Tag Archives: EdTech

The Most Common Twitter Terms Explained


There are lots of acronyms and shorthand terms thrown around in the Twittersphere. That is why I published this summary of the Most Common Terms used on Twitter; plus a mixed bag Connected Educators will find handy. Have you participated in a Twitter Chat before? Are you a Teacher new to Twitter? Then you will find these terms on the stream (feed) or when directly messaged (DM) by another user (Tweep).

★ Common Terms ★

Tweet – A post made on Twitter by a user. 140 characters in length (however analytics reveals the sweet spot is between 71-100 characters)

Follow – If a user’s tweets appear in your stream, then you are following them.

Follower – Someone who is reading your tweets

Unfollow (De-Friend) – This happens when someone stops reading your tweets. If you need to unfollow a Twitter account, click unfollow in their profile, and you have unsubscribed to their account or tweets.

@ (Reply) – The @ symbol is used to reply to a Twitter user.

Example: @tomwhitby Thanks for writing thought provoking articles that elicit deep thinking.

Username – What you are called on Twitter. Your username will always be preceded by the @ symbol.

Example:  My username is @AnibalPachecoIT

# (Hashtag) – A hash symbol is used to comment on a particular topic in a tweet, so users searching Twitter can find what they are looking for. Searching for #edtech will give you the top tweets using this hashtag. As an alternative, you can search all tweets, or use a hashtag tracking service. I currently use Twubs: @twubs because it allows me to scroll through a hashtag stream, pause it, resume and even subscribe to my favorite hashtags for free.

Link – Including a URL in your tweet. Caution should be used here since you only have 140 characters for each message. Although this restriction was recently removed, I would recommend the use a URL shortener service. Bitly is my favorite because it’s free, allows you to create URL collections, and it let you keep track of who, when and how many times your links are clicked on.

PLN – Professional (Personal) Learning Network, a group of individuals that your can rely on to help you develop yourself as a professional. They also provide a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and support one another.

Tweeter (Twitterer) – An individual who uses Twitter

Tweeple – People who use Twitter

Tweep(s) – Twitter friends (users), your most frequently contacted friends. Think about ‘Peeps’

Twittersphere – The collective group of people (tweeps) who tweet.

Twitterati – A-list Twitter users; the Twitter élite. These usually have a large number of followers, are somewhat famous and considered thought leaders (change agents) inside the Education Twittersphere.

Some of my Favorites:

@adambellow • @cybraryman1 • @tomwhitby •

★ Action Terms ★

RT (Re-Tweet) – Reposting something that has already been posted on the Twitter stream. RT usually precedes the original post to give credit to the user who published it first.

Example: RT @plnaugle: Remember FAIL = First Attempt In Learning. Failure should be embraced as an authentic learning opportunity. #edcampusa #NT2T

*Although Twitter has an automatic RT button you can go “Old School” by using a browser extension like Classic Retweet for Chrome. A similar add-on is available for Firefox.

DM – This is a Direct Message sent to a Twitter user. However, you must follow that user before (DM) messaging them. DMs don’t appear in the Twitter public stream. They instead go directly to your Twitter inbox. *Think of this as a hybrid between e-mail, instant messaging or SMS.

• Favorite – When you favorite a Tweet it indicates that you like that specific post on your feed. You can find all of your favorite Tweets by clicking on the favorites link on your profile page. I use the favorite feature to bookmark tweets that I would like to reference later or to acknowledge a mention on my feed.

Via – This one is often used in place of RT, once again to give credit to the publisher. *Think of this as citing your sources on Twitter.

Example: Learning Technology is About Relationships – via @TeachThought #edcampusa #learnbetter

MT – The act of modifying another user’s tweet. It is considered bad etiquette to do this, unless the modification is needed to make a correction, or to add information to the original tweet.

HT (Heard Through / Hat Tip) – This one is used to add credit to the source from which you originally gathered the idea for your tweet.

★ Your Profile: Connecting The Dots ★

Your profile is the first thing people will see and a digital reflection of who you are as an individual. I recommend that your profile is public. The twittersphere wants to know what you are all about, your interests passions and if they are interested in hearing your voice. Therefore if you are trying to build a PLN and build the relationships, it can foster, What is the point of having a Private account only a selected few can see?

People will read your profile when deciding to follow you. Make sure that you crack the egg by posting a picture or avatar that represents you. Twitter assigns everyone an egg as their profile picture by default. If you do not change your picture, what does that say about your ability to contribute in a PLN? Your location is important, but I recommend keeping it to a general area. I try to give as much information as possible while attempting to retain some privacy.

