Monday, 12 May 2014

Just like Indiana Jones - finding content

Okay, so this title might imply finding new content, such as articles, tools etc. is a terribly exciting past-time that requires a torch, whip and some inbred awesomeness.

Pictured here: Your average, every-day random teacher, totally normal.

That would be positively and unconditionally...false.

Most surprising question I've been asked after any of my tech-related workshops was : "Do you have a life?"
Scuse me?

The person in question was surprised at the sheer amount of tools I share. I wouldn't have paid much attention to it, if my bestie hadn't asked practically the same thing. Yes, I have bursts of productivity when I share bajillion of neat things I find all over the web leading some to suspect I spend all my days just searching for tools to use in class.

"Go away, I am terribly busy and important, I have no time for this 'fun' you insist I should be having!"

Answer: Yes, I do in fact have a life beyond the computer. It is filled with cooking, dancing and whatnot. Sometimes even in public!

Success! I did not set anything on fire!

Finding content isn't as time consuming as you'd have thought. Let me share the steps one needs to undertake to share an ungodly amount of content.

Step 0: Play some music.I use Grooveshark for all my free music needs. This step is not necessary, but it helps to pretend you're Indiana Jones if you have an awesome soundtrack.

Aw yiss! Inspire the heck outta people!

Now that you're all grooved-out and ready to be awesome, proceed to Step 1.

Step 1: Acquire an RSS reader. We used to have Google Reader. It is now dead. I use G2 Reader, but any reader that you like will do.
Okay, this is slightly more organised than it usually is. With fewer unread posts.

Step 2: Decide what blogs and sites you're interested in. Collect said sites and feed them into your nifty RSS Reader.

Step 3: Check your feed twice a week, because more is too much work and less leaves you with unmanageable mess of 1654 unchecked links (ahem, that totally NEVER happens to me at all!).

I'm on top of it! I'll do it right after my Game of Thrones Marathon!

Step 4: If you're sharing tools and tips, think a bit about how you can use them in class and make a little note of what you can do with them.

Step 5: You want to save those buggers for later, right? You have several options, but I'd suggest either a curating site like or social bookmarks like Pearltrees or Diigo. Each has its pros and cons, so use whichever you like. I use Pearltrees to keep tech tools and to share articles. Both have add-ons for your browser, which will help you bookmark sites with one easy click.

Step 6: Share. Both tools have an option to share on several social networks, so take advantage of that, connect with them.

Don't share too much. But then again, I'm the one to talk, I usually post in batches of 345 links.
Another common misconception is that I use tools all the time in the class. I do not. I like my whiteboard just fine. I use tools when I judge that they bring an additional stimulus into my class or they enhance my class in some way. I don't use them in all my classes, some I use in 1:1 classes, some for homework, some in my public school classes and some I never use, but they might be useful some other teachers in other contexts and with levels/age groups I don't teach.

And that's all. No magic. Now go forth and find awesome stuff!

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