Friday, August 15, 2008

Celebrate Your Colleagues (and use Web 2.0 to do it)!

This morning at our monthly staff meeting we honored an employee who has served in our organization for 20 years. It's a great accomplishment and many kind, heart-felt, inspiring things were said about him and his impact on literacy education in Minnesota. It got me thinking about how statements of this kind are absolutely invaluable for sustaining organizational morale, and also how difficult it can be to get everyone together in one place to honor the contributions of special individuals and teams.

Could we use Web 2.0 tools to say "thank you" and "great job!" even though we're not face-to-face? Could this help build community among colleagues who work at a growing number of sites throughout the state? Here are a few ideas:

  • Have a blog, wiki site, or Twitter feed set up (that everyone in the organization can post to and subscribe to via RSS) specifically for sharing "Thank Yous" and similar announcements.
  • Build a Social Network on Ning and use it to maintain connections with far-flung members and members who've left the organization
  • Use a wiki or social network to plan happy hours, potlucks, and other real-world social gatherings.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blogs and Wikis and Podcasts, Oh My!

Thanks to everyone who came to one of my technology workshops at Summer Institute last week! I had a great time facilitating and I hope you got some useful ideas to take back to your programs for the new school year.

To make it really "stick" remember that follow-through is key! Things you can do:

1) Request "writer" access to the Adult Ed Tech wiki where you can share your teaching ideas and links to your work.
2) Tell a colleague about what you learned. Direct them to the Adult Ed Tech wiki site so they can get resources too.
3) Create something right away! The tools you learned about are at your fingertips. Try them out again now before they get lost in the back-to-school rush.

Take care and keep on plugging away!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

5 Great Web Sites for ABE/ESL Teachers

One of my favorite random work-related activities is collecting web sites of interest to ABE/ESL teachers and staff. Here are a few of my recent discoveries (presented in no particular order):

1) Inspiration Lane a blog constructed as an online, classroom magazine for English learners. The content updates daily, and there are suggested activities for teachers and learners.

2) My Great World is a socially-built database of photos of places around the world. You can search for places and see pictures that others have uploaded, or you can upload your own photos to share with others. (Minnesotans, take note: pictures of Minnesota are few! Let's show off the beauty of our state by uploading some great pics!)

3) Why Reading is Hard explains the difficulty that children who don't speak English as a first language have when they are learning to read in English. Yes, it's about kids, but many of the same principles apply to adult readers. This is a great site to share with people who aren't familiar with literacy development.

4) Adult Ed Online is an online self-assessment tool that adult educators can use to chart their personal professional development needs in the area of technology. The tool allows you to indicate what your priorities are as well as assess your strengths and weaknesses.

5) Curriki is a wiki web site where teachers can share curriculum materials and teaching ideas. Although most of the resources here were originally created by and for K-12 teachers, many could be adapted for use with adult learners.

Have you used any of these sites? Or do you have others that you'd like to share? Let me know!