)

In Conclusion
Many are the lessons I've learned on my own journey. Please share yours!

Well, I didn't mean to blog at such length, but please feel free to share the healthy habits to grow your online presence and keep balance in the comments! Thank you for always teaching me with your quotations and insights. You are indeed a huge part of the story of my own life! Thank you for reading Cool Cat Teacher!

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/24/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Collecting "Hot" Jokes on Twitter

Last night it felt like an oven in Camilla. Over 100 degrees, the humidity made it feel like you were roasting!

So, I tweeted out:

coolcatteacher It is so unbelievably hot in camilla, Georgia. How hot is it? It is so hot that ____( retweets to those who fill in blank best! :-)

And there were such great answers, I thought I'd share them for a little humor on Friday afternoon.

They were all so great, they all deserved a retweet!

So, what is so "hot" about this.
Oh, we're all sick of those "I really love Twitter" posts -- the connecting, linking up, all of that.  But one of the greatest things about Twitter to me is the impromptu, unorchestrated moments that just pop out and brighten my day.

I remember when I first started using Twitter and my grandmother passed away. I had friends from around the world Tweeting me their thoughts and kindnesses. I turned on my dm on my cell phone just to get them. It was such a comfort.

And this moment, I came in from running 5 kilometers this morning at school and walked to see the ladies who work in the learning lab where my son was studying and opened up twitter and started guffawing. I went to their desk and read them "hot" jokes. They asked where I got them, I said -- "Oh, I just tweeted out a request for hot jokes on Twitter and my friends around the world shared them."

This sort of thing only happens when you follow quite a few people -- not just spammy types but real conversationalists. 

Now, I'm not saying to get on Twitter because the jokes are great, but really, so you can understand what it is about. Some people follow twenty or thirty - really, I didn't understand Twitter until I followed 100 people or so.  Again, not really the "celebrities" who don't have time to chat, but the conversationalists who live interesting lives just like regular old people. 

It is just a fun place to be sometimes. And even when I'm not having fun (like at Granny's funeral) it also connects me to my "friends" around the world who can help me see my world a little differently.

Twitter is just..... hot... in my book. (After all these years. ;-))
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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/23/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/22/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To do or not to do: both are something to consider

There is a moment between thought and action. It is good to ponder, to research, to think. And yet, we reach a point where it is time to put those things behind us and act. To do.

For truthfully, to decide not to act is also a decision to do something.

It is a decision to do nothing.

What are you pondering today that requires action? People fear action for it means accountability and surely, none of us is perfect. And yet, I can think of nothing worse than a person watching a drowning child and doing nothing. Yet, we all see things before us that require our action.

Decide to do something. Doing nothing is also doing something and to do nothing is to refuse accountability and responsibility for something that is yours to act upon.

What will you do?

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/21/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Buggy whips, railroads, and paper textbooks

Image representing Amazon Kindle as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase
We're really seeing the rise of the niche bloggers in education.  Those people who know how to do a specific task and do it very well.  Such is the blog, Edukindle - my "go to" place for anything about using the Amazon Kindle in Schools.

The EduKindle Blog
I point this out, because the three most recent posts are well worth reading:

After reading these posts, it is very obvious how extremely messy it is to get Kindles (or any ereader) in the hands of our students.  You might say,

"But who will go to all that trouble?"

The answer is:   

Leaders, that's who.
This is the messy side of innovation -- the front end where everything isn't worked out quite yet.  Where we have to communicate, innovate, and try to tame order of a process meant for consumers that is being adapted for education.  Listen in on this conversation trying to keep the Kindles in sequential order between Kathy Parker at Seneca Middle School (their whole 8th grade is getting kindles) and a helper:

"Kathy: I’m ready for more Kindles!
Helper: What number are you on?
Kathy: 54.
Helper: You have Kindle 54 or you need Kindle 54?
Kathy: I need Kindle 54.
Helper: Ok, who has Kindle 54?
Helper 2: I think its on the table by the door.
Helper: No, this says Kindle 78.
Helper 2: Maybe it’s in the server room.
Helper: I’ll look.
You get the picture. Registering the Kindle that has the number 55 on its back in the 54th position, a misstep with grave consequences if not noticed immediately, is to be avoided at all costs. So an orderly exchange of Kindles is essential at the moment of registration."

This is messy, annoying,and tiresome. But it is also leadership at its messy, lonely, problem solving best.  Her eighth grade class is now touting that they are the "first Kindle eighth graders."

eBook Evolution: The Beginning of a Revolution?
Publishers haven't caught up. In truth ebook companies haven't caught up with what is about to happen. But the ebook revolution is going to happen in education and happen very quickly.  In fact, Amazon recently announced that for the second quarter of 2010, they sold 143 ebooks for every 100 hardcover books sold. This is just the beginning with ebooks still less than 1% of books sold.

I talked to an IT director of a major school district in Florida at ISTE this year who told me that they are going to ebooks.  He said something like this,

"I cannot get the book publishers to understand what we want, however, we will find what we want, and when we do, it will impact all of our textbook purchases."

