Daily Prayer resources from #CatholicEdChat

#CatholicEdChatInsomnia strikes and I happened to get up early on Saturday morning and jumped onto Twitter — just in time for #CatholicEdChat.  What a wonderful way to begin the weekend.  I appreciate the leadership of Nancy Caramanico, Barb Gilman and Nick Senger for getting this going.

After introductions and sharing of activities of the week we began earnestly connecting with one another – talking about faith families, teacher-led PD, Noodletools , an 8th grade class blogschool-based edCamp, social justice themes with literature connections,  sharing resources for going 1:1, discussing Google Apps for Education, Google Docs for Kids book, The Catholic School Standards Project, BYOD resources, daily prayer resources (see list below) and using iBooks Author to make a daily prayer book for iPad.

The group will archive the chat stream HERE and also has created a Edmodo group (c6u263).  Look how much I learned in ONE HOUR on TWITTER!!

I requested daily prayer apps/ web resources that I could share with my teachers.  Here are the results:

iPad Apps

Web Resources

Greg Miller from Alberta, Canada shares a bulletin board from his school


What is a PLN and why do I need one?

Martha Thornburgh and I are presenting “What is a PLN and why do I need one” at the upcoming NCCE 2010 conference in Seattle.  We are fleshing out some of our ideas for our session so I thought I would blog some of our ideas.

A PLN is a Personal Learning Network.  A PLN is a reciprocal network that you create to learn from, connect with, gather information or resources, create with and finally share what you have learned.  A PLN can occur in your school, face-to-face, online, at conferences or through reading, reflecting and sharing.

The benefits of having a PLN?

Teaching can be a very isolating profession.  Having a PLN allows you to connect and share with other educators in your subject area.  Think of the Verizon network commercials … your network is always there support you, answering questions, inspiring you and encouraging your own learning.

It can take time to build up an active PLN – so don’t get discouraged.  It takes time to build community – but once its established – you can benefit from the sharing.

Our session plan is explain how to develop a PLN and then share various tools that can make that happen.  We are planning to share Twitter, Blogs, Social Networks, Webinars, and Collaborative Projects.  Here’s some notes about our first tool:  Microblogging (stay tuned for more posts).

Microblogging: Twitter/Plurk

“Twitter is the water cooler of the Internet”
~Neil Chambers


Twitter http://twitter.com/ is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.  People write short updates, often called “tweets”  of 140 characters or fewer.  These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.

Plurk is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates (otherwise known as plurks) through short messages or links, which can be up to 140 text characters in length.


  • Be active.
  • Find other educators in your subject area to follow by following  the followers of edtech leaders or use Educator listings, such as http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com/ (and skip the celebrities!)
  • Response to tweets using @username or use a #hashtag for specific topics
  • Use ReTweet (RT) to repost your favorite tweets.
  • Use third party tools to manage Twitter
    • Tweetdeck – A desktop application that organizes your tweets into groups, lists, or by #hastag.
    • Twubs- Twitter groups built around #hashtags


  • You can get immediate response to your questions or requests for help.
  • There is an active educator community online who love to share resources and ideas.
  • The RT feature furthers the sharing of ideas & resources that users find valuable or insightful
  • Has great search http://search.twitter.com/
  • Plurk keeps threaded conversations


  • Hard to use effectively when you don’t have many followers
  • You miss tweets when you aren’t online.
  • Addicting:  Can be distracting to tweet when you should be doing other computer work
  • A lot of companies are now using Twitter for gimmicky contests or spamming their followers.


  • Dennis Grice posted a Google form to Twitter and Plurk asking his PLN to answer the question “What did you have for breakfast” after reading “George Washington’s Breakfast” with his 3rd graders.  He received responses from all over the world and posted the results in a Google Map.  More info …
  • Every Tuesday, a group of educators hold #edchat on Twitter and discuss the topic for the week.


We know this isn’t an all inclusive review of Twitter and a PLN – but would love your thoughts, ideas or examples of best practices.

“Tweet of the day” with #gr8t

From David Truss

For the month of March,

a group of educators and lifelong learners will be picking a

“Tweet of the day”

and Re-Tweeting it with the tag: #gr8t

There are a number of reasons why you might want to participate:

• To share what you value about twitter.
• To see what others value about twitter.
• To celebrate the power and wisdom of your Personal Learning Network.
• To find interesting people to follow on Twitter.
• To commit to trying out twitter for a month.

Your new tweet shows up on the Gr8Tweets wiki and on twitter searches for others to see and share.

Feel free to follow Gr8tweets on Twitter and Gr8tweets will follow you back, (this part is totally optional).
Even if you aren’t on twitter or you don’t want to participate, be sure to check out the Gr8Tweets wiki and see some of the reasons why so many educators are finding Twitter a valuable tool!

(Here is the story behind this all)

Citizen Journalists

us_airwaysLast week I had a teachable moment when the news of the US Airways plane crashed into the Hudson river.  I had just saw a re-tweet from Andy Carvin’s post on Twitter about the plane crash about an half hour after it happened.  He had just re-posted the photo from @jkrum showing the plane floating in the Hudson river with all the people standing on the wings.

My high school journalism class just walked into the room and I gathered the students around and showed them this example of citizens breaking the news before the mainstream media could even report it.  Students were amazed by the photos and I briefly showed them how I found the information on Twitter.  A few kids reported that they had used their cell phones to take photos of events outside of school but most had not considered themselves to be “citizen journalists” (yet!).

