rechargeWe all need Summer to re-charge and re-invigorate ourselves and our teaching. Here are 5 ways we can use our summer to become a Common Core EdTech Ninja.

Summer break is here for most schools in the United States. It’s a time to sip our favorite beverage and relax – but it’s also a time for us to concentrate on things we didn’t have time for in the hectic school year. With our internet-connected world, there are a plethora of resources we can access to hone our common core edtech skills. Here are 5 things you need to add to your “to do” list this summer to be common core – edtech ready.

1. Take In a Conference

There are several ways you can take in a conference.  First, you can actually attend a conference in person.  There are many great conference that take place over the summer.  Use Google to search out conferences in your area.  The beauty of a summer conference is that they give you time to reflect and act.  You have time to prepare for implementing the great ideas in your classroom.  Second, you can follow conferences that you couldn’t possibly attend in person.  You can follow their twitter hashtag, backchannel chats (like Todays Meet) or access recorded presentations from their conference websites.  These are set up so that anyone can get access to them from anywhere. This way you can read insights, access shared links, view recorded presentations, and find new people to follow. It’s the next best thing to being there in person! One “must follow” conference is the ISTE conference. The International Society for Technology in Education conference gathers edtech experts from around the world. This year it is in Atlanta from June 28 to July 1, 2014, but the conversation reaches worldwide. Follow #ISTE14 on Twitter to catch the best of what the conference offers.

2. Participate in Twitter

Twitter isn’t just a place to read comments/thoughts randomly.  Twitter is my most powerful personal professional development resource.  There are two ways I use Twitter.  I take part by following hashtags (discussion threads) and participating in Twitter chats. Hashtags are common discussion threads that people post on Twitter.  For a list of the most common education related hashtags to search, check out “The Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education.”  Twitter also hosts weekly twitter chats on all different topics.  Most Twitter chats are about an hour and are a great place to gather new ideas. I can honestly say that I have never walked away from a Twitter chat without learning something new.  A huge list of them is available at the Weekly Twitter Chat List.

3. Become a Google Apps for Education Ninja

The Ninja program assists students and educators in improving their skills using Google Apps for Education Products. The Ninja Program offers courses on all things Google App related.  It tracks your progress while you earn belts en route to becoming a ninja master. Access the Ninja program on their Google+ page and on a sample website.

4. Listen to Education Podcasts

The summer is filled with trips and mundane tasks like weeding the garden and cutting the lawn.  In many cases that’s prime time for listening to a podcast.  I use all three of those opportunities to listen to great education podcasts. Use Apple iTunes U or another podcast app on your smart phone or tablet and download podcast episodes to check out. Here’s a link to some to get you started.

5. Share With Others

We all have things we have developed that we can share.  If you learn something useful, share it with others. Tweet, email, and blog links to others.  If you are at a conference or event, gather new information in digital notes (like Google Docs) and share a link to those notes.  You can even share things you’ve developed on websites like Teachers Pay Teachers  and earn a little spending money while you’re at it!

What else can you do to improve over the summer? What resources can make you better on your way to becoming a Common Core EdTech Ninja? Share your ideas by commenting below!

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