Monday, December 17, 2012

20 Critical Vocabulary Terms for EdTech

Educational Technology has become a staple in a large portion of schools across the country.  Often times it is placed in classrooms and terms are used at conferences that have little meaning to many teachers.  Like the lingo of our students, teachers need to be aware of the lingo used relating to educational technology.  There are terms and aspects of educational technology that need to be shared and below you will find some of the most popular to date.  I hope this list can be used to help clarify questions teachers might have about this growing list of terms.

Web 2.0 - The term given to the current age of the World Wide Web where the web is used for interacting with a web app, and collaboration and sharing with others.  Most common examples include Wallwisher, Glogster, Prezi, etc.

PLN - Stands for Professional Learning Network and is the communication and relationship between educators with whom information and resources are often shared.  It is an engagement between people that often starts online, but then moves to the real world through conferences and other connections.  Twitter and Blogging are the most common place that PLN's grow.  For more information about PLN's, visit Project PLN.

Social Media - In a nutshell, it is media that is for the purpose of sharing and interacting socially.  It allows media content to be opened for discussion.  Social media can include text, audio, video, images, podcasts (see below), and other multimedia communications.  YouTube and Skype are good examples.

Social Network - A web-based service that allows individuals to create an online public or private profile with which to share connections with others and engage in discussions and sharing.  Facebook, Twitter, and Edmodo are examples.

Digital Native - This is the term given to the generation of students that have grown up in the digital world and are using technology to communicate, educate, share, record, and learn about society.  This term often implies that students have an adapted sense of how to use technology easier then previous generations.  For more information and reading, I recommend From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom and also Born Digital.

BYOT/BYOD - Bring Your Own Technology/Devices is a movement where school districts, schools, and teachers are encouraged to allow students to bring and utilize the technology they already have.  Whether it be a Phone, iPod, iPad, Kindle, laptop, or other device, they have it, so let them use it.  For more information, read Districts Struggle with BYOT Policies or see the video below by NBC.

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Cloud Computing - We often hear "In The Cloud" and what they are talking about is services and applications that host data, files, and information at remote servers around the country/globe and then this data can be accessed from any device.  Imagine taking your computer's hard drive and making it a website; you can then visit that website when you need access to your computer.  The most common understanding of this is cloud storage, which is applications like Google Drive and DropBox where files are stored "in the cloud," therefore available from any device through logging in to the service.

TeachMeet - An unconference, meaning participants are usually in control of their own conference.  TeachMeet is an informal gathering of educators where the sharing of ideas and lessons used in their classrooms is by educators is encouraged.  Often times they contain short information sessions that provide enough time to be introduced and then be given contact information for more opportunities to network.  To find one in your area, type in "TeachMeet" followed by your state/province/country in a Google search to find one.  You might also look at bordering regions as well.

Hashtag - If you are an avid Twitter user then this term is nothing new to you, but if you are not, then the best way to describe it is a categorization of tweets that are sent on Twitter.  Hashtags are important because it provides a way to find information you need on twitter.  The "#" is used in front of the text you are wanting to search.  Some popular examples are #edchat, #edtech, #elemchat, and then chats for each major subject area #sschat, #mathchat, #scichat, and #engchat.  If there is a term that you want to find tweets or information about, just place a "#' in front of that term.  You do not have to have a Twitter account to do so, just search for it on the Twitter Homepage.

Wiki - A Web site that is developed collaboratively by multiple users and allowing any number of users to add and edit the content on the site.  That last part is why it is important that we are careful when letting students use Wikipedia as a resource.  Wiki's offer great opportunities for classroom, school, and district pages.  Wikispaces is an example of a resource for creating your own wiki.  See my posts related to Wikis

Digital Storytelling - Ever been to a wedding, birthday party, or anniversary party and seen a continuous loop of pictures?  That is an example of a Digital Story.  In the classroom, students and teachers can add video, audio, and present using digital story telling.  See my posts related to Digital Story Telling to find options for creating your own.

