Sue Waters Blog

March 19, 2011
by Sue Waters
3 Comments

My chances of winning all the chocolate ARE?

Life’s been a bit tougher the past 12+ months which is why there’s been less of Sue around than previously.

And off course, during the same period I’ve also been a bit accident prone so some of my friends, who have been there when I’ve needed them, have decided it’s time for a smile and laugh.

So as a bit of harmless fun they’ve created the Sue Waters’s Injury Sweepstake.

I’ve been lead to believe if I make it to 30 Sept, 2011 without an injury I win the prize of REAL chocolate 8-)

As Phil say’s it all started from his gentle teasing of me being prone to accidents and perhaps we should run a sweepstake on it.

Considering I’ve injured myself three times in the past 12 months — there might be some truth in being accident prone.

History of accidents are:

  1. April 2010 – Grade 2 tear of calf muscle in right leg trying to change the tyre (tire) on my car while on holidays
  2. July 201 0- drove car into a concrete pole in a car park breaking fourth metacarpal of my left hand
  3. Feb 2011 – fell over when car stuck behind boon gate in public car park damaging ligaments in left foot

Injuries

But am I really accident prone?

My accidents were annoying, and let’s be honest, quite funny.

But evidence suggests that others are like me :)

In the same time period my sisters both injured themselves (walking):

  1. Aug 2010 - middle sister badly fractured left ankle
  2. Dec 2011 – oldest sister broke her left arm/wrist and shattered right shoulder ball joint

Placing your bets

So for a bit of a chuckle, and fun, check out the current suggestions of how I might next injury myself, when and the cause of the accident.  There are some really funny suggestions.

And off course, while there add your own suggestions to the Sue Waters’s Injury Sweepstake.

Wish Phil had made it so my children couldn’t enter :(  They’ve been plotting how they could rig it :)

July 29, 2010
by Sue Waters
8 Comments

What would YOU like me to do a Presentation on?

Feel like helping out?

Some background

Reform Symposium 2010I”m presenting at The Reform Symposium, a 48 hour free e-conference that begins Friday, July 30th at 2pm PDT (LA Time) and ends Sunday, August 1st at 2:30pm PDT (LA Time).

You’ll find details for my presentation and how to join here!

But I’ve decided to be different.  Rather than me choose the topic of my presentation.  We’ve invited people to suggest topics (and titles).

I’ve now condensed topic suggestions — all we now need to do is finalise the choice.

Submit your vote

So here’s your chance!  What would you like me to present on?

Can you please vote by choosing your preferred topic from the poll?  And tell all your friends to vote quickly too.

For those wondering:

  • ‘Blogging for teachers” is tips and advice for teachers on blogging for personal and professional reflection
  • “Managing workflow” is how to effectively use tools like gmail, Google Docs, gtalk, Google Reader, Google Calendar etc to colloborate with others and manage your work

Voting has closed and the results are:

Student blogging

Final thoughts

Thanks for helping me out!

And off course — with limited time to organise.

Would love it if you should share your thoughts (for any of the topics) on:

  1. What you would like to know?
  2. What you think I need to cover?

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July 15, 2010
by Sue Waters
23 Comments

The Story Behind That Twitteraholic Post

There’s always a story behind what inspires bloggers to write specific posts.

Unfortunately we aren’t always able to include that aspect in our posts :(

Maybe it is me?  But often the story behind the post is just as intriguing and fascinating as the post.

So I thought you might be interested in the story behind A Twitteraholic’s Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter?

The Inspiration

Being at a large conference like ISTE, where you have over 13,000 people attending,  reminded me of how much my life has changed as a result of using twitter.

Life before Twitter at a conference was like the first day at a new school — really lonely, isolating experience and take days to connect with others.

While life with Twitter at a conference is like walking into a big party where you know everyone and are meeting up with old friends.   And it’s probably even harder to understand for those that don’t use twitter (or only use it a bit) but often we haven’t even connected with each other online before the conference.

But Twitter brings us together — regardless of whether we’ve already built a relationship online.  And the time we spend together face-to-face enhances our online relationships so the next time we meet up its even better!

Connecting with others was as simple as sending tweets like ‘Who wants to go out for dinner #iste10′, ‘Who wants to go out for breakfast — I’m hungry #iste10′, ‘Where is everyone? #iste10′ or monitoring the hashtag #iste10 to find out what was happening.

What other technology really allows you to connect with some many people so quickly?

And That line…

Off course there is often stories behind specific lines within a post.

My two favorite line in A Twitteraholic’s Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter? are:

  1. “Twitter is for people with too much time on their hands”
  2. “using it like a big teachers lunch room that’s open 24/7″

The “Twitter is for people with too much time on their hands” has the best story 8-)

Here’s how it goes…..

The day I flew out to USA I crashed my car — managing to break the suspension underneath my car and damage my left hand.

Unfortunately due to travel commitments I couldn’t get my hand x-rayed until I returned home 3 1/2 weeks later.  So while it was being x-rayed I tried to explain why there had been a delay in getting it done due to traveling as part of my work.

Explaining what it meant to support a blogging company wasn’t working — so I tried the opposite approach by saying blogging is sort of like Twitter since most people have heard of twitter.

