Monthly Archives: August 2012

Twitter as a Professional Development Tool

I have to admit: I’m not an avid Twitter user. In fact, my twitter account will show you that I have posted 57 tweets in the last year. About one per week. However, a recent article on the NYT blog inspired me to rethink Twitter for professional development and increase my involvement. The article featured 33 educators and each presented ways in which they have created their personal learning networks.  Surprisingly,  15 of the educators mentioned twitter as a key component to their professional development. People follow certain hash-tagged conversations, like #engchat #edchat #edtech. They also connect with people from around the world to discuss and share ideas. There certainly is a lot out there. I guess, Twitter really can be helpful. As a little bit of proof here are three interesting tweets from people I follow:

Do you use Twitter for professional development? Who do you follow?

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Here are some good google search tips. Just click the image below and enjoy. Also, here are some posters, handouts, and quizzes about google search.

You can use some of these search tips, like “” to search for phrases, to use google as a corpus. Sha (2010) in the CALL journal compared google  to the British National Corpus searches and found that it often provides more examples and may be a good option for students. You can find the article through the OSU library. The full citation is:

Sha, G. (2010). Using Google as a super corpus to drive written language learning: a comparison with the British National Corpus. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 23(5), 377-393.

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Visual Writing Prompts

I was surfing the web this week and came across the Writing Prompts tumblr page. Some the prompts would be difficult for our students, but here are two examples:

I liked that the writing prompts were so visually compelling, so I decided to create a few in a similar style for my TOEFL prep class using existing TOEFL prompts. Here is my PowerPoint with visual writing prompts.

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Beyond the ‘wow’ factor

Do you think the Starboards are only good for a few “wows”? Our next TIG will discuss an article from Beauchamp and Parkinson (2005) which outlines going “beyond the ‘wow’ factor”. You can access the article here. Please read the 6-page article before the meeting and come prepared to discuss:

  • Your favorite idea from the text.
  • How could you apply the tools listed on page 98 to your classes?
  • Review the skills on page 102. What skills are you missing?

Also, if you would like one-on-one help with Starboard, don’t hesitate to email me.

1-2 pm on
Wednesday, August 22nd in ILLC 253
Thursday, August 23rd in ILLC 255

Also, feel free to contact me for one-on-one Starboard help.


Beauchamp, G and Parkinson, J. (2005). Beyond the wow factor: developing interactivity with the interactive whiteboard. School Science Review, 86(316), 97–103.

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Deciding to Use Technology

Personally, I use new technology all the time, but I am more hesitant to introduce new technology to students. Three years ago, I blogged about my process for choosing instructional technology, and it hasn’t changed much. I still believe the initial question should be the learning objective. What do I want students to learn? (I wouldn’t encourage teachers to start with a piece of technology they want to use and then see how that would fit with their learning objectives. Learning objectives need to be first.) After choosing to focus on a learning objective, I ask myself what is appropriate and feasible. The question of feasibility should include resources and time available, along with usability. Of the remaining technological options, I ask myself what affordances do they offer. Are they social or interactive? Do they provide quick feedback to students? etc. Then, I can make a good decision. The chart below has more details, and here is a larger, more readable copy.

How do you decide what technology to use? What factors do you consider? I didn’t include assessment in the process. Would you?

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2012-2013 Goals

After two meetings with staff and a department wide poll, I am excited to announce our goals for the 2012-2013 school year. By addressing these goals, we hope to simplify and enhance classes at INTO OSU.