Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Instagram

Continuing our exploration of communication tools, this week we will look at Instagram.

If you are just starting out and looking to share more, then Insagram may just be the tool for you. This Facebook owned application is one of the fastest growing social media services out there, and is is excessively simple to use, while still remaining a very powerful tool.


Once you have created your account you can either follow others or chose not to. You can also connect multiple social media accounts to Instagram so that when you post a picture with a caption you can opt to have it also share directly in these other social media apps ALL FROM ONE PLACE.

This is probably one of the top sought after features when it comes to sharing. With a few clicks you are able to send the single picture to multiple places rather then having to post the same things 3 or 4 times.

I often encourage first time bloggers to start by just posting a picture a day. Capture a moment in your learning space and  tell the story of the deep learning taking place in a few short words. Instagram is designed for this and would be a great way to share with your families. 

Families can either follow you, if they have their own Instagram account, or they can just go directly to your page by entering in the unique url. For instance mine would be https://www.instagram.com/thetechspec/

For those of you wanting to share multiple pictures of the learning going on each day, you can post multiple pics in a single post. Doing this will not over run your followers streams with pictures. To do this, click the plus button to add a photo then click the button on the bottom right hand of the screen which looks like this

Then you will be able to choose multiple pictures for a single post.

For those of you interested in sharing more each day, you may want to check out the Instagram Stories Feature. 

By swiping to the right when inside instagram you will be taken to a "camera view" where you can take a picture inside of the app and then post to a story. (You can also load a picture previously taken by swiping down inside the camera mode)

The story is a place where photos you post there will go away 24 hours later. It is a quick and easy way to share loads of learning without having to feel like you must craft the perfect picture. You can also "go live" within the stories feature and stream the learning live.

Pro Tip: Photo's posted in Stories are best in portrait mode. 

I could spend two more posts writing about all the potential greatness you could do with Instagram, instead I am going to encourage you to go check it out today.

As always,
Stay tuned and stay connected

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Blogger vs Google Sites

Continuing my series on communication tools,  as we get ever closer to the first day of school,  let's will explore just two of the offerings from the surplus that Google grants one. 


Blogger vs New Google Sites

While both are unique and awesome in their own ways, when you have a Google account you have access to both of these fantastic tools, and each of them is worth exploring. My hope for the future is that Blogger is integrated into the New Google Sites so that you can have all of the great googliness in one spot.

Blogger
For the novice, Blogger has a quick and easy feel and setup time. One can simply go to Blogger.com sign in with their Google account and click the button "+ New Blog" and then choose from several pre made designs, which can be adjusted with a few clicks.

Once you've created the blog you can now start posting.  I always suggest keeping your blog simple in the beginning.

Do a post a day with a picture and a few words. I like to encourage Bloggers to share what they see in the picture. In our learning environments sometimes something that may look like a simple task may be filled with rich thought provoking learning and this tool allows us to show our viewers a glimpse into each day with a different perspective than their own.

One might also use a Blog as an active learning tool. Have one or multiple of your learners write up a daily or weekly summary of the learning which took place in your class. Allow families the opportunity to hear from the learners in the class and encourage your learners to reflect back on the day or weeks worth of learning.

Another fantastic option inside of Blogger are the built in widgets. A widget allows you to show case blog posts, show archived blog posts, and more. My favorite is "subscribe" which allows viewers to enter in their email address and get updates to their email when there is a new post.


New Google Sites

Back in November, Google launched a redesigned Google Sites dubbed New Google Sites. With this update came simple setup, mobile automation (instantly adjusts to mobile and tablet viewing) and more. 

Why might you use this tool?
  • It's a great way to setup a page with all the information your may want to share with your learners or families.
  • It integrates with Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and YouTube
This integration of the Google suite is a pretty enticing feature. With a click you can add your Google calendar, upload an entire Google Drive folder, embed a YouTube video, add a whole document to your page, and more.

With some clever folder placement or embedding a Google slideshow on the page you can easily share photos from your learning environments, share learner work, or allow others to easily see what is coming up in the future within your Google calendar.

For anyone with a Google account and looking for a starting place for building their own website, check out the new Google Sites by visiting sites.google.com/new

So which tool should you use?
Check them both out, ask yourself what your intended purpose or goal is, and think about your audience. Each has the potential to be a powerful tool for sharing the learning which happens each and everyday in your learning spaces.

In the future I plan to do a video walk through of each of these tools.


As always Stay tuned and stay connected.






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