Some Cool Education Chats on Twitter

conversations or live chats on Twitter take place when people post
comments that include keywords with “hashtags” (#). Hashtags mark
the post as belonging to a specific topic or conversation.
 Hashtags also make it easy to see the full conversation on a
particular topic: Just type the keyword into the search box at the
top of your Twitter screen.

#edchat – This is the Grand Daddy of
them all in education.  The place to be if you want to keep up
to date with what is going on globally in the field and to
strengthen your PLN


#engchat – #engchat is a network
of English teachers connecting with one another via Twitter to
share ideas, resources and inspiration.  This conversation
happens every Monday at 7 PM EST.  To join, search for the
hashtag, #engchat in twitter or use a tool such as TweetChat to help
you follow the discussion.  Each week, a guest moderator
shares a new idea, perspective or vision of what it means to be an
English teacher.

LitChat logo

#litchat –
#litchat is a fun, fast, and
friendly way for book lovers to talk about books on Twitter. We
chat on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4-5 pm (est). Read the
LitChat blog to see what we are chatting about each week.

#musedchat – #MusEdChat is a
weekly chat on Twitter that is centered around discussion of topics
significant to music educators. Participants submit topic ideas,
vote on the topic each week, and then get together one evening each
week to discuss their thoughts on the topic using Twitter.
Afterwards, the chat transcripts are recorded and posted so those
that weren’t there can read what others said, and so those
that were there can catch up on what
they may have not noticed. Chats will occur on Mondays at 8 pm

#mathchat – The idea of #mathchat
is to hold a Twitter discussion similar in style to #edchat, which
takes place on a Tuesday. The aim is to provide a forum for anyone
involved with Mathematics – whether as an educator, a student or an
interested party – to discuss and share ideas about issues
affecting them at this particular time.

#scichat – #scichat is a live
weekly get-together on Twitter where a planet-wide community of
teachers of science share their thoughts and experiences. It is a
place where we can discuss science education in the classroom, and
the state of science education at the school district, state, and
national levels. It is also a place where we can share thoughts on
how we best foster a scientifically literate public enabled to
make informed decisions on science and technology issues that
affect the entire planet, inspire and engage the next generation of
scientists and engineers, and prepare our students for the
high technology job market of the 21st century.  Tuesday
evenings at 8:30-9:30 pm Eastern Time (1:30-2:30 am

#sschat – SSChat is a weekly
discussion for Social Studies teachers. The discussion takes place
on Monday night at 7pm EST. Each week
there is a poll where anyone can vote for the upcoming discussion


10 Australian Tweeters To Help Globalize Your PLN

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912)

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following is a list of Australian Educators to make your PLN global.

1. Martin Douglamas – Moodle founder and lead developer, dad, educator, Minecrafter, and internet tech explorer.  These days he is best known as the guy who started Moodle, the open source course management system that is used by thousands of institutions around the world. Most of the information about that is all at and, except for his writings at which talk about the early research that led to Moodle being created.

2. Stephen Harris – Stephen is passionate about innovative learning. He is the Founding Director SCIL -Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning.  Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning actively promotes excellence in education by providing new learning opportunities for students and future-focused Professional Development for teachers. Established as the research and innovation unit of Northern Beaches Christian School (Sydney, Australia), SCIL runs a range of programs and research projects that seek to transform educational thinking and practice both at NBCS and in the wider educational community. Stephen blogs at

3. Steven Schwartz – Former Vice Chancellor (President) of 3 universities in Australia & UK, journalist for Australian Financial Review. Professor Schwartz is a psychologist and a university corporate manager by experience. He has publicly stated that he wishes universities to be more market-oriented, research-focused, accountable, transparent and held to higher standards, in the hope of improving the institutions’ profiles and attracting more students, funding and researchers.His blog can be found at

4. Michael Graffin – Michael is a relief (substitute) Teacher, Photographer,@learnaustalia Representative, & #globalclassroom Project Co-founder.  He is passionately interested in literacy education, with a focus on teaching his students how to communicate, share ideas, and collaborate with authentic global audiences through the use of Web 2.0 technologies (and literacy practices).  Michael is a reflective edublogger; and regularly correspond and collaborate with his global PLN which includes educators, experts, and school leaders around the world.  He blogs at