In this day of participatory media – everyone can report the news.  In Will Richardson’s demo of Prezi, he demonstrates the unfolding of this event that started with Twitter, Flickr and NPR news.  I am planning on showing this to my journalism class to show them the power of the network today.

Top Twitter Toys

twitter_logo_sTwitter is one of the ways I stay connected to my Personal Learning Network  (PLN).  Besides the obvious twitter clients like Twirl, these are the lastest twitter toys I have found useful:

  1. Twitter searchhttp://search.twitter.com/ This search tool is essential if you want to keep tabs on current topics.  For example, if you are attending a conference – search for the conference acronym and view discussions.
  2. Twitturly –  http://twitturly.com/ – Twitturly is a service for tracking what URLs people are talking about as they talk about them on Twitter.
  3. Friend or Follow http://friendorfollow.com/ Who are you following that’s not following you back? Who’s following you that you’re not following back? Find out!
  4. twitter_stats_dec08TweetStats –   http://www.tweetstats.com/ Graph your Twitter Stats including Tweets per hour, Tweets per month, Tweet timeline and Reply statistics.  My twitter usage definitely comes and goes in waves.  Here are my tweet stats displayed as a Wordle.  Maybe a little less self-promotion is in order <<blush>>.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ccassinelli 🙂

Twitpic learning on Twitter

A cry for help came out on Twitter this morning from cliotech asking how to convert PowerPoint files to *.jpg. I responded explaining JPG is one of the file extension options available when you choose “save as” – –  but Jennifer twittered back that wasn’t available.  So, I used my trusty Jing screenshot to snap an image of my PowerPoint version and sent a copy of the image to her using Twitpic.  Finally – Jennifer checked with her IT department and found out that PowerPoint wasn’t properly installed on her computer – voila – problem solved.

Sometimes a picture tells it better than a written explanation.  But more importantly, I realized how easy it is to have your own virtual tech support team with your twitter network.

I know about the PowerPoint conversion because I use it all the time with my students.  I use this feature  when I want students to make a simple image but don’t want spend time teaching them how to do it in Photoshop. For example, my MS students set the PowerPoint screen size to 5×7 and made postcards for our Postcard Geography project with simple Word Art and images.  When you use “save as jpg” in PowerPoint, you have the option to save the current slide or each slide as a separate image.  I also use “save as jpg” when uploading PowerPoint slides to VoiceThread so the background designs stay intact.

Anyway, I love my PLN with Twitter and was glad I could help today … because I know tommorrow – I’m going to be the one asking, “Does anyone know how to …..”.

Happy Blogaversary to me!

One year ago I began blogging at edtech VISION. Previous to that I had only blogged for my Masters of Educational Technology about my Action Research Project for Pepperdine University and occasional posts at Classroom 2.0.

Anyone who knows me will understand that a one-year anniversary is a big deal for me. I’m the queen of startups. I get excited about something new and charge head first full of excitement and energy.

My husband teases me that I have two speeds – fanatic and couch potato. I will begin a new project – whether its a new piece of software to learn or painting a room – and I jump in and completely immerse myself in the project. I will spend hours focused and gleam as much information as I can. My enthusiasm continues for awhile and then slowly the newness wears off and the project turns into “work” and there the project stays. Sometimes half-finished, sometimes done (but not cleaned up – yes, honey I am admitting to the mess I left in the garage) or sometimes i only occasionally pay attention but my heart is not really into it.

This blog almost became victim to my disease. Last Fall I went for almost a month without any postings. I wrote …

It’s not that I haven’t been connected. I am been dutifully reading my Bloglines and occasionally participating in Classroom 2.0 but just haven’t felt inspired to write lately. The truth is the end of the term, grades and personal activities have taken up my time (life? What’s a life?) and I haven’t felt the tug to share.

I also gave myself permission to take off time from this blog during the holidays and around exam time in January.

The thing that I noticed was even though I wasn’t blogging much, I was still connected to my network. I dutifully read postings in my Bloglines account, I added new people in twitter, I began listening to EdTech Talk and participating in the chats.

But the thing that really brought me back to blogging is my need to process what I was reading and reading a post somewhere who wrote in a post to not worry about blogging for an audience, just begin by describing what you do with your students.

So I began blogging about my classroom activities and began to get excited about sharing what I was doing with my students. i focused on the learning that was happening and not just the tools. I used my blog to prepare and promote workshops I was offering at local conferences. I blogged because I was inspired not because I felt like I needed to post something profound.

I am much more of a talker than a writer – but blogging has been a great exercise for me. I love meeting people at conferences who I have been following in Twitter or if I read their blogs. I have a different voice inside my head when I now see their posts and responses.

I love having the opportunity to broaden my personal learning network through the OETC EdTech Cadre, the monthly meetings of the local Catholic school tech teachers and the great folks at Google Teacher Academy.

Blogging for me will never replace these interactions for me – I’m too social. But I do value the quiet time I get to just get my thoughts down and reflect on how much I have shared and learned this past year.

So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to join me in my little corner of the blogosphere. I love having you here and I appreciate more than you will ever know when you take the time to say hi, leave a comment or respond to a twitter plea.

Thank you .. God bless – i can’t wait to see what the next year brings!!!!