As part of my work in LME 737 at Western Kentucky University, I will be completing a “20% Project” that is outside of the normal work I do. If you're not familiar with 20% or “20 Time” projects, you should check out this list of books and see how you can implement this incredible strategy in your classroom or school.
For my 20% project, I am creating two technology modules that may be used in future LME courses and may certainly be used in a course that you are teaching. My two modules are Social Media for Teachers and Advanced WordPress Techniques for Teachers. The first module is for teachers that are new to social media with the second module assuming that you have already created your own self-hosted WordPress blog and are ready to move to more advanced techniques.
Social Media for Teachers
Over the past several years, educators have flocked to social media to grow their professional learning communities beyond the walls of their schools and even their local districts. Through the use of widely-available user-friendly platforms, teachers have connected with other teachers across their states, their countries, and around the world. The purpose of this module is to give an introduction to teachers that have not yet begun integrating social media as part of their professional development and to allow them to experience the vast resources and support that are available through social media.
The target audience for this project will be educators (pre-service teachers, teachers, principals, administrators) who are either new to social media or have never used social media. Specifically, the module will be designed to for educators to learn how to use social media to grow their professional learning networks.
The project will begin during Week 5 of LME 737 and conclude within two months. During that time, tutorials will be created to show teachers how to sign up for a Twitter account, how to find and follow others, how to use hashtags to find resources, how to participate in a Twitter chat, how to use Twitter with your students even if they are under 13, and how to use Storify to create a collection of tweets and share them on a WordPress blog.
- WordPress site
- Training videos
- Graphic design site or software
Advanced WordPress Techniques
In today's world, the importance of teacher voice cannot be underestimated. Teachers have greater access to tools that can broadcast their ideas to others and give them the ability to share resources and make connections. Using a WordPress blog is one of the best ways for teachers to build a “hub” of their own on the web. WordPress currently powers around 25% of the websites online and is growing every day. To take advantage of this amazing platform, teachers should know how to use more advanced features of WordPress to make their content easier to find and to create a branded platform for their ideas.
The intended audience for this module is teachers who have already created their own self-hosted WordPress blog and have created a few blog posts. In the module, teachers will learn basic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for their blog posts, learn how to automatically share their posts to different social media platforms, learn how to schedule posts in advance, create shortlinks using their own domain, and learn how to create and add featured images to their blog posts.
The project will begin during Week 5 of my LME 737 course. Over the following weeks, video tutorials will be created to show how to install the plugins in WordPress, how to purchase and direct a domain name to your blog, how to create shortlinks, how to create basic graphics, and videos that cover basic SEO techniques and how to integrate them into your blog posts.
- Domain registrar
- Yoast SEO plugin
- Pretty Link plugin
- Jetpack plugin
- Graphic design software or website