Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I have been using the social bookmarking tool, DIIGO, for several years.  I rely a lot on this site and am constantly adding to my account.  Here is my personal modus operandi with DIIGO:

1.  As I skim through the items in my Google Reader or my Twitter account, I open the ones that interest me.  

2.   If I think an item I've read may be of use to me in the future, I click on the DIIGO button in my toolbar and choose bookmark. 
 I do the same after following a link to another article or YouTube video.

3.   Then if the title of an item is self-explanatory such as 12 Crucial Questions to Ask before Using iPad with your Students, I just add it to my  account.  If the title isn't sufficient,  I add a note in the space available when I click Bookmark.
4.  Then I perform the most important step which is to give the entry multiple tags (labels).  For example,  for Education 2020,  I  used connectivism , gamification,  project-based learning,  and  Inquirybased learning.

5.  Once in a while if I have found something that relates to health or family that I don't want to share with the public, I click the small box labeled Private, so that only I can see it.

When I am planning a new mod for my course or updating an existing one, I rely heavily on my DIIGO account to find information that I have put there.  For example, I recently created a mod on gamification.  I had been collecting articles about gaming for quite some time,  so I looked at all the DIIGO entries that I had tagged game, games, gamification, and gaming to find pertinent material.  This review also allowed me to delete or edit material that I deemed less useful.

Another way I use DIIGO is to include a link to a specific tag in my DIIGO account in my syllabus.  For example, instead of telling the students to search all of cyberspace for pertinent articles on microblogging for education, I simply ask them to choose some  articles from my DIIGO account with Twitter tags.  

I honestly couldn't function with DIIGO!

Google Reader

Google Reader is my lifeline to other professionals.  In my reader I have feeds to other educators in the fields of educational technology and second language learning.  Each morning I skim through the titles of blog post feeds to see which ones merit reading.   Although some people have feeds from newspapers, I prefer to use Google Reader just for blog posts.

Some bloggers post a tremendous amount.  (I don't know when they sleep!)  However, since Reader allows me to view just the titles on my iGoogle homepage, I can quickly delete material that doesn't interest me.  Or if I choose to view items on my Google Reader homepage, I can quickly scroll through my folders in the left sidebar.  Since the blogs with recent posts appear in bold. I can click on them to see the entire posts on the right. 

Keeping my Google Reader manageable requires some "gardening skills."  Once  in a while, I remember to "weed" my garden of feeds by going to the Reader page and clicking Trends.  That way I can see which subscriptions are  less useful by clicking on Inactive or Most Obscure under Subscription Trends and deleting those feeds. 

  Wow!  I think I need to do that now!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tips for Lifelong Learners

As part of an online course called Tools of Engagement, I viewed a 4 minute video called  7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful lifelong Learners. These are the three habits that resonated with me.

View problems as challenges

Saha bday Up up up
I think I can!
I teach an online course about using technology in second and foreign language classrooms.  As we all know, our relationship with technology is frequently a love/hate relationship.  When things go smoothly we luxuriate in the many ways technology makes our lives and our learning easier.  On the other hand, when problems arise, we can get very frustrated.
Viewing problems as challenges is a good way to look at these occasional frustrations.   We have various ways of meeting tech challenges.  One is to go carefully through the steps we used and, perhaps, write them down.  Sometimes our own error then jumps out at us.  Another way to meet the challenge is to Google the problem.  Usually someone in cyberspace has encountered the same problem and posted a solution.

Create your own learning toolbox
Fill 'er up!
My learning toolbox is the Internet.  Networking with other professionals through social networking sites like Ning, Yahoo groups and Twitter keeps me up to date on the future of education.  Free, online webinars are also essential tools in my toolbox.

 Teach/mentor others

Tutoring Center
How about this way?

Since retiring from f2f teaching of English as a Second  Language, I have been able to devote most of my time to the online course mentioned in #1.  I truly enjoy continuing to learn and sharing what I learn with future teachers.  In the field of educational technology, things are always in a state of "perpetual beta" and I realize that full-time students and teachers often don't have time to explore educational tech as much as they would like.  For that reason, I feel that I can make a contribution to the next generation of teachers by doing some of the groundwork myself and then pointing them in the right direction so they can each choose whichever tech tools best meet their individual needs.