Saturday, August 27, 2011

Invitation to Collaborate

Are you a teacher of gifted and talented students? Would you like more ideas and resource for your classroom? Are you interested in networking with others in gifted education? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should consider joining The Gifted Teachers Exchange Wiki.

I launched The Gifted Teachers Exchange Wiki in July of 2011 as an interactive space for PreK-12 gifted and talented teachers to share units, lesson ideas, best practices, and much more. Members are encouraged to upload content and contribute to the community library of resources. This fast growing wiki is an ideal a place to network with other educators. Right now, there are about 66 members who come from different parts of the United States, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. The wiki even has a Skype Contact List to connect with other GT classes or educators! The idea is to join, share, and collaborate.

The Gifted Teachers Exchange also has an accompanying group on Diigo, a popular social bookmarking site. With this group, members are able to browse and add their favorite bookmarks that pertain to gifted education, learning, and teaching. To browse and join the Diigo Group, click here.

Interested in joining? Follow these steps:

1. Click here to request access.

2. Include your email address (preferably from your school or district).

3. In the Message box, tell me: a) where and what grade levels you teach, b) your Twitter handle (if applicable), and c) how you heard about this wiki.

4. Enter the letter in the box at the bottom and hit the “send to administrator” button.

5. Next Steps: You will be notified by email when your request is approved for the wiki and also receive an email invitation to the Diigo group once you’re approved.

I hope that you consider joining and look forward to sharing.


I would like to thank @KTVee for creating our snazzy banner. I would also like to thank @KTvee, @edu_ms_pagano, @ColoradoGKN, @ljconrad, @ladyhello, and @rondmac for spreading the word on Twitter about the Gifted Teachers Exchange Wiki. Feel free to follow and use the #gtew hash tag on Twitter for updates and to spread the word!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gifted 2.0: Skype

What is Skype?

Skype is a video chat tool that connects people worldwide by allowing users to make video calls and voice calls to other users for free. Other features such as instant chat, to type messages to those on your contact list, and screen sharing, where users can share their desktop during chats, are also included. And for a small monthly fee, you can make a group video call with up to 10 people at a time.


Skype has the capacity to connect gifted learners with the world and to offer enriching, real-life learning experiences. Some ways to use Skype in the gifted classroom include:

1. Bringing in Expert Voices
2. Cultural Exchange
3. Sharing and Collaborating

Here is a video of my, Skype in the Classroom session at the Reform Symposium Global E-Conference in July. I outline how to get started, places to find partners, and project ideas.


To accompany my presentation, I have included a Resource Handout that includes my favorite resources for Skype.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gifted 2.0: Social Bookmarking

What is Social Bookmarking?

Social bookmarking involves saving bookmarks on a site rather than a web browser and sharing these publicly online. This is done by setting up an account with an existing social bookmarking site such as, Diigo, Google Bookmarks, Livebinders, ZooTool, and Symbaloo. With most of these sites, users are able to:

1. Create bookmark lists, which can be sorted by category or topic. This makes it easier to retrieve or find them later on.

2. Import existing bookmarks from one’s web browser. This is a good strategy to back up all your bookmarks and to have access to them from any computer.

3. Export bookmarks saved on one bookmarking site to another (i.e. From to Google Bookmarks or Diigo). This is recommended as backup because there’s no guarantee that a site will be around forever.

4. Cross-post between two sites (i.e. between Diigo and Again, it is recommended to back up any bookmarks across sites just to be sure.

5. Set up a free educator account, where teachers are able to set up student accounts.

Just as blogs connect people to what others write, social bookmarking allows for people to see what others read (Richardson, 2006). Social bookmarking is very collaborative in nature. Its labeling and tagging features offer a convenient way to keep track, organize, retrieve, and share bookmarks with others (Eckstein, 2009; Witt, 2009). Also, several social bookmarking sites have groups that one can join to connect with other users on that site. If you come across a link that you like, you have the option of connecting with the user who posted that link by joining their group or adding their bookmark lists or links to your own lists. In this context, social bookmarking creates a community of researchers (Richardson, 2006).


Social bookmarking can be a valuable tool for the gifted classroom. The most common use of social bookmarking can be found in research type projects, where students can gather, label, and organize links that they come across during their research. However, there is much more to social bookmarking. In order to push students to higher order thinking, particularly in evaluating, teachers can have students compare and contrast links that were bookmarked by different groups or individuals on any given topic. Students can explain their reasoning for saving that bookmark and why they felt those were important resources.

Here are other project ideas that incorporate social bookmarking:

1. Service Learning Projects- Students can compile a list of community resources to help plan or organize a service learning project.

2. Career Exploration- In researching a profession or career students can gather sites that outline career options and schools, universities, or resources pages that outline the preparation required for these.

3. Independent Research Projects- Students can gather their own resources for a particular topic and share or compare bookmarks with other students with similar interests.

4. Favorite Classroom Sites- As a class, students can collect bookmarks to gaming, puzzles, or other favorite sites that they visit during class. This list can be embedded on a class blog or site to share with parents and the global community. This list also provides access to the sites when students are not in school.


7 Things You Should Know about Social Bookmarking (PDF Document)

Webtools4u2use: Social Bookmarking

Livebinder on Social Bookmarking in the Classroom

How to Share Links with Students
Cybraryman’s Social Bookmarking Page

Educational Origami Starter Sheets (For Diigo and Delicious)

Using Social Bookmarking for Differentiation

Social Bookmarking Roles (Shared by @tcash on Twitter)

Educational Origami: Social Bookmarking Rubric


Eckstein, M. (2009). The Gifted Kids Network: 2008 Pilot. Gifted Child Today, 32(2), 20-28.

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Witt, D. (2009). Strategies for the tech-savvy classroom. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.