In this case, the medium is going to drive schools in massive numbers to different companies if their company doesn't have an option. Textbook companies and some that may be very small are going to see a major shake up over ebooks unless they determine how they are going to price and deliver textbooks.

What Will Pricing Look Like?
Many schools seem to want a subscription based model where the book is delivered and updated each year as it is passed down. Also, they'd really like to let the year's previous textbook -- now just a reference stay on the student's e reader as a resource.

Today's pricing model for textbooks is entirely unsuitable for ebook pricing.

Buggy whips, railroads, and paper textbooks.
Textbook companies are going to be faced with cutting their own throats or having someone else do it.  Schools preach being environmentally conscious and throw away textbooks frequently. It is a total waste and the epitome of hypocrisy! (See the science book talking about protecting the environment on the top of a trash heap flipping over to a page about cutting down on the use of paper -- sounds like an opening scene for a Flat Classroom Project movie! ;-) ) Paper in most cases seems to be a waste!

Not just content deliver...network delivery
Messy or not, educators are ready to use ebooks. I don't know who is going to win the battle in ebook readers.  Probably the bigger question is who is going to win the battle on content delivery.  For, we not only want content delivered but we also want to join networks. Publishing companies should be clearinghouses of connections between students and schools as well as clearinghouses of best practices and content.

To me, Kathy Parker, slaving away at Seneca Middle School is a sign of things to come and things that will come very quickly.

And there are some major players: Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos as well as the folks at Barnes and Nobles as well as every textbook publisher out there -- people that need to note the flicker of opportunity that presents it self. Such opportunities are often brief and often are the hinges upon which corporate destinies turn.

Ready to Move
As for us educators, we're looking, we're ready to move.  A decision that has already been made for a product delivery system that hasn't been worked out.

And for those who don't realize that their Information Technology department is about to be at the helm of most of the content delivery mechanisms of your school, I'd take a second look at the relationships that you're building with your IT department. They are definitely partners in the future of every school.

Did you know you can now get Cool Cat Teacher on your Kindle?

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 07/20/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cool Cat Teacher on Facebook: How it will be used, what it is for?

Reach: Building Communities and Networks for Professional DevelopmentSince reading Jeff Utecht's book, Reach, I've thought quite a bit about how I'm "doing" Facebook and am making some changes as I do summer "social media cleaning."

1) I made a Facebook Page.

I've made an official page for Cool Cat Teacher. Pages are different from profile pages in that they represent an organization or person or "entity" like "Cool Cat Teacher." They are, by definition, linked to my profile, but not to all of my friends.  This would be how someone really famous would use facebook to talk to "fans" but have a smaller group of personal friends behind the scenes on their profile.
Cool Cat Teacher

Promote Your Page Too

2) How will the page be different from my Facebook profile, this blog, or Twitter?
This page will not be repurposing the content on this blog or just sharing my tweets. Right now, those go onto my personal page, but that may change as well.

After studying some others and their use of Facebook, I think it is a fundamentally different tool than this blog. I plan to post "challenges" and ideas for improving how you use and understand technology and invite conversation. The great thing is that we don't have to be "friends."

Not that I don't want to or you don't want to, but I've found it very hard to manage the personal aspect of Facebook with the growing blog here. You probably feel the same way about me.

There are things I want to share on facebook that won't appeal to the people in my personal network and vice versa.

3) How do you follow?

Click the link above and log into facebook, that is it. Content will go onto your home feed on Facebook.

So, if you follow this blog and you're on facebook, this new Facebook page is for you. I'll share challenges and respond to your comments on facebook there.  After the transition, I may begin contacting "friends" who may be more suited to be interested in the educational aspects of my life to move to the other page from my profile. (I mean you don't want to know EVERYTHING about me, I don't think I'm that interesting.)

This is also what Jeff recommends in his book that you do for your students. Create a page like this in order to make this happen.

4) Why this is a good practice for teachers.
Now, finding how to make a page was a BEAR. I had to go to the help at the bottom right of facebook and click on "Make a page for a business or organization."  I do plan to make a "Teacher page" for my students to follow. It will have a different purpose.

Fundamentally, teachers should keep their Friends and students separate for many reasons, most importantly in the US, if you want to keep your job. (As if we become a distraction, we can be fired!)

5) How will I manage all of this?
I use Hootsuite for Twitter, Foursquare, and yes, Facebook pages and my facebook profile.  One interface, one place - it makes it very simple. It also lets me schedule things - particularly if I'm in an "overtweeting" mode - which sometimes I do tend to do!

Also, Julie, Kim and I can all post for the Twitter accounts for @flatclassroom @digiteen @eracismproject and @netgened.

I look forward to a different type of writing on Facebook - a smaller, more concise, daily challenge sort of style. Surely it will evolve as I learn what helps you most, but I hope you'll drop by and comment. This is a new thing for me!

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