That’s when he replied “Twitter is for people with too much time on their hands” — we’ve all had others say exactly that to us.  For me it was we have to that line in the post because too often that is exactly what people think and say to us!

And since I had managed to break my hand in the car crash I can confirm true crazy Twitteraholics don’t let things like a broken hand get in our way of tweeting or writing blog posts.

Here’s the x-ray and my story remains that the concrete pillar was driving on the wrong side of the road!

X-ray

And back to “using it like a big teachers lunch room that’s open 24/7″ — someone on tweeted that on Twitter during the time I was writing the post.  Thanks whoever tweeted it!

Final Thoughts

Hope my story has added more meaning to my A Twitteraholic’s Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter? post and makes it as memorable for you as it was for me — especially considering it was written over at least week and from two countries at opposite sides of the World.

And would love to hear the stories behind what inspired you to write your different posts!

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February 17, 2010
by Sue Waters
14 Comments

Free to good home!

Image by a href=Any takers?

I’ve had enough of the work involved with dealing with spammers on Ning sites.

So decided to reduce the workload by getting rid of eTools and Tips for Educators.

It’s a cool name and URL – http://etools.ning.com/

If Ning is like blog sites once a URL has been deleted no-one including the original user can create the site again with that URL.

Let me know if you would like to take it over (and use how you want) otherwise I’m deleting in 48 hours.

PS  Unlike my husband who I’ve tried to give away (occasionally) it doesn’t come with an inbuilt snore 8-)

Image by Mubblegum licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike

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January 22, 2010
by Sue Waters
9 Comments

Always Push Those Boundaries

It’s amazing how a blast from the past can be such a powerful reminder!

I created Animoto video below over 2 years ago!

It was unusual because as I said in the description:

Had to push the boundaries of using Animoto by adding words and voice. Not because it was a good idea, it probably wasn’t, but the challenge was there so had to try!

Today David N. left me the timely reminder in a comment:

Animoto comment

Happy to say I continue to push those boundaries and are learning new things every day.

My motto–

  • The only bad ideas are never trying or giving up too quickly

Since Animoto allows you to upload your own music I quickly recorded some audio (using Audacity) and uploaded it to put with my video.

And here’s the video for a chuckle

Oops and apologies in advance as I may have said bad words like ‘this might be crap’ when talking.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

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December 29, 2009
by Sue Waters
9 Comments

Relaxing Is?

I’m currently enjoying a leisurely few days family holiday visiting my friend.

Obviously I forgot to tell her dog I’m definitely NOT a dog person!  And balancing a MacBook and dog on lap while working on an iPhone isn’t easy :(

Send back the cat!

Hope you’re all having a great holiday break and here’s looking forward to an exciting 2010!

December 13, 2009
by Sue Waters
14 Comments

Edublog Awards – Thanks For Nominating My Sites

This is a tough one, which Larry hinted at here

But I think it is important to take the time to thank those who nominated me and my different websites (Sue Waters Blog, The Edublogger and PLN Yourself) in several categories of the 2009 Edublogs Awards.

Thanks Sue Wyatt, Jan Smith, Lesley Edwards, Burcu Akyol, Mike Sansone, David Truss, Gail Desler, RliberniDarcy Moore, and Shelly Terrell.

I’m honored to have been nominated by you all (and apologies if I’ve missed anyone from the list — please let me know if I did as it defnitely isn’t deliberate!)

As Larry Ferlazzo says:

‘the really important thing about these awards is that they provide an opportunity for everybody to learn about great blogs and other resources out there that can be helpful to our teaching’.

So take the time to check out the 2009 Edublogs Awards — because it’s a great way to discover cool ways of using social media in an educational context!

PS Please tell me about some of the cool ideas (and/or sites) you find when checking through the Edublogs Awards nominations!

November 30, 2009
by Sue Waters
14 Comments

Using Public Google Waves For Personal Learning

There’s always a shiny new toy– and with it the stampede to use.

Yes that was also me once too :(  Nowadays I’ve learnt very slow, steady saves time and my sanity.

So I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I’ve never watched ANY Google Wave videos, read ANY tutorials and avoided every invite until I stumbled across a reason for investigating.

My motivation was I discovered you can set up public waves that any one can join.

I decided this was a good way for me and other educators to learn how to use Wave, by working together with each other, while also seeing how Wave might be used for personal learning (and with student).

Joining a Public Wave

We’ve called our public wave eduwave.

Joining  it is as easy as:

  1. Search for Eduwave by typing with:public Eduwave into search and then hit Enter.Searching for a public wave
  2. Now all you need to do is click Follow once you’ve found Eduwave to start following it. Following a wave
  3. Feel free to add your own replies to the wave, test different features and send me a tweet (@suewaters) if you want me to log in and join you.

Off course I’m proud of the fact that my friends taught me quickly how to use Wave.

Creating a Public Wave

Big thanks to Rob Wall for quickly locating the information I needed to create the public wave.

