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The last post of the year

It has been a wonderful year.  I enjoyed being with my family and friends and have had some great opportunities to learn and share this year. My PLN of friends has grown with people from around the world and I have learned a great deal.  Thanks for everyone that has stopped by for a visit to my humble little piece of the internet.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year, and always remember to keep on learning.

Danny Silva

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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in About Me

 

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Danny Silva – iteachag – featured in the Merced Sun-Star

Recently, I was lucky enough to be featured on the front page of the local paper, the Merced Sun-Star.  It was a great opportunity to be able to share information about attending the Google Teacher Academy in London as a Lead Learner (presenter). I was also able to share how I have been able to include technology in my agriculture courses at Le Grand High School, including Agriculture Earth Science and Agricultural Communications, a ROP course.

Danny Silva at the Google Teacher Academy

To my surprise the article has been republished more than once on the internet. It was an editor’s pick for the ASCD Smart Brief and also posted on a blog site sponsored by the National Young Farmer Educational Association (NYFEA) – Agriculture’s Promise. It has been a great way to build my PLN with other Agriculture Teachers from around the country.

I would like to thank Nathan Quevedo, Public Information Officer for MCOE for sending out a press release and Jamie Oppenheim for writing a very nice article.  Here is the full article from the Merced Sun-Star‘s website.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2010 in About Me, Teaching

 

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How will the new Digg v4 change how we share information?

If you have never heard of Digg.com than you might not find this interesting, but if you are into sharing and finding new information then please, read on.  Digg.com is a place where the public decides what “news” ends up on the front page. I used to head to this website on a daily bases, sometimes multiple times per day to see what everyone was sharing.  That is, until Twitter came along.  Twitter allowed me to only follow the people that I wanted to follow and this allowed me to “filter” the information that was being provided.  Digg had all the content posted from anyone that wanted to share and of course, some of that was information that I was not interested in.  Now comes along the newest version of Digg.  Digg4 allows an individual to follow the people you want and you then have the choice to view just information shared and “Digged” by the people you follow or you can see Diggs from everyone.  This now brings what I loved about Digg and Twitter together.  The new version will also allow you to auto-submit content from a Blog or website that you own to Digg through an RSS feed.  Digg4 is in private beta at this time but you can sign up to get in early at http://digg.com/new.  If you get an invite and need someone to follow, I am iteachag on Digg and on Twitter.

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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Tech Tid Bit

 

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Google Teacher Academy Reflection

WOW!!! What an incredible six months this has been. It is hard to believe that it has been only that short of time since I was in Washington D.C. for Google Teacher Academy. I have gained so many friends, opportunities, and experiences from GTA. I have also had the opportunity to share my experiences with others through workshops and presentations.

Friends, colleagues and my PLN:
This is by far the most valuable part of the GTA experience. Attending a GTA allows 50 educators to come together to learn a lot (imagine drinking from a firehose), share and compare information and not just about Google but also about education. Part of the experience is also the opportunity to build a very strong network of individuals that are willing to share anything they have with one another and when someone puts out a call for help, there are countless responses; this is the Google Certified Teacher (GCT) community. The community stretches beyond the borders of GCT’s to all their own PLN’s which builds a worldwide network of people that have similar passions: education and technology.

Opportunities and Experiences:
I have had several opportunities that have stemmed from GTA. One of which is the chance I had to be one of the Lead Learners at the GTA in San Antonio, TX, the first GTA specifically for administrators. What an honor to be in the company of such outstanding educators for a second time. The title of Lead Learner was certainly appropriate. I think I got almost the same amount of knowledge from this experience as my first GTA. Not to mention the chance to build my PLN with 50 more like-minded people.

Part of being a GCT is to go and spread the knowledge you have have gained from attending a GTA, your GTA action plan. This can be done by presenting at workshops or confrences; helping others one-on-one or through inservices; spreading information through papers, blogs and podcasts; or even by making how-to videos or worksheets.

Personally, I have been able to do several of these things to fulfill my action plan. First, a colleague from school and I succesfully migrated our entire staff from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps for Education, including three days of tech training for each staff member, one of which was a complete day on Gmail and another on Google Apps tools. Second, I have presented at several workshops and conferences on using Google tools and technology in education including at the ASCD confrence at the Google Apps booth. Third, I have produced how-to videos and posts that I published to my blog and along with Andrew Schwab (Blog), the Technology Director at our school, produced a podcast series entitled Small School Big Tech.

I have to say having the oppurtunity to be part of a GTA has been outstanding and the benefits have not slowed down. I highly recommend applying if you have the opportunity; the benefits far exceed your wildest expectations.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2010 in Teaching

 

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“Greater Than Yourself” My PLN and the internet is helping me to accomplish the simple idea of “GTY”

I just finished reading a great book that a member of my PLN recommended (sorry I can’t remember who, let me know if it was you). The book “Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership” by Steve Farber is a quick read but could still have a profound affect on you.  I will not spoil it for you, but the idea is how you can give of yourself to help make others better and at the same time help yourself to continue growing.  There is an excellent part towards the front of the book that talks about social media and how it is increasing the idea of G.T.Y. (Greater Than Yourself).  It immediately made me think about how I have learned so much and have grown as an individual and an educator with the help of my PLN from places likeTwitter. Without my PLN I would not have been able to attend the Google Teacher Academy in Washington DC. I hope that because of my growth I have been able to give back to my PLN by posting information to Twitter and being a lead learner at places like the Google Teacher Academy in San Antonio.  I am hoping to further to the G.T.Y. mentality.  If you get a chance to check it out I hope it will inspire you as well and I hope to be able to grow with you through the interwebs.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2010 in Teaching

