Southern Illinois Ed Chat

eNewsletter - Issue No. 1 (March 23, 2015)

Welcome to the #siedchat eNewsletter

Hello Friends. We are pleased to announce the launch of our very first #siedchat eNewsletter.


With the success of our weekly Southern Illinois Ed Chat (#siedchat), we felt it was time to package some of those great ideas and resources into our very own eNewsletter. Below you will find a few tips and suggestions to enhance your social media experience and expand your connections through your Professional Learning Network (PLN).


We hope you will join us for our weekly chats at 7 pm CST on Wednesday nights. Just use the #siedchat hashtag to participate. You can also find past chat archives at our new website listed below. As always, we welcome your feedback and hope to see you soon on #siedchat.


You can stay connected with #siedchat in a variety of ways:


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Experience The Next Big Thing: TeacherCast.net

Remember the feeling you had when Twitter changed your outlook on social media? Sure you do...building your PLN, making new connections, using #hashtags, joining chats, taking that first idea and putting it into action... Pretty cool, right?


Now it's time to experience that same feeling again with the TeacherCast Broadcasting Network. The site includes podcasts, blogs, online courses, tech training videos and even a live show with Google Hangouts (GHO) on Sunday nights. Most importantly, the entire platform is based on "best practices" in education.


The site's creator is Jeff Bradbury, a nationally known speaker, writer, broadcaster, teacher, consultant and educational media specialist in New Jersey. You can follow Jeff at @JeffBradbury and at @TeacherCast. The site is so good you can even use many of the videos and podcasts on your Teacher PD Days. Be sure to tell Jeff we said hello.

Create Free Websites with Weebly

For many educators, the thought of building your own website can be a little overwhelming. It's even more challenging if you lack the knowledge and skills of your "tech savvy" friends and colleagues. But never fear as there's a quick and easy way to build your own site like a seasoned pro.


The solution is Weebly.com, a free drag-and-drop interface, that actually lets you get your site up and going in minutes. We currently use Weebly for the #siedchat website (see link above) and it's also a perfect way to introduce students to creating websites. For educators, Weebly is also an excellent tool for building your very own professional brand. (We'll talk more about Branding in the next issue). Our favorite Weebly feature is the ability to embed Tweets. Not only can you embed your Twitter profile widget, but you can also post individual tweets such as the "Tweets of the Week" that are featured on the West Frankfort School Website.


Although the free version will meet all your needs, Weebly also offers some very affordable pay options that includes an advanced stats feature and the ability to use your own domain name. You can try other website solutions such as Wix, GoDaddy, Web.com, etc., but we have yet to find a better free platform than Weebly. Give it a try.

Tech Tip: Two Great Tools for Twitter Chats

If you are new to Twitter Chats, then this tip is for you.


Twitter Chats can often move very fast for newbies and it's difficult to follow along and keep up with the traditional Twitter page or app. That makes it a challenge to keep up, especially when you need to use multiple devices (lap top, iPad, iPhone, etc.) at the same time just to see all your chat activity. But now there's a better way thanks to sites like Tweet Deck and tchat.io.


Tweet Deck is a web-based platform that has the look and feel of your very own Twitter Dashboard. It simply allows users to add multiple columns to the screen at one time. Just click on the + button and set up your very own custom Twitter page. We currently use Tweet Deck for all #siedchats and use the home screen, search (#siedchat) and notifications columns to keep things moving. You can also post from multiple Twitter accounts from the Tweet Deck dashboard. Most recently, we discovered the tchat.io site and fell in love with it's simple look and features. It really brings the chat to life and even features a pause button in case you get lost or fall too far behind.


So the next time you join the #siedchat, be sure to give Tweet Deck or tchat.io a try.

Build Your PLN (#siedchat recommendations)

What Happens Online Every 60 Seconds

We recently stumbled upon a great blog post and graphic that provides a snapshot of just how quickly things move on the Internet. The graphic was produced by Qmee.com. This is a great infographic and a valuable resource to use with students.
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Video of the Day

Stressed about PARCC Testing? Watch these students "Shake It Off"
Shake it off - PARCC testing video

About the Southern Illinois Ed Chat

The Southern Illinois Educators Chat (#siedchat) was first launched in December, 2014, by Dr. Greg Goins, a school superintendent in southern Illinois with 15 years of experience in school leadership. Each week, chat participants include school administrators, teachers, education experts and advocates from southern Illinois and beyond. Join us on Wednesday nights at 7 pm CST for the Southern Illinois Ed Chat (#siedchat)
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