★ Participation: Digital Footprint ★

Your participation is important and will determine how much or little professional development you get out of Twitter. I like to break this process down into phases to make it easier to digest.

• Phase One: The lurking (observation) phase consists of following other tweeps to get a feeling on how to tweet.

• Phase Two: Getting your feet wet, participate in Twitter chats and observe what others post and how the flow of the conversation moves along.

• Phase Three: Sharing content, adding context to the discussion. You may RT (retweet) or reply to tweets as you start to feel your way around the Twitter feed.

• Phase Four: You are now part of a larger community. You contribute content on Twitter and begin the conversation with other Twitter users.

This process is a cycle, and you will (of course) start to bring other people to Twitter. Have a great time and start building relationships through your PLN.

★ Connected Educator (Mixed Bag) ★ 

  • AFAIK – As far as I know
  • CC – Carbon Copy
  • CX – Correction
  • DigCit – Digital Citizenship
  • FF – Follow Friday
  • GAFE – Google Apps for Education
  • HW – Homework
  • HAGW – Have a Great Weekend
  • HAGD – Have a Great Day
  • ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
  • NSFW – Not Safe for Work
  • NT2t – New Teacher to Twitter
  • OH – Overheard
  • Ps – Parents
  • PBL – Project Based Learning
  • RLRT – Real Life Retweet
  • SMH – Shaking My Head
  • SBG – Standards Based Grading
  • Ss – Students
  • Ts – Teachers
  • TFTF – Thanks for The Follow
  • TIL – Today I Learned…
  • TL;DR – Too Long; I Didn’t Read
  • TMB – Tweet Me Back
  • TQRT – Thanks for The (RT) Retweet
  • TT – Translated Tweet
  • w/ – With
  • w/o – Without

If you know any terms, I might have missed, please let me know. Feel free to Tweet me @AnibalPachecoIT  I look forward to your thoughts and insights on this topic.

Engaging Math with Outwhiz


The increasing expectations of a global society demand that our learners be highly proficient in Math. However, I am realistic and understand this subject does not come naturally for many of our young and adult learners including myself. Having said that, in this post I will introduce to you Outwhiz a new kind of Software as a Service (SaaS) product that aims to bridge the learning gap by motivating our students. Outwhiz is one of several products in the already crowded drill-based software industry.

For a quick Outwhiz overview from a kid’s point of view, please watch the video below.

One of the distinct features of this service is that it only focuses on two subjects English and Math. However, in this post, I will only address the Math feature. The learning goals here are simple; motivate learners to learn Math through a series of carefully scaffolded exercises based on their prior knowledge. The later as mentioned by Gagne, et al. (2005), help learners acquire “verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, attitudes, and motor skills” (p. 17). All of which are essential to the construct of meaning when studying Math. Furthermore, the developers intent is to address the individual needs of elementary and middle school learners through a self-paced curriculum based on the current Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative (Outwhiz, 2016).

Above all, this service can help educators by reducing their workload, eliminating the use of worksheets, time spent grading, and to provide seamless feedback to the learner. Outwhiz can be used on their website (web-based) and through mobile device apps that are platform agnostic. They currently have apps for Android and iOS devices. Meaning learners can start working on an assignment on the website and then move onto an iPad or another mobile device to complete their work. Although Outwhiz advertises themselves as a free service, they are actually a freemium service. The later is a classification for websites, apps or software you can use for free but with certain features removed or crippled until the user upgrades to a paid version or have access to a corporate account.

To learn more about the analytics feature, please watch the video below.

Moreover, there is not a specific set of skills needed to use this service other than basic knowledge of the assigned Math topic. After a brief formative assessment when the service is first used, the website (app) adapts the learning experience based on the assessment results. Therefore, it is essential that learners have a desire to succeed and stick through with the assigned topics. Outwhiz (2016) recommends that students set aside 10 to 30 minutes daily to perform their practice exercises.

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Once students complete an assignment, they are rewarded with a badge and the opportunity to level up as an incentive to solve more complex problems. Admittedly this serves to entice the learner to try harder and to achieve the goals assigned by a parent or educator. There are three ways students are motivated. First by competing with other users and trying to get higher on the leaderboards (win gift cards), second by unlocking badges they can show to their peers and third through the competitive spirit of the learning environment. The rewards offered by Outwhiz can be earned through points or by purchasing coins when using the paid version of the service. After using this software, students are expected to have a better understanding of basic Math concepts; further increasing their readiness for their in-state assessment.