5. Cameron Paterson –  Cameron is a learning & teaching leader. Constructively disrupting class. Grades and exams are overemphasised. Confusion and play are how people learn. Less us, more them.  These are his philosophies.  Cameron’s blog can be found at

6. Tomaz Lasic – Father, friend, teacher, PhD candidate, moodler, runner (??), water polo goalie, endless ‘to do’ list, (un)helpfully tall, fascinated by and bad at many things is how Tomaz describes himself.  He is the author of “Human” and say’s he is I eternally interested in “why things happen (in education) the way they do?” I tinker with ICT, particularly with Moodle, Twitter and Web2.0. Tomaz blogs at

7. Sue Waters– Sue passion is helping others with technology and blogs in the classroom. She writes support material for BuddyPress, WordPress Multi-site for & WPMU DEV.  Her passion is the use of technology to enhance student learning. Her technology use has changed considerably since she was first introduced to it’s potential in 2000; from a LMS (WebCT) to Virtual Classrooms (Elluminate), mobile technologies (spyglasses, PDAs, iPods) and Web 2.0 (blogs, wikis etc). This passion has lead to her transition from aquaculture lecturer, to facilitating professional development workshops on elearning and web 2.0 technologies to her current role working for Edublog as Edublogs Support Manager. Her blog can be found at

8. Julian Riddlen – Moodleman (AKA Julian Ridden) has two occupations. Until recently was the IT Knowledge Services Manager for an independent private boys school in Sydney, Australia. He has finally found a way of turning his hobby into a career by joining the Australian Moodle Partner. Julian has more than 12 years experience in education (specifically in online e-learning) with a wide range of both corporate clients and educational institutions as well as experience in project management, systems implementation, networking, support and training. His blog The Moodleman Blog can be found  at

9.  Judy O’Connell – Judy is an educator, learner, blogger, librarian, technology girl, author and consultant.  Writing, speaking and consulting on school technology and library issues.  As an educator and information professional she is fascinated by emerging technologies, innovation with Web 2.0, and what it all means for schools and school libraries. Her blog can be found at

10. John Larkin – John is into teaching & professional development.  He believes in a commonsense approach to ed-tech.  John Larkin is an educator with an international profile due to his innovative application of 21st century technologies within education both in Australia and overseas. He has a rich experience in the development and application of educational technologies in primary, secondary, tertiary and corporate educational fields. John is presently exploring how cloud computing and the “Internet of Things” can be applied to augment teaching and learning in his own classroom via the use of mobile technologies.  He blog’s at

5 Bammy Award Finalists Who Need To Be In Your PLN

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Diane Ravitch –    Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education.  She shares a blog called Bridging Differences with Deborah Meier, hosted by Education Week. She also blogs for and the Huffington Post. Her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines.  From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards. For more on her amazing career go to 

Reecca Mieliwocki –  Mieliwocki has been teaching for 13 years, including nine years at Burbank Middle School, where she teaches general education and Gifted and Talented Education classes. She is faculty chair and serves on the school leadership team. Her lessons are infused with a wide array of technical tools that, as her principal says, “brings lessons to life.” Superintendent Torlakson: “Mrs. Mieliwocki is an innovative, creative teacher with boundless energy and an enthusiastic spirit that spreads through each class and each student. Her phenomenal approach toward teaching and her unshakable faith in the potential of her students, led me to nominate her for the national Teacher of the Year title.”If I accomplish anything with my students, I am proud to say it’s that when they leave my classroom, they are better people than when they walked through my door.”

—Rebecca Mieliwocki, from her 2012 California Teachers of the Year application

Larry Ferlazzo –   Larry teaches Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced English Language Learners (as well as native English speakers) at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.  After spending nineteen years working as a community organizer he has taught high school for the last nine years. In addition to writing his blog and maintaining his website, Larry also has another blog titled Engaging Parents In School.  He also writes regularly for the In Practice  blog.  “In Practice” is written by a group of teachers from around the world who teach in low-income communities and was started by Alice Mercer in 2007.

