I attended the ISTE Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The International Society for Technology in Education Conference is an annual event where educators from around the world gather together to connect and learn. This year, I decided to create a daily reflection about my experiences at ISTE. I don’t blog regularly, but I do create tons of blog posts in my head! Though I have intentions of writing more blogs, sometimes the thoughts and ideas just never get shared, unless it’s in a tweet! On Twitter, you get 140 characters or less to share your content. For me, that size is a nice, “bite-sized” way to share tips, tricks, ideas, best practices and content related to educational technology. I don’t know who first coined the phrase “microblog” but to me it means a blog that is smaller in size, both in the written content and in the actual size of the blog file. A microblog is a quick-read and takes way less time to create than a traditional blog. It’s also a lot less stressful for me when compared with sitting down and composing a longer blog post.
Before #ISTE17, I had written exactly one other microblog post. In that original microblog post, I shared my experiences from a #CUEROCKSTAR event Twitter and on my Insta feed. I immediately loved the microblog format and knew that I could quickly get my thoughts and stories out and share them with the world. From then on, I realized that microblogging had great potential for sharing learning and experiences, both inside the classroom and out of it.
There is so much potential for what can be shared in a blog post. There is even greater potential for what can happen when we empower our scholars’ voices and allow them to share their stories and their learning with the world. Blogging continues to gain popularity as a classroom practice as teachers all over are providing pathways for student voice to be amplified. Apps like SeeSaw even have a built in blog feature that can be utilized to share authentic learning experiences. From sharing new knowledge to reflecting on their learning, and everything in between, blogs can be a way for our scholars to share their thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and ideas with others.
Learning how to use the PicCollage Kids app to create a microblog is actually quite easy. I created all of my ISTE microblogs on my iPhone, so if your students (or you!) begin to create microblog posts, it can easily be done across multiple platforms and on many devices. If you’re curious about the differences between PicCollage and PicCollage Kids, check out my previous “What’s the Difference?” post comparing the two apps.
To begin, launch the app. I prefer starting from scratch and building as I go, so I choose to begin in the “Freestyle” mode. Start by selecting a background color. Once you have a background, you can use the sticker tool and the letter stickers pack to create a title.The beauty of this app is that you can customize as you go or make any changes necessary with just a few taps on the screen.
Select any photos you wish to include at the top of your microblog. You can design the layout any way you want to. I chose to have a title and a topic as well as a photo (grid) at the top of each of my microblog posts.
Once you have a title in place and any additional features added to the top, it’s time to start writing. Remember, a microblog is meant to be a concise, but the writing can focus on any topic you choose.
When adding text, you might find yourself playing with the fonts, font colors, fill colors and sizing. Don’t forget to pinch and zoom as you explore your text box placement on the page. Think outside the box in this part of the microblog process. Perhaps you want to share text in a traditional paragraph style. Perhaps you want to start an additional PicCollage and use the grid templates to create a more structured layout. Consider using the cropping tool to change the shapes of your photos and add individual text boxes to explain each photo. Have fun with it! Photos, stickers, text boxes, and even searching for PNG images (in the Web Search tool) are all elements that you can use to individualize your microblog post.
Keep thinking outside the box when it comes to what content you want to share. Use the other apps on your device to create content and app-smash to make your projects more rich with content. I used the Maps app on my iPhone to identify which city I started in and which city I was going to. I took a screenshot of the map and then used the Clip tool in PicCollage along with emojis and text boxes to show the route that we were traveling. These simple tools can create great graphics that you can included in your microblog posts.
Share your microblog post! After all, sharing is caring. Moreso, sharing them is another way that we can celebrate learning. The more opportunities we provide our scholars, the more empowered they are when it comes to sharing their authentic voices with authentic audiences. No matter what grade you teach… microblogging with PicCollage Kids is a great idea!
Consider sharing your own professional learning in a microblog post. And… even though it’s summer, I love that educators have been reaching out to me and sharing their back to school ideas about the microblogs they want to do with their students! I’m also really excited to introduce microblogging with PicCollage to students in the fall. Until then, good luck with your microblog adventures. If I can help you get started, please let me know!
One more thing… I absolutely LOVE the free sticker packs that PicCollage Kids has included in their app. The cut-out letters are perfect for adding an element of fun to your PicCollage projects. This week, I decided to make my own cut out letter alphabet stickers. I just looked through the camera roll on my iPhone and realized I had a bunch of photos with text in them. I also realized that I needed to strategically look for other letters to finish my collection. Have you ever asked your students to use found text in your classroom to create something new? Perhaps you’ve created found poetry using other sources and remixed it into something new. It’s the same idea for creating your own custom letters.
You can do this in 3 simple steps…
- Take (or use) pictures of letters. You’ll start to realize how creative typography has become.
- Use the Clip and Scissor tools in PicCollage to cut out your letters. You can do this by double-tapping on the photo to access the Clip feature, then trace the shape you wish to cut out. Double tap your letters and tap Collect to save them as new custom stickers.
- CREATE! Have some fun! The possibilities are endless.
Ann Kozma is an Innovation and Instructional Support TOSA in Fullerton, CA. She is passionate about education technology and enjoys helping others learn how to integrate tech to transform teaching and learning. Ann is an Apple Distinguished Educator, PicCollage Ambassador, SeeSaw Ambassador and Leading Edge Certified as a Professional Learning Leader. She is a #CUERockstar Lead Learner and believes that we are all #bettertogether. She has 13+ years teaching experience and has spent the past 7 years teaching in and supporting a 1:1 iPad initiative. Ann occasionally blogs at techtravelteach.com. Connect with her on Twitter or catch her #SnapchatEDU stories at @annkozma723. She loves to share ideas and best practices with educators around the world.