When it comes to learning styles, Outwhiz addresses learner’s preferences through an adaptative platform that changes with the learner. As argued by Newton (2015), “Learning Styles do not work, yet the current research literature is full of papers which advocate their use” (p. 5). I agree with this statement based on my experience and the fact that all learners are different. What might work with one child might not work for the next. Thus, Outwhiz provides a viable solution that serves as a compromise to meet the needs of those learners needing support with their Math coursework. I would certainly recommend this service to students, parents, educators and even adults needing to refresh their basic Math skills.

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Website: www.outwhiz.com

Pricing Plans: Freemium / Paid Subscription

Technology Platforms

appstore  googleplay

Audience:  Parents / Students / Educators / Schools / Tutoring Center

Category: Personalized Learning

Subjects: English / Math

Cutting Edge Texting… Now on Android

remind 101 just announced the release of their Android App. remind101 is the fastest, safest and easiest way for connected educators to communicate with their students through private and secure text messages.  In today’s mobile classroom environment, our students show up to the classroom with devices in hand, and it is essential for educators to have a safe and efficient way to communicate with them. This release makes it easier for students, parents and educators to use this awesome tool regardless of platform or device.

The service allows educators to broadcast messages to both students and parents in a convenient and easy to use platform. Like a Swiss Army knife, remind101 manage to incorporate many aspects of effective communication in a simple and tightly integrated app.

This means remind101 is now available as a FREE download on both Google Play and iTunes. The app features, class management for up to 10 classes, unlimited students or parent’s text messaging, message scheduling, users text history and many others. Watch my interview with Brett Kopf, Co-Founder of remind 101 and the accompanying demo of remind 101 to learn more about this great resource for connected educators. You can download the Android app by visiting the Google Play store now.

As always please leave your comments or questions below and Subscribe to my YouTube channel and news feed.

remind101 | Bret Kopf


How It Works

via: remind101 on Vimeo.

Claco .: United We Teach… Together We Learn!

A month ago I wrote a post about ClassConnect a cloud based service that allow teachers to build, organize, store and share lessons with other educators. I promised to bring you some updates and I am pleased to announce that ClassConnect has left the Imagine K-12 incubator and its now Claco.

The premise remains the same, to help educators work collaboratively with other professionals from around the world. I have been BETA testing it, and I love what they have done since we talked and how it has developed. The new version of the service allows storage, and easy access, to any website, video, files and more from a single location. There is also an option to align resources with the newly introduced Common Core curriculum.

Besides the ability to store any resources, one might need for a class they have added a social component that allows sharing content on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. One can also add notes to binders, create folders within them, drag & drop resources and even add embed code for multimedia content (think PBS, Khan Academy, YouTube, ect…) that plays from the binder with no ads. This last one is a great idea for Flipped Classroom, Project Based Learning or Professional Development with other educators. Claco is also behind the #UnitedWeTeach movement on Twitter, so be sure to follow their hashtag.

The service is Free, and will always remain Free according to Eric Simons, Claco’s CEO and Founder. To learn more about Claco or to request a BETA invite please visit http://www.claco.com/ or show them some love on Twitter @TeamClaco Don’t forget to like this on Facebook and continue to share, learn and collaborate with others.

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Mastering Math through Foundational Skills

DigitWhiz is an online webapp for kid’s ages 8+ that teach math foundational skills using Multiplication, Division, Integer Operations, Like Terms and Solving Equations. The brainchild of Kasey Brown a math teacher who as a child struggled to learn her multiplication tables. Kasey’s early experiences would lead her to become a programmer analyst for Hewlett Packard. After leaving corporate America, she became a math teacher to pursue her passion in helping children struggling with math foundational skills.

In early 2009, she met Elliot Feinberg a Web Developer with degrees in both Math and Physics. Together they formed DigitWhiz and in this new enterprise they both share the same passion and commitment to help young kids master the skills necessary to be successful in High School and beyond.

DigitWhiz is currently an open BETA, being used in 22 states and three countries abroad. The service is Flash based, but I recently had a chance to sit down with Kasey during a Google+ Hangout and learned they are modifying their code to launch their first mobile app coded for iOS devices. DigitWhiz is free right now, and Kasey told me when the platform matures they will monetize it through subscriptions plans and premium features at very reasonable prices. To learn more about DigitWhiz, please visit their website at http://digitwhiz.com/ and don’t forget to watch my interview with her, plus the DigitWhiz demo below.
Kasey Brown, DigitWhiz, Co-Founder

DigitWhiz: Where Everyone Masters Math!

