# Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

## Researching, Graphing and Publishing in Four Steps

One of my third grade classes is working on a unit of learning about, and deciphering the differences between developed and developing countries. They are investigating what makes a country developed, why certain countries develop and other don’t, and trying to figure out how we can close the gap.

### Step 1: The Premise

We began by gathering information on 2 counties (one developed; the other developing) such as literacy rate, life expectancy, population, GDP per capita,  and other statistical facts that could be found online. They recorded their findings in a Word document. This information was later used to graph the results and to develop a better understanding of the differences between developed and developing countries.

### Step 2: The Research

For most of the research, we used CIA World Fact Book. This is a great site with detailed information on every country in the world. It is fairly easy to find the information, but what I like even more is that the kids did have to do some thinking and searching to find the information they needed. Other sites we used were the BBC’s Development and Health, National Geographic’s People and Places, OxFam’s Wake Up World, and Heifer International’s Read to Feed.

### Step 3: The Graphs

After all the information was gathered students went to Create-a-Graph and began entering their data. They selected specific data to compare 2 or more countries (i.e., literacy rates of Singapore vs. Afganastan; Life Expectancy of people in Singapore vs. Cuba; GDP of Singapore vs. The Philippines; etc.). We used Singapore for the developed country as that is where all the students live. The students got to choose which developing country they researched and, not surprisingly, a lot chose either Haiti or Afghanistan. (Note to self: next time, I will have students sign up for a country to avoid repeats).

### Step 4: Publishing

After all the data was collected and graphed, the students downloaded their graphs as PDFs and I then uploaded them all to Youblisher to share their findings with people from around the world. You can take a look at their graphs here.

## Twitter and Blogging from a Newbie Perspective – Part 2

### Hello? Is Anybody There?

On December 21, I created a Twitter account with my first real tweet being a link to my blog post “Did you Know” which was merely a quick sentence about the video being a great reminder. I didn’t receive any replies; no re-tweets; no direct messages… In fact, I think I heard a faint chirping sound of distant crickets. I quickly realized that there was no one following me, and I was following no one. I decided to spend the mornings of my winter break finding quality educators to follow.

### Making Progress

My plan was as follows:

1. I began the hunt at my co-worker Susan Sedro’s Blog and clicked through her blogroll, reading as much as I could during those quiet mornings before the world awoke. When I found one’s I liked, I would add them to my Google Reader.
2. I would then search the about sections of the blogs to see if the writer was on Twitter, and if so, I began following them (The first few people to follow me back reads like a list of “who’s who in the educational Twtterverse” and includes such great educators as: @langwitches, @rmbyrne, @jenwagner, @coolcatteacher, @kjarrett, @courosa, @betchaboy, and many, many others). If you are new to Twitter, I’d recommend following them.
3. After following about 50 or so people, I started looking at who they were following, and who was following them. It felt a little like stalking, but that’s kind of the way things work out at first. I would look at the basic Twitter bio, link to their blog, and scan through their last 20 or so tweets. If they were interesting (ie, tweeting about educational sites, useful practices in the classroom and not what they ate for lunch), I would follow them. I found amazing people like @cybraryman1, @shannonmmiller, @shellterrell, @ktenkely, @AngelaMaiers@Ginaschreck, @Larryferlazzo, @bjnichols, @web20classroom, @tomwhitby, and many, many more who I learn so much from every day.
4. I signed up for The Educator’s PLN and Classroom 2.0 and “met” some great educators (@cspiezio, @GiseldaSantos, @vickyloras) from discussion groups and began to follow them.
5. From the beginning, I shared things I came across, re-tweeted interesting tweets and tried to be as lurk-less as possible.
6. I “tweeted” people as I wanted to be “tweeted.” I tried to thank people for a follow, reply to all direct messages and tweeted only things that I found interesting and useful.