Thursday, February 24, 2011

Linoit -- virtual bulletin board and so much more!

Linoit is one of those sites I am drawn to - colorful, interactive, collaborative, and fun. It is fantastic as a personalized online bulletin board for sticky notes about what tasks I have to complete or appointments that might be up coming on my calendar, but the real power of Linoit is in its ease of use and collaborative function.

I see this being used in an academic setting in a number of ways.  Teachers could create groups for each of their classes and use their "canvas" as a place to post assignments, resources, and feedback.  Students could also post additional thoughts and resources.  Because the stickies can be color coded there is a wealth of opportunities to organize the stickies according to who posted them or what content they hold.  Blue could be assignments.  Yellow could be resources.  Orange could be feedback or however the class wants to proceed.  The canvases can be structured to be private, semi-public (view only by anyone), or completely public and collaborative where anyone can view and post.  There are a couple of ways to post to linoit.  Users can go to the website, grab a sticky, and post.  We can email a post to linoit (they provide a coded number so the post goes to the correct canvas).  Finally, linoit has created a bookmarklet that can be placed on your bookmarks bar and when you find an online resource you'd like to post to a canvas, you can click on "lino it" and you'll be prompted as to what text you would like to add and an option as to which canvas you would like the sticky to appear.

I find that the ability to not only post notes with text, but also include images and video on a canvas to be particularly appealing.  Working in project/problem/challenge based learning environments it is necessary to provide students with sustainable feedback and creating a canvas in linoit for each group I am working with would be incredibly beneficial in keeping the lines of communication between the students and teacher open.  The ability of a team to be able to post their resources, questions, ideas, and to allow the teachers to facilitate dialog and feedback based on the information on the wall is extraordinarily valuable.  Teachers and students can attach files in linoit so assignments can be given and turned in via the canvas.

The only question left for me as an Instructional Coach is where do I begin to roll this out?

See the document below for a "quick sheet" on what, why, and how to use Linoit.

How to linoit

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inspiration Despite Exhaustion

After spending the last three days attending/participating in EduCon 2.3 at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA my body is screaming for sleep and my mind is buzzing with ideas.  The staff and students plan for a year for this three day learning "revival" which pulls an attendance of over 600 face to face educators and countless more virtual participants.  The conference was alive with techno-geeks, speakers of edu-ease, and plenty of "idea people".  Unlike other education/tech conferences, EduCon focuses on the conversations that take place as part of a natural evolution when people who are passionate about kids get together.  Some of the mantras that emerged from EduCon 2.3 included:

What motivates kids?
How do we inspire innovation?
What do our students care about?
How do we create learning spaces that inspire creativity?
How do we fail gracefully - and assure others that it's okay to do just that?

But, the question I am now confronted with is:  What do I do now?

How will I inspire others?
How will I model courage, risk-taking, and graceful failure?
How will I embrace innovation and make it my goal?
How will I push a bit harder to create a safe environment where teachers and students will be willing to push themselves?

The Wordle below - compiled by Dave Warlick - is a collection of all of the tweets from the first two days of EduCon 2.3. Upon close review - we have our work cut out for us, but we have all left EduCon - inspired to do the great work!

Owly Images