Creative Commons License

Using QR Codes in The Classroom

A great way to save money from your school budget is to minimize the need for printed handouts. One way you can achieve this is through the introduction of QR Codes into your classroom. If you need to create a QR Code on the fly look no further than Mobile Barcoder a Firefox add-on (also available for Chrome). This add-on allows you to create QR codes from any webpage displayed on your browser. The generated code can then be saved as an image or displayed on your classroom projection screen. Students or colleagues can then scan it or take a picture of it for later use.

This is an easy way to introduce the use of mobile technology into your classrooms and could potentially save the school some money by not having to print the handouts. An example of this activity would require you to create a Google Docs group for your class. This group would then serve as a repository for the documents you want to share. Watch the video below for more information about what a QR Code is and their usage in public. The videos below are for a demo of the add-on and a quick explanation of what a QR code is. For more information on this topic visit this Bundlenut.

Mobile Barcoder Demo

What is a QR Code?

Creative Commons License

Learning through Games: The Next Generation

There are several trends taking education by storm, but one of the most prolific today seems to be the use of games in the classroom. What if you could take the best aspects of gaming and fuse them together with language arts and math. That is exactly what the team behind BrainNook has done with their interactive virtual world. BrainNook allows children in grades first through fifth to learn all of the common core state standards skills while playing in real time with their friends. The service is available as a webapp and they are currently working on the development of mobile application for both Android and iOS.

BrainNook is currently being used in over 130 countries around the world, and their tournament feature allow kids to compete with one another regardless of their location. The teacher console allows you to set assignments based on individualized performance, grade levels and content appropriate for the student’s grade. They have also incorporated the highest levels of Internet safety for both teachers and students within their platform. Teachers can monitor student interaction with other students, review chat messages and block friend requests from players outside the classroom. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Abhijeet Vijayakar, founder of BrainNook in a Google+ hangout and we talked about his background, BrainNook’s vision for the future and where his product fits into the educational market today.

Abhijeet Vijayakar, BrainNook Founder Interview

Creative Commons License

Connected Educator Swiss Army Knife

remind101 is the fastest, safest and easiest way for connected educators to communicate with their students through private and secure text messages. In today’s mobile classroom environment, our students show up to the classroom with devices in hand, and it is essential for educators to have a safe and efficient way to communicate with them.

This service allows educators to broadcast messages to both students and parents in a convenient and easy to use platform. Like a Swiss Army knife, remind101 manage to incorporate many aspects of effective communication in a simple and tightly integrated app. The brainchild of Chicago brothers, Brett and David Kopf they got the idea for the app while attending college as a solution to a common problem for students; how to manage the flow of information between them and their teachers.

The Kopf brothers have since moved to San Francisco where after being accepted into the Imagine K-12 Instructional Technology incubator they have continued to tweak and develop remind 101. Their app is currently being used by over 200,000 users across Canada and the United States.

remind101 is available on iTunes as a free download; it includes features such as, class management for up to 10 classes, unlimited students or parent’s text messaging, message scheduling, users text history and many others. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Brett for a short Google+ hangout, so be sure to watch it, and the accompanying demo to learn more about this great resource for connected educators.

Brett Kopf, remind101 Co-Founder Interview


How It Works

Remind101 from remind101 on Vimeo.

Educators… There’s an App for That

The new academic year just begun, and many of us are already scouring the Internet and its many App Stores in search for the next “It” app we can use in our classrooms. I am in favor of teachers doing this because most educational apps are great sources of information and come loaded with multimedia features that enhance the delivery of your subject.

I always get asked to recommend apps and am hesitant to do it because what might work for one educator might not be the right solution for another. With that in mind, the guys over at AvatarGeneration have developed a pretty awesome infographic to give you a feel for the current state of educational apps on the iTunes walled garden; by their count there are over 121,000 educational apps when you combine both iPhone and iPad apps. This number alone is a justification for pause, and the main reason why I suggest starting out small and taking the time to further research apps for your subject in order to see if it meets your needs.

The one thing we should keep in mind though is not to think of apps as bells and whistles, but resources that could further help with the engagement of our students. If you are thinking about integrating apps into your teaching curriculum start with one or two apps for your subject. This will serve you well during the experimentation process and help you manage the flow of information generated by students using the apps. I would also recommend keeping a list of what worked and what didn’t as this will help you narrow down the search for specific features you might be looking for in future apps. So go ahead have you pick and enjoy the thrill of the hunt for educational apps.

My Brain on Apps