All you need to do is:

  1. Add public@a.gwave.com to your contacts lists by clicking on Add new Contact, enter the email address public@a.gwave.com and then click Enter Adding public@a.gwave.com
  2. It should add Public to your Contact list
  3. Now hover your mouse over Public’s avatar and select new wave Creating a public wave

Now anyone in Google Wave can search and add themselves to your public wave.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please share your thoughts on Google Wave.

Your like(s), Dislike(s), What’s cool? Your tips… and links to any tutorials that I should have read 8-)

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October 9, 2009
by Sue Waters
23 Comments

Here’s What I Said On Educational blogging! What Would You Say?

Commenters on my What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging? post asked if I would share the essence of my presentation from Alec Couros‘ s EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education course — so as promised here it is!

You can watch an Elluminate recording of the session here.

Pre-presentation Preparation

One of the best aspects of Alec’s course is that participants post reflections on their blogs.  Wouldn’t that be nice if you could research and interact with participants before every presentation to be better prepared?

By checking out their Shared Google Reader folder I was able to:

  1. Read their posts and leave some comments.
  2. Get a feel for who they are as individuals and where they are at
  3. Find out what they learnt in previous sessions
  4. Target my presentation based on my perception of their needs

Most of the participants are fairly new to using social media and blogging so I decided to focus on what they really needed to know about educational blogging.

Here’s What I Covered

I created the following diagram to explain how through the process of writing posts and engaging in discussions in comments we are constantly evaluating, reviewing, reflecting and revising information.  And that by this continual process we’re learning.

Unfortunately I don’t feel I adequately emphasized how this learning is very different from how most of us are used to learning.

Nik Peachey provides a great summary in  his comment “With out this final stage of reconstructing information and turning it into knowledge that is useable by others in my professional community, much of the information that I read or see on the web would just pass straight through me”.

bloggingcycle

Community and learning as part of a community (or network) is one of the most important aspects of educational blogging and one of the key areas that most educators fail to appreciate.

The whole process of creating, connecting, communicating and collaborating as part of a community through the interactions of posts and conversations in comments is essential.

Unfortunately educators often fail to adequately encourage the community and commenting aspects in their student blogging programs.

bloggingcommunity

Here are a few examples of good approaches to student blogging:

  1. Jan Smith’s Huzzah class blog – starts her students on the class blog and gradually moves them onto their own student blogs.
  2. Sue Wyatt’s Student blogging challenge

It’s really important to experience how blogging  changes your own learning to appreciate the impact it has and to understand how to use it effectively with students.

Here is the participants brainstorming of their thoughts, challenges and concerns based on where they are currently at with their blogging.

bloggingAlec

A key point I emphasized is their course provides them an excellent opportunity which is ideal for developing their blogging skills; they need to focus on working together as a community while gaining skills they can use with their own students.

My tips were:

Step 1: Change comment moderation settings

Currently they are all using the default comment moderation setting which means all commenters must have had a previously approved comment otherwise the comment is moderated.

Unfortunately in their situation this is negatively impacting in the comment conversations.  New commenters don’t gain from reading older comments.

You change comment moderation settings by going to Settings > Discussion.

discussionset

Step 2: Set up Google Reader

The best way to work as a community is to set up your Google Reader account so that you are subscribed to both posts and comments from all the blogs.

Here’s my instructions on how to Manage Comments and Posts On Blogs Using Google Reader.

Step 3: Engage in Conversations

They need to start focus more on learning off each other and engaging in conversations by:

  1. Reading each other posts – each of them will have different perspective on the topic and working collectively they will gain more than working individually
  2. Commenting on each others posts – take the time to share their thoughts in response to each others posts.  To expand the conversation and really make each other think.
  3. Comment back to comments on their own posts – respond to people who leave comments.  Use it as an opportunity to find out more information from the person who left the comment.
  4. Learn how to pingback on other bloggers posts

Final Thoughts

Alec asked me to frame a question for response by participants at the end of my session.

So I’ve asked them to write a post on “What are 3 questions (and why) you would like answered on educational blogging or building personal learning networks? so that I and the other participants could visit their posts and leave comments to answer their questions.

If you would like to ask me these same questions please feel free to write your own post and:

  1. Pingback my What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging? post so I’m notified of your post
  2. And/or leave a comment with a link to your post on this post

Thanks to everyone who left comments on What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging? — all participants have been asked to read through your comments!

Would also love to hear your thoughts.  What would you have said differently?  What else should I have included?

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October 4, 2009
by Sue Waters
19 Comments

A Year Later And Are We Using Different Tools To Connect To Our PLNs?

One year ago I asked my network to complete a survey on Personal Learning Network.

The survey was used in a series of presentations and to build my PLN Yourself website.

Being a year later I’m wondering how much has changes?  Are we using different tools to connect?  Are the tools we would recommend to new people different?

Can you help in the following ways:

  1. Can you please complete my new Personal Learning Networks Survey?
    • There are only 2 questions
  2. Can you promote my Personal Learning Networks Survey to your network using a range of tools?
    • For example blog post, twitter, plurk, Facebook so responses aren’t biased by promotion by one tool or one individual

If you do promote this survey can you please link to this post by creating a pingback and/or leaving a comment?  So I have a record of all the different ways in which this latest survey has been promoted?

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