Josh Stumpenhorst –   Josh is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Science teacher in suburban Chicago, IL.  In his spare time he is the schools basketball coach, computer club advisor, and aspiring Jedi.  John has stated “I consider myself fairly competent in digital media and technology integration. Please read and share anything you find useful and I am always looking for ways to engage and connect my students to the best learning opportunities available. I am never happy with my work and am always finding ways to make it better for me and better for my students. The day I settle or am content is the day I need to step away. Until then, I will advocate for my students and push them to be the best they can be.”  May the force be with him and these are not the droids you are looking for.

Alvin Davis – As a 21st Century educator, Alvin believes it is his duty and obligation to be wholeheartedly committed to the entire educational welfare of a pupil. He believes in reinforcing the basic skills learned in other classes, not only to achieve in the classroom, but in life.  “We forget sometimes as educators we are preparing generations not to just appreciate and imbibe a liberal art, but learn how to live and be successful in whatever becomes their chosen profession.  There is nothing more honorable than educating the leaders of tomorrow. We are servants to society; and with that great responsibility we must not fail”.

Lore: A Review


If you are hesitant to use Facebook with your students’ there is an amazing alternative in Lore.  I am currently working in a district that has a dedicated Facebook Page and Twitter Account yet has access to both blocked on all campuses.  While this seems hypocritical, if I wanted to integrate social media into the classroom an alternative was needed. While surfing for an answer I stumbled upon LORE.

LORE has allowed me to communicate with parents and students’ as well as post links to my blog and class website.  I can let them know when an important event or assignment is on the horizon and can even securely post grades.  It has proven invaluable in communicating with students who have questions but are not yet comfortable asking them in class.  I can provide immediate feedback and assurance when they are stuck on a problem or project allowing them to move beyond the frustration of not being able to find an answer.

“Lore is a community of curious people, spanning every discipline, campus, country, and age. It’s a platform for learning: a new venue for education that allows you to explore.”

This is the mission at Lore. They aspire to compliment existing education, and push into the future.  In my opinion they have succeeded.

Ideas For The First Day’s of School – A Resource

Everyone has their own unique way to start the school year but as I was told on my first day as a teacher some of the best ideas are ones you “borrow” from others with more experience.  My first thought was are you sure it’s OK yo use someone else’s ideas?  Well it turns out that as long as you give credit where credit is due the person you “borrowed” from will be nothing but flattered.  With that in mind here are some ways that teachers across the country are starting their first days of school.

Class-Created Puzzles:  Using a large piece of tagboard, I draw as many puzzle pieces as I have students, plus one for myself. I number them on the back and cut them out. I have students decorate their pieces with their names, pictures, and words. We share these as a group and then reassemble the puzzle on a bulletin board to symbolize the importance of each individual’s contribution to the class as a whole. Ellaine Barthelemy, Apple Valley, MN

“I CAN’T” Funeral:  A great first day activity is the “I Can’t Funeral”. Distribute a small piece of paper to each student for them to write at least one thing they think they cannot do academically. Such as “I can’t do word problems,” or “I can’t read well.” Collect the papers, place them in a shoe box or paper bag, and bury it in the school yard. Or bury it away somewhere in your school or classroom to pull out at the end of the year. Have a simple service with appropriate words such as “Today, we bury our can’ts. We will miss them terribly but we will learn to live without them”.  Nadine Poper

True or False:  This activity is always fun, and we all learn something interesting about one another! I start. I write four facts about myself on an overhead transparency. Three of the facts are true, and one is false. Students take my little true-false test. Then I survey students to learn the results. We go back over each question to see what they thought about each statement. That gives me a chance to tell a little about me. Then, on a sheet of paper, students write three interesting facts about themselves that are true and one that is false. Throughout the day, I ask a few students to try to stump the rest of us.
Tony Stuart, grades 4 and 5, Lanark, Ontario, Canada                                                                                                                                      

Let’s Hear It!  I believe students are more interested in school when they have a hand in their own learning. I ask my sophomores to write a few paragraphs explaining what they would like to get out of my American government class. If they could teach the class themselves, how would they make it more interesting and what would they avoid doing?  Patty McKenna, The Benjamin School; North Palm Beach, Florida

