Connected Learning Quick Start Guide
By Hearing First Team December 21, 2015
This is your Connected Learning Quick Start guide. Even just doing one of these things will put you on the path to becoming a successful connected learner, which means you can help improve outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Try and make it your goal to complete one of these Quick Start activities within the next week!
After reading through our Connected Learning blog series (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3), you now have a foundation for building your connected learning skills. In this post, we’re going to share exactly how to get started. This is your Connected Learning Quick Start guide! Even just doing one of these things will put you on the path toward becoming a successful connected learner, which means you can help improve outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Tip 1: Start using Twitter
Create a Twitter handle and learn how to get the most out of this social platform to create connections. This video goes into the basics, but you can find even more knowledge (like how to participate in a Twitter chat) with a quick search on YouTube. After you get everything set up, a great way to get started is to find LSL-related organizations and starting following those handles. Here are a few examples:
- AG Bell Association (@AGBellAssoc)
- NCHAM: The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (@InfantHearing)
- Cochlear America (@CochlearUS)
- MedEL (@medel)
- Advanced Bionics (@AdvancedBionics)
You can also review the Hearing First Following list for more ideas on who to follow. Next, check the hashtags those handles are using to jump into LSL-related conversations that are already happening.
Twitter is also great for finding related subject matter experts and organizations that can help you expand your practice, such as experts on early learning or organizations that promote early literacy and brain development. Check out these examples:
Tip 2: Start a LSL news feed on Feedly
Feedly is a news aggregator that compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources for the user to customize and share with others.” In short, Feedly is an RSS feed service that lets you organize, read, and share the things that matter to you – all in one place. Most importantly, a Feedly will help keep you up-to-date on the latest in LSL. With the growing number of online resources, an RSS feed is an often overlooked way to manage it all. They’re a real time saver! After setting it up, all you have to do is search for topics or subscribe to sites you already know and love.
The latest posts from each of the feeds you follow will show up in your Feedly each day. You can make it a daily habit to scroll through the updated list, share with colleagues via email, post to your social networks, comment directly on posts, or bookmark for later reading. Feedly is also available as a downloaded tool for your laptop (desktop), tablet, or phone.
Here are some great LSL feeds to follow:
- Us! Hearing First Blog RSS Feed
- Elizabeth Rosenzweig’s Auditory Verbal Therapy Blog
- Lynn Wood’s HearSayLW Blog
- Hearing and Kids Blog, edited by Jane Madell
Here’s what a Feedly collection might look like:
Tip 3: Follow the activities in the Connected Educator Starter Kit
This kit includes 31 days worth of online activities to get you started on your journey as a connected educator and learner. It’s like a “choose your own adventure” kit; you can learn at your own pace and spend as much time as you want on each activity. Even though this guide was created for educators, LSL professionals can use this advice just as much, as they have an aligned mission to improve outcomes for children. This guide teaches readers how to use digital tools that are equally appropriate for LSL professionals to use for connected learning.
In particular, check out the incredibly useful activities on Days 8, 17, and 22!
- Day 8: Digital storytelling | "Before the advent of online content and easy to use software, producing multimedia content required expensive equipment and technical knowhow. But nowadays we can create compelling digital content with nothing more complicated than a Web browser or camera. Digital storytelling is simply telling a story using digital tools.” - Page 17
- Day 17: Social bookmarking | "The Web contains more information than a thousand libraries, and social bookmarking is a useful and fun way to organize it all.” - Page 26
- Day 22: Collaboration with Google docs | "How do we build a collaborative culture in online spaces? What are the needed components? What does it look like? What should the connected learner do to make collaboration happen?” - Page 31
Here’s a sneak peak into the Connected Educator Starter Kit:
Our goal is for HearingFirst.org to be a place where parents and professionals can find knowledge and tools to improve their LSL practice — all with the common goal to improve outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. In the days ahead, Hearing First will be developing more ways for LSL professionals and parents to become connected learners, including a LSL community of practice for professionals and a support community just for parents. But you can begin your connected learning journey now by engaging in social spaces and becoming familiar with the digital tools that fit your learning needs.. If we all work together, we can ensure that children everywhere — no matter where they live or their family’s educational or socioeconomic background — would have access to reach their full potential.