#NOTATISTE15: Organizing Info to Actually Use3
July 1, 2015 by Dr. Robbie Barber
One of the biggest problems at any conference is the running from room to room, listening to great speakers, gathering swag and business cards, getting excited, exhausted and thoroughly overwhelmed. Sound familiar?
It is wonderful that others provide great websites and organized information but honestly, people organize for themselves. (They should.) Yes, you should bookmark and use some of these wonderful sites but you need to learn to organize for YOU!
Here’s how I’ve failed in the past, you may have done so too:
- Put all my notes in Excel, Word, or Evernote
- Created a Symbaloo for all of the links
- Wrote on the back of business cards to help remember why you have the card
- Blogged about favorites
This year, I’m reorganizing. I have so many useful things from #NOTATISTE15 & #GLMASI2015 and frankly, it’s overwhelming. Throughout the conferences, I found many things that I can use or may use so here’s how I’m going to categorize:
- Things I can use TODAY with subcategories like for video production and teaching digital citizenship. (I do those things EVERY day and I really appreciate the additional resources.)
- Things to teach my teachers for #TicklingTech. Short, easy-to-use, with immediate results. A lot of my teachers are afraid of failing at technology (they really aren’t afraid of using it, just feeling flustered). They just need someone to hold their hand.
- Things I want to use or have been thinking about starting – my students are going to learn some sort of coding this year. And, I’m thinking about having some try podcasting.
- Things I want my teachers to try – Mystery Skype or Google Hangouts with other classes. Once I get them started, I expect they will get hooked on their own.
- Organizing some teacher / student resources by content area. Maybe I can convince more teachers to explore more if I give them a starting point.
- Other cool stuff that caught my attention
- Huge websites that others organized materials on. I can always go back to the well and get more information.
I know it sounds like a lot of work to organize the material, but if you don’t, you’ll lose so much information. If you spent 4 days at a conference, it will probably take you at least 2 days to figure out what you have and how to organize. Make the time to organize and find the way that works for you. Virtually or in-person, there’s a lot of information out there.
I think the key with both attending a conference and participating remotely are:
1. Work out what you most want to learn about — so you can prioritize your learning.
2. Work out your preferred way of organizing the information you source and your preferred way of taking notes.
3. Have a follow up plan to continue to research and process the information you decided to focus on. This is the area I need to work on more (and probably many of us do the same). The period during a conference (or #NotAT ) are so intense that when it finishes we’re tired and don’t necessarily return to revisit what we were learning.
What works for me is flipping articles into a Flipboard magazine. writing all my notes into a Google Doc, and then follow up by reflecting (via posts).
Regarding Mystery Skype or Google Hangouts I really love Kathy Cassidy’s book Connected from the Start. While she shares her story of working with Grade 2 students the messages she shares are applicable for any Primary School class. Some of your teachers might find the stories she shares helps them.
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Having that follow up plan is absolutely key. I appreciate the book recommendation and I’m going to check it out. If it applies to Middle School, then I’m going to share. Thanks!
Kathy Cassidy’s book covers using blogs, Twitter, Skype with students. Most books are written for Elementary (Primary).
Anne Mirtschin is a great resource for Skype with older students because she has been doing this with her High School students for the past 7 years ( https://murcha.wordpress.com/ ).