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Do You Want to Form an Alliance With Me? (Take 2)

In March, I posed the following question: Do You Want to Form an Alliance With Me?  I asked educators around the world to join me in an exercise of blogging, commenting, and encouraging other blogging educators.  The response was amazing.  74 educators signed up to be a part of the alliance.  We committed to commenting on each other’s posts, following each other on Twitter, and encouraging one another in teaching and learning.  In the past two months I have grown immeasurably as a result of the alliance.  I have been introduced to exceptional resources, forward thinking teachers, new friendships, an incredible support system, and had the opportunity to peek inside of classrooms around the world.  I believe that those involved in the alliance have been equally inspired.  I asked the members of the current alliance to weigh in with their impressions of the alliance.  We compiled the answers on the following Wallwisher (click to enlarge). I have had many requests for an expansion of the Educator Blogging Alliance, today I am opening the alliance to other interested educators.  Before you fill out the form to join, I would ask that you read my original post about the alliance here. Here is a snip from the original post: “The Alliance… After reading the alliance article an idea began to take shape.  What if we, educational bloggers, were to form an alliance.  No need for the secrecy.  This alliance would be a group of educational bloggers who are committed to working together for the mutual benefit of all the members in the alliance.  We all have something valuable to add to the conversation of education and learning.  Each of us has a unique voice, outlook, approach, skills, strengths, and focuses. The goal of the alliance is two fold: 1. To encourage educators in their blogging endeavors whether they be new, established, or otherwise.  There are so many valuable additions to the conversation that are being overlooked. 2. To create a united network of educators working toward the larger goal of being heard by those not in education.  It is time for the general public to see us for the highly qualified professionals that we are. How the Alliance could work… 1. Commenting on each others blogs- in the Problogger article, those in the alliance committed to commenting on each others blogs at least once every week day.  The comments should stimulate interesting discussions, and encourage those involved that someone, is indeed, reading their blog. 2. Linking to One Another- This could be linking to related posts on another educational bloggers website, adding them to your blog roll, or naturally as a result of subscribing to one another’s blogs. 3. Social Bookmarking and Tweeting- This is my personal favorite suggestion, Twitter has done wonders for iLearn Technology as my PLN passes on my posts to others.  Promoting  posts on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, and StumbleUpon increases awareness of what educators around the world are doing that works.  It also connects those new to educational blogging. 4. Guest Posts- Guest posting could be an opt-in option for the alliance.  I know that it isn’t always possible to find time to write a blog post for your blog, let alone polish it enough for someone else’s blog. 5.  Thank You Page Promotions- When someone signs up to receive your RSS feed, they are generally taken to a page thanking them for subscribing.  This Thank You Page could also be used to promote other education blogs.  For example: “If you like iLearn Technology, you should also be sure to check out blog A, B, C, and D.” I hope you will join us in this undertaking, I believe that when educators work together, we become an unstoppable force for change.   I am putting a time limit on the enrollment so that we can get a good group together that is committed to supporting and encouraging one another.  If you would like to join us, please do so before May 21, 2010.  I will organize the group and have us up and running by May 28, 2010.  So, do you want to form an alliance with me? If you are in, please fill out the following form (inactive after May 21st).

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Piktochart: Create your own infographics

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Technology, web tools, Websites | Posted on 09-10-2012

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What it is:  Piktochart is a great web app that makes it easy to create your own infographics.  Piktochart has free and premium options.  With the free version, there are a handful of themes to choose from.  Premium themes are also available, if you are so inclined.  After you choose a theme, the next job is to change the mood and edit the information on the chart.  Students can add shapes, graphics (uploaded), theme graphics, and text to the infographic.  Students can add a chart where they manually input data or upload a cvc file.  This is especially helpful if they have been data collecting in another program.   There are some features that are only available to pro users.  Not to worry, there are enough available for free that you can make a pretty rockin’ infographic that gets the point (or data) across.

How to integrate Piktochart into the classroom: Piktochart is a superb way for students to work on those statistics/probability standards.  Being a visual learner myself, I love the way that infographics seem to make data easier to digest.  Piktochart can be used to display any type of statistical or mathematical data in new ways.  Students can show what they are learning in history, about the world population (miniature earth), science, in the book they are reading, geography statistics, etc.

The way that infographics allow students to blend learning across the subject areas is fantastic.  It isn’t just math; it is math, and art, and science/social studies/history/geography/technology.  Any time we can help students recognize the overlaps that exist in learning and subject area, it is a win!

A few weeks ago, students at Anastasis discovered that America’s biggest export is trash. They started digging and found statistics about the amount of trash Americans throw away each day (7lbs/person) and how much was recycled vs. what ended up in a landfill.  They also looked at statistics of what receiving countries like China and India did with the waste being imported.  It was fascinating!  Students created infographics showing what they had discovered in their research.  It was eye-opening when they translated that trash per person into a year’s worth of trash and figured out how many football stadiums that it would fill.  When they could see it graphically, it had an impact on their thinking.  The result was: “it is up to us to change this…”

Pretty amazing when the conclusion to learning is transformation…change.

Tips: In the free version:  Basic themes, 5 image uploads, Piktochart’s watermark. Pro version ($29.00/mo): 80 themes (and growing), additional customization, more image uploads, no watermark.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Piktochart in your classroom.

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