Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I've Been Wowed

I'm always on the lookout for the latest educational tools and gadgets so when I came across a tweet  about 10 New Educational Tools today, I quickly emailed myself the link and checked out the tools later in the day. All the tools look pretty promising, most of which are free, but there was one that really "Wowed" me.

Wowed is an iPhone app that enables users to create word clouds from tweets, webpages and more.  If you stick to the free version you won't have a great deal of creative choices, but I think it's pretty neat nonetheless.

You might be wondering what is so special about yet another word cloud tool.  Well, it's not the tool itself that wowed me, but rather the content it generated. It created from my Twitter stream and what I find so interesting and noteworthy is that it describes me to a tee. It portrays the educator I have evolved into after a year of tweeting and connecting with education professionals across the globe.  As with any word cloud, the larger the text, the more frequent the mention. I'll go over my top 10.
  • #reflectiveteacher Thanks to the #reflectiveteacher community I am pleased to say I am a blogger, but most importantly a reflective blogger.  I took on their first daily blogging challenge in September, then a weekly challenge in October and another daily challenge in November.  From that point on, I was hooked and I generally blog about once a week. While I'm still perfecting my craft, I sure have come a long way and I am both proud and grateful.
  • #ellchat  This was the chat that lured me into Twitter-land.  I was seeking to connect with fellow ESL teachers and found them.  This chat opened a door for me and put me on the road to connectedness, discovery and growth.  I still try to make the chat every Monday night at 9:00 p.m. ET but there are many other chats I chime into as well and it all started there.  Next week, I get to co-moderate it with Shaeley Santiago (@hseslteacher).  As an ESL teacher, this is at the heart of my professional growth and so naturally it made second place.
  • #GCHchat, #goodcallshome and @WHSRowe  Last summer, I learned about the #goodcallshome movement started by Rik Rowe (@WHSRowe).  Coincidentally, I had already set a professional goal of increasing parent contact and so this movement was very timely. Best of all, my PLN would keep me accountable.  Consequently, in January 2015 #GCHchat made its debut with Rik and I co-moderating the monthly 30-minute chat.  The chat serves as both a point of celebration and encouragement as we attempt to encourage and recruit teachers to start the practice of making #goodcallshome. There are no words to express the motivation we experience as we focus on the good and communicate that to parents.  It's a win-win situation.  Parents are pleased (often shocked) which improves parent-child relationship.  Kids are happy and encouraged.  Bottom line, our classroom culture improves. 
  • Students This should have been number one because they are the reason why I get up every morning, go on Twitter, write this blog and hunt for new tools and techniques. They make my world go round.
  • #Edchat I use Twitter strictly for professional development and therefore, I add the #edchat hashtag often, especially when the tweet may not appear directly related to education. Often times I add it at the end of a motivational quote.
  • Join, Good, Great By itself, these words may seem meaningless, lame, cliche.  However, in the grand scheme of things, they are pretty significant.  They reveal the enormous amount of positivity, growth and empowerment we generate when we grow our PLN.  You see, by "joining" Twitter I have connected with "good" people who are seeking "greatness" in students, colleagues and the world at large.
It's been an amazing year and the best is yet to come! I encourage you to check out the @wowedapp and see what it reveals about you.