On day 4, I've learned how to use various online tools that I hadn't been made familiar with previously. These tools include Diigo, Google Reader, and Flipboard. With the use of these tools, we can become more connected as learners to help prepare our students for the 21st century.
I began with Diigo, which is an interactive research tool that takes bookmarking webpages to an entirely new, advanced level. It's incredible, and my initial reaction was great disappointment that it hadn't been around during my undergraduate and graduate school days! I would have loved it. I found it to be much more user-friendly with my laptop and had issues using it with my iPad despite downloading several of the recommended apps. Using my laptop, I explored some of the Diigo tools and tried to familiarize myself with it as much as possible. I am planning on doing a few research projects with my Bio kids this year, and would like to have them use Diigo. If there are any AHS teachers reading this blog post that have used Diigo, I would love some feedback on its usefulness and user-friendliness with the students. I don't want to overwhelm them with technology tools, but find this one incredibly purposeful. Diigo is definitely something that will help them across various academic disciplines and levels.
Google Reader is also a new tool for me. You can use it to follow any webpage or blog that you would like to keep udpated with. However, with most blogs I follow, I already receive email notifications letting me know if there are any updates to the blog. I do like it as a means to filter out all of the information that is available on the web. Through Google Reader, you can focus on a few meaningful, specific sources that are updated recently. There is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming. Google Reader helps to diminish that.
The last tool, Flipboard, is amazing! I was able to download it to my iPad with no problem. You can chose any news that you would like to follow, and literally flip through it like a magazine. Plus, it syncs up with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader with ease. It will be a great tool to get current science news, world news, and running news (my side job :-) ). I am excited to play away with it!
I didn't experience any "frustrations" necessarily, but all of these tools are going to take practice to become totally comfortable with them. That means I will need to use them regularly to be truly connected and gain the most from all that they have to offer. This is just one step forward in my quest to best prepare my students to become learners in the 21st century!