Backchannel Chat - During lecture, discussions, readings, and video, teachers could be having a real time chat while those activities are happening.  Backchannel Chat allows an avenue of communication for students to discuss what they are learning, while they are learning.  TodaysMeet and TitanPad are popular options.  You can find other backchannel chat options in previous posts I have written.

Screencasting - You are struggling to know how to do something on your computer.  You visit YouTube and type it in and there a multiple videos showing you how.  That is Screencasting.  The idea is you record your computer screen with or without audio and create a video of what is happening on your screen.  A great resource for when trying to showcase a website or concept for your students.  Screenr and Jing are options for creating your own screencast.

Audience Response - Often times called Clicker Systems, but with mobile technology taking off, the aspect of actually using a clicker is starting to diminish.  Using a web-based software or power point slides, teachers can ask a question and students use a device to respond to that question, which provides real-time results for the teacher.  Poll Everywhere and Socrative are popular options for this tool.

Podcast - Think of a weekly radio or TV broadcast, and make it a file for showing/listening to it on an iPod or MP3 player.  A podcast is a digital audio or video recording that is most likely part of a themed series that can be downloaded from a website to a computer or device.  Most can be found on iTunes but many teachers create their own as a way of communicating with parents and students.  Here are 10 Ways to use iTunes/Podcast in the classroom.

Infographic - A graphic or visual representation of information and data presented in a quick and clear method.  Infogram,, and are three examples of sites for creating infographics.  For more information about inforgraphics, click on the sample below.
Digital Citizenship - The expectations, behaviors, and rules for internet, email, social media, and social network use by not just students, but all people.  It also emphasizes the importance of protecting privacy and being aware of misguided information on the web.  For more information visit Digital Citizenship for more information and this useful PDF: Digital Citizenship - Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior.

Browser - The software application for searching and retrieving information while travelling around the World Wide Web.  There are several browser options out there available to users.  Internet Explorer is probably the most widely used in schools, although Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome are making serious headway in amount of users. 

Blog - Often times referred to as an online journal, but considering how most of them are shared, it would not be a private journal.  Basically a blog is a website that contains the writings, opinions, thoughts, experiences, and resources of an individual or group that is shared on a regular basis.  If looking to start a blog, Blogger and Wordpress are free options and here are 10 Tips.  If looking for some blogs to read I suggest here and here.  Here are some tips for using Google Reader as well...which helps you organize blogs you are reading.  Another great way to find education blogs to read are the EduBlog Awards.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) - This is a service provided to help visitors of blogs/websites to "subscribe" to them using a service like Google Reader and as content to those sites.blogs are updated, they are automatically fed to you.  As new content is added, you don't have to check back and see what it was, as it is fed to your Reader.  A great way to follow blogs and other sites. 

BONUS: Creative Commons - As people publish information to the web, Creative Commons lets visitors and users know about the ability to republish the information.  So, if you start a blog, this is how you permit the use of the material.  Especially important if you have student or classroom blogs that you utilize these licenses.  For more information, visit Creative Commons

What terms would you include that I might have left out??

Apps for the 12 Days of Christmas - Otixo

With an increase in the use of cloud storage, whether it be DropBox, Google Drive, Box, or SugarSync, organizing and remembering what files you saved where can be a daunting task.  Otixo is an App that provides users a way to access and organize their files across multiple cloud storage apps.  For personal use, Otixo is free, but has a limit of 2GB of Bandwidth; meaning the amount of network traffic or data transfer that you use while interacting with your files in Otixo.

The App also allows users to preview documents and images before opening them.  Users can copy and move files from one service to another without downloading to your computer. It's as easy as drag-and-drop.  One extra feature is called Spaces, which allows users to create a space for sharing files and folders with others.  These Spaces allow you to determine what access is provided to those that you collaborate with.  You can learn more by watching the video below.

If you find yourself using multiple Cloud based storage services, then Otixo is definitely worth looking into.

Apps for the 12 Days of Christmas - Day One - Edcanvas
Apps for the 12 Days of Christmas - Day Two - Cubby
Apps for the 12 Days of Christmas - Day Three - NextUp