Quickie Post! Tech-smash: #PeriscopeEdu and Swivl

About a month ago, I bought the first version of the Swivl.  It’s not the most recent model, but after weighing out the pros and cons, I chose to go retro for a few reasons:

  • It’s $300 cheaper.
  • I am almost surgically attached to my iPhone.  My iPad, not so much.
  • Did I mention it’s $300 cheaper?

After carrying the Swivl around in my suitcase and chickening out for four (count ’em, four) different conferences, I decided to give it a try today at #gafesummit Wisconsin.  Huge shoutout to Tara Linney, who encouraged me to blow the dust off this bad boy and give it a try during breakfast.

There were many challenges while initially figuring out how this thing worked.  The first challenge was getting the battery open on the lanyard remote without breaking it.  Once we got that open (thanks Meghan Haselbauer), we soon found out that the Swivl hardware would only work with iPhone 4 and below (i.e. the 30 pin connector) in order to pair with their app.  I have a 6.  At this point, I was a bit disappointed, but then I realized that I wasn’t married to the Swivl software, and began to consider other options for broadcasting.

The idea struck me to start a Google Hangout on one account, and then to invite myself on the account on my phone.  If that sounds complicated, trust me…it was.

First, I got crazy audio feedback.  This would not do.  Even when I turned the volume down all the way on my phone, I still mysteriously heard something. (Hindsight is 20/20…I could have just muted my computer microphone.)  I also had to click on my phone’s camera from my laptop, to ensure it was the dominant window.

Eventually, after maybe 20 minutes, I got all the kinks worked out.  I could have sworn I had it all figured out.  This was the fix!  But then, it hit me…


This would remove about 15 steps, and numerous opportunities for errors, that I will no doubt make while nerves strike me, as I will set up for my session.

If you feel so inclined, tune in right before 3 pm CST for my live #gafesummit Wisconsin session on flipped instruction.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

(P.S. If you hashtag or @ your Periscope videos and set the app to tweet, your tweet will include the hashtag or @.  I’ll be using #gafesummit and #periscopeedu.)

You May Not Be a Connected Educator If…

The topic of #Satchat this week is being a connected educator, and we are continuing that discussion on the Voxer group.  A very amusing, “You May Be a Connected Educator If…” discussion emerged spontaneously.

On Tuesday, I tried to formulate a thought that had been burning in my brain for some time, but wasn’t able to get it out.  Thus, I will use my preferred medium (blogging) as a second attempt.

In this post, I will adopt the awesome format of my #satchatvoxer friends, and debunk common misconceptions about being a connected educator (spoiler alert: having a Twitter account doesn’t make you connected).  I feel like I should put a disclaimer here, even though it should go without saying.  These are simply my opinions, and I welcome any constructive conversation.  Without further ado:

“You May Not Be a Connected Educator If…”

  1. …you have a social media account, but you haven’t signed on since you set it up.
    A lot of people equate Twitter with being connected, but one must put in work.  Simply having an account isn’t being connected.
    Quick fix: This one is simple: start engaging!  Check out CybraryMan‘s list of chats and educational hashtags.  Also, Susan Bearden‘s Tweech Me app is a great way to learn about Twitter.
  2. …you have tons of followers, but you only engage with a tiny fraction of them.
    Quick fix: Self-explanatory.
  3. …you treat people online as currency for your popularity, rather than as human beings.
    Some people seemed to lose sight of the fact that other people on social media are…well…people.  Following people, then unfollowing them once they follow back, in order to build follower count is rude and disrespectful.  The unspoken message is, “you are only a number. Your ideas don’t matter.”  I could go on, but you get the point.
    Quick fix: This is also known as narcissism. There is no quick fix.
  4. …you aren’t open to hearing what strangers (i.e. fellow educators) have to say, unless everybody else is following them, too.
    Social media is not middle school, but this behavior definitely is.  Being connected doesn’t involve a popularity contest.
    Quick fix: Create your own PLN, full of people that you value and connect with.  Recommendations from others can definitely be helpful, but I personally wouldn’t base the bulk of my PLN on “Who to Follow” lists.
  5. …you use social media only to broadcast, without sharing the work/ideas of others.
    Caveat: educators, please know that it is OKAY to share your ideas/your students’ ideas/ your school’s ideas online.  This is all part of building your brand, and it can be a very positive thing.  The point of this isn’t to discourage anyone from sharing…quite the contrary.  Share MORE.  Share everything that interests you, as it will likely interest someone else.  Just don’t forget to share the work of others, too!
    Quick fix: Check out awesome curation resources (such as Zite), which bring you great blog posts and articles on topics based on your interests.  You can even auto-schedule tweets throughout the day with resources such as Buffer (thanks to Shelly Sanchez Terrell for putting me onto it).

“Connected” is the operative word.  Just like you stick a plug into a wall socket, connections go two ways.  Sometimes we are the sockets, providing the energy; sometimes we are the plugs receiving it.  In my eyes, there is a huge difference between being an educator who uses social media and a “connected educator.”  Huge shout out to Brad, Billy, and Scott for putting this discussion back on the radar.