01 Feb 2016

PD in your PJs! On January 18 many staff members explored how to use Twitter for professional development and to showcase the amazing work our kiddos do every day. It’s easy to make a Twitter account, but maintaining the habit of posting and reflecting is a bigger challenge. One great way to learn from other educators and share your knowledge with the world is to connect via a Twitter Chat. Chat moderators create a list of questions related to an education topic and you connect with other educators from around the world as you discuss these prompts.

Go to this site to find a list of different twitter chats, such as #edchat or #PBLchat.

Participate and tweet @ShakopeeDLC to let us know which chat you’ll be doing!

Here’s a link to a great guide on how to participate.



24 Sep 2014

Quite often you may find yourself wanting to jazz up a publication that you're creating, whether digital or print.  CANVA ( is a fabulous resource that all of us on the DLC team have found to be a spectacular and fun web tool for photo editing.  With CANVA, you can create custom images, as well as:

  • Twitter Headers
  • Facebook Cover PhotosYOUR
  • Pinterest Posts
  • Blog post images
  • Twitter/FB posts
  • Business Cards
  • Presentations
  • ...etc.


The best part is that you are limited only by the time you'll want to spend on this great web application, because the program, itself, is FREE!  You pay only for images you purchase through the program, but you can also upload images that you already have the rights to use.

Curious and want to check it out?  Take a look at some of their tutorials:

Have fun and give it a try!



Image credit: Auero and Canva, Absract Light Trails by noolwee

03 Feb 2014

Recall the very best professional conference you’ve ever been to as an educator.  Was it perhaps one in which many of your other professional development experiences are measured against? What was it that made that conference something that was memorable and engaging for you?   


I’m going to take a guess and suggest three qualities that made that experience a defining point in your professional career:


1.  It was directly applicable to what you’re doing NOW.

2.  It was geared specifically to your area of interest and expertise.

3.  It encouraged and valued YOUR participation, and at YOUR comfort level.


Building your Professional Learning Network through Social Media can create an atmosphere of these qualities--with one advantage even over the conference you attended--

You create when/where/how you engage your network.  
Yes, even with you wearing your pj’s and slippers drinking coffee!


If you’re just getting started with building your PLN, it may be a bit daunting.  (Kind of like walking into a filled and noisy conference hall where everyone but you seems to know what the conversation is!)  But, for the sake of getting more acquainted with this powerful resource, let’s consider Twitter.  


Start to build your PLN in 5 Easy Steps:


1.  Create a Twitter account at

2.  This is a fabulous opportunity to lurk around.  Seriously--it’s not creepy!  Take your time and find the voices that resonate with you and interest you.  Daunting? Here’s a starting list!

3.  “Follow” those people that interest you and watch how they engage the communities of people they follow and how they communicate.

4.  Find a couple of good “chats” for your content area.  Again, watch the conversation, and soon…(Remember the coffee and slippers? Check out the Saturday morning #satchat 6:30 a.m. CST)

5.  Contribute!  Unsure of the Twitter “conventions”? Read here!


Thankfully, the teaching community on Twitter (and G+, and Pinterest….) is one of the friendliest and uplifting communities in which to explore and experiment with this powerful tool.  No doubt, once you engage on a consistent basis for even 15 minutes a day, you’ll find the value of the PLN you’ve been creating to be worth a dedicated amount of time.  


Have a success story in building your PLN?  Let us know!


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