 

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Use the Power of Twitter to Build Your Personal Learning Network

Last week during our school’s bi-monthly collaboration day, I introduced the teachers to the idea of PLN’s or Personal Learning Networks.  To most of the staff a PLN was not something they had heard about before.  The last year and a half we have been talking about building a school wide Professional Learning Community (PLC), the idea of the PLC is the entire staff would have the same goals and expectations for the school, students and learning on campus.  For myself, the idea of a PLN is the building block to a better PLC.  Everyone is their own individual with their own ideas and backgrounds, meaning everyone will have their own PLN (that’s why it’s a “personal” learning network).  If every teacher can bring their own PLN, we make a larger, more experienced PLC.

This is were the power of Twitter comes to play.  In my last post,  Learning to Twitter, Tweeting to Learn I discussed how I thought Twitter could help us build a great PLN and help us to stay life-long learners.  Let’s just say I did not do the power of Twitter justice.  Yesterday I was part of my first educhat on Twitter.  I am not sure if any one individual was the person who came up with the idea; I do know that two people from my PLN played a very big  part, Rodd Lucier and Bud Talbot. What is educhat? It is a way that anyone interested in educational technology can come together and talk through Twitter.  Everyone involved in the discussion uses the hash tag #educhat.  A hash tag allows you to follow the discussion of all the individuals, whether or not you are officially “following” them (please see my last post if you are unsure about what it means to follow someone).

The true power of Twitter unfolded before my eyes.  During educhat, there were a large number of people that all came together for a specific purpose, to talk about educational technology.  The best part is everyone brought their PLN’s with them.

In a way our students are ahead of us in building PLNs.  They do it all the time on social media websites like Facebook and Myspace.  Now if we can leverage this power for education,  just think of the learning opportunities for our students.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2009 in Teaching

 

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Learning to Twitter, Tweeting to Learn

Twitter was a little like a new toy at first, I used it a few days and then stopped. I don’t know if I got tired of it or maybe I was just frustrated with the lack of interaction. I started by following all my tech favorites: Leo Leporte, Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, John C. Dvorak, Patrick Norton, Amber MaCarthur and Cali Lewis.  Then I also followed a couple of teachers that had a podcast or Blog on the internet like Rodd Lucier and Mr.Teacher.  Most of these people have so many followers that they can’t possibly follow everyone in return and so no interaction.

Lets take a step back and help some people out.  First off, Twitter is a service that lets you tell people what you are doing, feeling, ask a question, or simply interact with others all in 140 characters or less.  You can follow people and you will see what they “Tweet” (what you call a post on Twitter). People can follow you, and they are not necessarily the same people that you have followed.   Are we thoroughly confused now?  The best way to start is to follow people you think would have the same interests as you and hopefully the same type of people will follow you.  Now this is the best part of Twitter in my opinion.  This is where new networks and communities are formed.

So I stopped using Twitter until I found out I should search for people that would have the same interests as me.  I looked for more people involved in agriculture, teaching, teachers using technology in classrooms and people involved with the FFA.  I did not just search out internet superstars.  You see that was my problem at first.  I was following people that had great information that I could gather, but I had no interaction with.  I went from about 15 people I was following to about 50.  Within two days I was overwhelmed with people who started following me.

This is when Twitter came alive for me.  I first started by repeating information others had Tweeted, a Retweet.  It is kind of like a bibliography and a nice tweet all at the same time (The proper way to retweet – “RT @username tweet from person”) This will put you on someone’s radar that you like what they are talking about plus it helps promote the other person by allowing people following you to see someone else’s tweet.  The next step was to start “replying” to people (@username – tweet).  This will allow the person to see that you are saying something to them.  This is a bit like instant messaging except everyone can see what you have written.  The last thing you can do is Direct Message someone or DM.  A DM will get a message to a person without anyone else  reading it (if you do it correctly – D @username – tweet). You can only DM someone when you are both following each other.  Of course you can just tweet something of your own.

OK, enough about how to use Twitter.  What can it do for you?  You see, when I said earlier that Twitter came alive for me, what I meant was the interaction with others had started.  As I “met” new people by following them I was learning new things that people had tweeted and I was able to ask questions and find answers from several sources.  I am always after new ways to bring technology into the classroom and the education process either for students, teacher, or the entire school.  Twitter helped me to build a network of people that were Tweeting their ideas, Retweeting the ideas of others, or putting up links to websites that people had found useful.  I consider myself a life long learner, that is I am always looking for ways to increase my abilities and Twitter has helped me to stay on top of the cutting edge of Educational Technology or Education 2.0 as some people call it.

Twitter is used by many different people in many different ways.  I found out for me that as I was learning to Twitter, I was also Tweeting to Learn.  Twitter has allowed me to broaden my own PLN or Personal Learning Community.  I hope educators can see the power of Twitter for themselves as well as their students.  They need to see that it is not just another social media site that students “waste time on.”  What a great way to have students, teachers, and parents interact and share information and learning with each other.

For more information on Twitter check out these websites: mashable.com, Twitterforteachers, Once a Teacher… or search for Twitter on Google.

Here is a great presentation by Evan Williams: How Twitter’s spectacular growth is being driven by unexpected uses.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2009 in Teaching

 

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