Jump Into Science:  This activity is intended to get high school science students thinking about the scientific process — what is the issue or problem, what do we know, what do we need to know. etc. — and to assess what areas of the curriculum are familiar to them. Issue texts, group students, and provide the following activity: Invite students to scan the first chapter of their text — or the Table of Contents, which introduces major areas typically covered in the course. As a group, select a topic or related issue. Is this a controversial issue? That is, is there an ongoing debate related to it? Identify what you as a group know about this topic or issue. Determine what facts or information you as a group would like to know about this topic or issue. How would you go about answering the questions that you have just raised? Discuss in what way(s) this issue is relevant to you? After about 20 minutes, I stop the discussion and invite each group to share its responses.   Alan Sills, West Essex Regional High School; North Caldwell, New Jersey


10 Educators To Help You Make This A Great Year

twitter logo map 09

twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

No one can get through the rigors of a school year alone.  All educators, no matter how experienced, can use all the help they can get to make this year the best it can be for our students.  The list below while in no way all inclusive are educators who can make your year more productive. A portion of their bio has been integrated into this post.

1. Ian M. Adair (@IanMAdair):  If you a teacher one problem we all have is raising funds.  Ian is an educator and non-profit expert who can help you do just that.  Connecting Educators and  Nonprofits with effective fundraising, marketing, and recruitment strategies this former teacher and  nonprofit CEO can provide you with the tools to fund creativity. Follow Ian to lesson your class’s finance worries.

2. Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1):  We all need resources throughout the year and a great one stop shop is @cybraryman1.  Jerry is an educator and writer trying to catalog the internet for students, educators and parents. If you can’t find a resource  you probably have not checked out his site.  Don’t reinvent the wheel let Jerry give you a hand.

3. Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers):  Someone in the field of education who knows that all of us matter and contribute in our own way is Angela Maiers.  She firmly believes that 2words, you matter, can change the world .   As an educator, author, and speaker passionate about literacy, learning, and the power of social media she can teach and inspire so that you can make every day matter. If there is a short list  of educators you must follow it contains Angela. So ChooseToMatter.

4. Erin Klein (@KleinErin):  Erin is an educator with a background in business. She is an Ed-Tech Blogger, SMART Exemplary Educator and guest blogger on Edutopia.  Her blog Kleinspiration is recognized as one of the most informative and creative you can find.  She states “I value the importance of technology integration and global preparation into the learning environment.  Being an involved person, I streamline my creative teaching ideas into project-based applications that enhance the academic standards. ” Follow Erin and get Kleinspired.

5. Shelly S. Terrell (@ShellTerrell):  Shelly  is an education thought-provoker and author of The 30 Goals Challenge. She is an  International Speaker, EdChat founder, and host of AM TESOL Free Fri Webinars.  The New York Times learning blog has included her on its list of the top 78 educators to follow on Twitter and she has been included on various lists as one of the top 10 resource shares and inspiring leaders.  Learn and be inspired by following Shelly.

6. Jeffrey Bradbury (@teachercast): was set up to help teachers better use technology in their classrooms. We are your Educational Community for 21st Century Learning. You can follow Jeffrey on twitter as @teachercast, visit his webpage or download the smartphone application to have access to his information wherever you are.  Need to know what’s new in technology?  There is an app for that.  Just follow Jeff.

7. Vicki Davis (@coolcattecher):  Vicki is a full time teacher and blogger who is a passionate advocate for inspiring and informing teachers, parents, and professionals about how to reach this generation of learners.  She is a go to person in education and truly understands the social power of the web.  To follow Vicki is to never be out of the loop.

8. Alec Couros (@courosa):  Dr. Alec Couros is a professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina,  His blog was created in early 2004 while pondering the educational uses of blogging and podcasting.  His collection of personal reflections and resources are related to teaching and learning, democratic media, critical media literacy, digital citizenship, openness, and social justice.  Alec is a must follow when it comes to higher education.

9. Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom): If you are an educator and spent any time on twitter you have probably heard of @web20classroom.  Steven is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC.  He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom.  If you are looking to integrate Social Media follow Steven.

10, Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal):  Eric is the type of administrator we all wish we worked for. Mr. Sheninger is the Principal at  New Milford High School located in Bergen County, NJ.  He is passionate about establishing and fostering learning environments that are student-centered, collaborative, flexible, and prepare all learners to succeed in the 21st Century.  He has been the keynote speaker around the country and is always willing to share his knowledge.  If you follow administrators Eric is at the top of the list.

Here are a few more educators that fall into the category of must follow: Tom WhitbyLisa Dabbs, Lee Kolbert and George Couros.

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