Browse Month: September 2015

Connected Educators Month: Building a PLN with Twitter

If you are wondering what all the hype surrounding Twitter means to you as a teacher, I encourage you to consider participating in the district-wide Twitter challenge beginning on October 5.  Take a look at this infographic and this blog post for a few ways educators are using Twitter to connect with other teachers.  As we encourage our students to make connections outside of OTMS and Fort Osage, consider using Twitter as a tool that can help you reach educators beyond our district, state, or country.  By participating in our #FOProud Twitter Challenge, you will have an opportunity to explore Twitter along with other OTMS and Fort Osage educators.  If you have used Twitter in the past, this will be an opportunity to gain some new Twitter skills and make some new connections.  If you would like a sneak peek, the daily challenges are listed here.  

Mid-Continent Public Library Resources

Mid-Continent Public Library is making an intentional effort to collaborate with teachers by providing quality classroom-appropriate content and educating teachers in the use of this content.  The first step in this process was creating teacher accounts for any educator who expressed interest in using Mid-Continent resources.  These teacher accounts allow educators to display and use any digital content provided by Mid-Continent within the classroom (OTMS teacher accounts do not allow for the checkout of printed materials).  If you do not have a Mid-Continent teacher account, contact Felicia Akins at for assistance in applying.  Students were also given the opportunity to create accounts.  Just because many students took advantage of this offer does not necessarily mean that they remember their library number or even know the location of their library card. The easiest remedy for lost cards (or for students who never applied for a card) is displaying your teacher account number in a permanent place in your room.  Students can login to Mid-Continent using your teacher account number and access the content during your class without wasting time associated with locating their own account number.  If students have access to their account number and wifi at home, they can access all off the resources available through Mid-Continent while off campus.

I will list a few resources available through Mid-Continent, but all of their online resources are accessible through their website.  There is also printed material containing summaries of their online resources available in the OTMS library. (Descriptions are taken directly from the Mid-Continent website.)

World Book Online contains easy-to-understand encyclopedia articles, as well as links to related websites and magazine articles. An atlas is also included. Entries incorporate sounds, pictures, videos, and animations to make the information come alive. This resource is great for students of all ages.  (Fort Osage no longer subscribes to World Book Online because it is now available through Mid-Continent.)

Live Homework Help connects students with expert tutors for live, one-on-one help with homework assignments. Use Live Homework Help from your home computer or inside the Library to complete your homework assignments and improve your grades. Available seven days a week for English and Spanish-speaking students in grades K-12 from noon to midnight. In addition, the Skills Center is open 24/7 and offers thousands of worksheets, tutorials, study guides, practice tests, and more.

The WriteTutor Writing Center’s Live Tutor service is open from noon to midnight, seven days a week, and offers one-on-one online assistance in English and en Español. Students can get real-time help on reports, essays, and papers. Adults get real-time help with writing resumes and cover letters, polishing business letters and proposals, and proofreading papers and essays. Tutors explain the writing and proofreading process.

Access Video provides instant access to world-class documentaries, award-winning educational films, and helpful instructional videos covering a wide range of subjects, such as business, career planning, health, history, travel, and more. Access Video videos can be viewed on PCs, Macs, iPads, and other Internet-enabled mobile devices.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Search or browse the encyclopedia alphabetically or by subject to find in-depth articles, related websites, video clips, and more. Check out the world atlas, timelines, year in review, and the spotlight archive with exhibits on dinosaurs, thunderstorms, the Titanic, and more.

Announcing the #FOProud Twitter Challenge

Fort Osage is celebrating Connected Educators Month with a district-wide Twitter Challenge.  The 15 day challenge runs October 5-23 (Monday through Friday) and will offer a variety of short Twitter challenges for beginning, intermediate, and advanced Twitter users.  Tasks range from setting up an account for beginners,* to investigating Twitter chats for advanced users. Challenges (and links to helpful resources) will be Tweeted daily at 7:00 AM by @gilmorega, and a complete list of the challenges are available from the EdTech Coaches.  This voluntary activity is designed to build collaboration and community across the entire district by using the district hashtag #FOProud in all Tweets associated with the challenge.  By following #FOProud during the course of the challenge, participants will have the opportunity to engage in a district-wide conversation and connect with other Fort Osage educators.  

*This challenge is focused on teachers using personal Twitter accounts for professional development, sharing resources, and Tweeting celebrations.  Any Twitter accounts set up to represent Fort Osage (building, department, organization, or classroom) should be approved through Stephanie Smith using the Social Media Approval Form.

Transformation Through Collaboration: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is another video conferencing tool with many of the same features of Skype, but Hangouts is built into our Google accounts (faculty) and does require a separate user profile.  Hangouts will work with the webcam and microphone on a Chromebook (Skype will not work on a Chromebook) or on a desktop computer using a webcam and microphone.  Google Hangouts is currently disabled for OTMS Students, but it can be temporarily enabled for a project with a few days notice.

Google Hangouts in Education is a Google+ Community where educators can learn about Hangouts in the classroom and connect with other educators who want to use Hangouts in their classroom.

Google Connected Classrooms matches teachers with virtual field trip opportunities.  Connections are made through their  Google+ Community.  Submit a request to join the community, and click the join community link on the Google+ Community page.

Mystery Hangout “is a social game played with two groups of students. It’s a mix of Battleship and 20 questions.”  When you join the Google+ Community, you can propose a Mystery Hangout or connect with a teacher who has proposed a Mystery Hangout.  More information on Mystery Hangouts is listed here.

Several other resources on Google Hangouts are listed here.