Southern Illinois Ed Chat

eNewsletter - Issue No. 2 (June 3, 2015)

Summer Chat Schedule

The school year may be over, but the #siedchat will continue to roll on this summer with chats scheduled for June and July. Be sure to join us on select dates as we discuss best practices and new ideas as we plan for next school year. Be sure to check the official #siedchat website and follow us on Twitter at @siedchat.

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Free Webinars Offered from Blackboard and Campus Suite

There's nothing better than free professional development during the summer and the good folks at Blackboard and Campus Suite are providing a series of webinars that are sure to help you with your parent and community engagement strategies for next year. Click on the links for the online registration.


Campus Suite

Blackboard Webinar Series

Make The Connection: Engage K-12 Students and Families

  • The Power of Branding
  • Doing More with Less
  • Message Received?

Campus Suite Academy Webinars

  • Using Instagram to Tell your School Story with Photos
  • How to Use Twitter to Improve School Communication
  • Improving Engagement Using Today's Digital Channels
  • Is Google Apps for Education a good fit for my school?
  • How to Build a Social Media Media Program for Your School
  • How to Build a "Mobile First" School District

Expand Your Summer PD With Voxer

As an active participant in the Twitter Chat world, I've always enjoyed the opportunity to engage with other like-minded education professionals in hopes of picking up the "next big thing" in K-12 education. In fact, I've discovered so many new and innovative ideas throughout the Twittersphere, that I consider my PLN as my own little "Think Tank" or advisory council. I can now add the Voxer phone app to the list of great ideas. Voxer is simply a walkie-talkie app that's taken the Twitter Chat to the next level. I'm currently using the Voxer app with two groups - my school administrative team and with my graduate students in the Ed. Leadership Program.

The process includes setting up your Voxer account (it's a free app), adding people to your group, and then setting up a new Chat. This can all be accomplished in a very short period of time. The app then lets you communicate with your group through voice or text message and even allows the user to insert an image. Unlike a real-time Twitter Chat, participants can respond on their own time so there's no need to be in front of the computer to follow a hashtag. I typically add a chat question with the text feature and then let others respond with the voice option as they have the time and interest. For me, the big payoff is synching my phone to my car and then listening to the Voxer group chat through my Bluetooth. In a sense, it becomes your very own group podcast and a great resource for future discussion.

To learn more about Voxer, check here. You can also see the YouTube video below to get a better idea of how the Voxer app stimulates group conversations. If you have any interest in Voxer, you can follow me at ggoins902. Who knows, we might even start our very own Voxer Group for the #siedchat.

Ashley Hurley Teaches about @voxer in Education PLN's

Are You Ready for EdCamp?

It's never too early to start planning your Professional Development activities for the 2015-16 school year. In fact, many of us already have the wheels in the motion to assure that we have the resources available to meet out school improvement goals for next year. But if you're tired of the same old "Sit and Get" PD structure, I encourage you to schedule an EdCamp at your school for next year. What's an EdCamp?

An EdCamp is a user-generated conference - commonly referred to as an "unconference" that provides participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators. It's primary focus is on technology but it's really an open forum to share any new and exciting ideas. You can learn more at the official EdCamp website by clicking here. See the video below for a quick and easy explanation of the EdCamp Model.

EdCamp 101

Tech Tool: Try Canva for Great Social Media Graphics

Looking for a way to reach a larger audience through social media? Then Canva is for you. It's no secret that you will get more views of your social media posts with the addition of some type of picture or graphic. After all, you know the old saying, "A picture is worth a 1000 words." That's why the #siedchat team recommends Canva.

Canva is one of the easiest design programs available and like most great digital tools today - it's FREE. The web-based program incorporates the "drag-and-drop" interface that will make you look like a professional designer in just minutes. (Note: All of the graphics on this page and on my social media sites are produced with Canva). So if you're looking to expand your social media presence with infographics or just want some cool designs to promote your school events, then Canva is the place to be. Click here to get started.

Lights, Camera, Action: Two Great Live Shows for Educators

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Summer Reading List (#siedchat recommendations)

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)