U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, half-length portrait, standing, facing left, tipping his hat.This weekend on NPR’s On the Media, I heard an interesting segment about how to begin codifying the method by which we recognize and attribute sources of our information on the web.  Now, I’m an academic, so I tend to live and breathe American Psychological Association (APA) referencing.  However, with the advent of Twitter and Facebook, these media’s constraints don’t really reconcile easily with the notion of a two or three line APA reference.

Many bloggers and tweeters agree that it’s good netiquette to acknowledge where sources of information were retrieved.  In research, we consider referencing essential. Hat tips, sometimes abbreviated “h/t” in Twitter posts are pretty common. As common is “via …” with a URL or source website filled in.  At the Curator’s Code, they have attempted to standardize and operationalize “hat tip” and “via.”

How it works

Via is used to denote a link of direct discovery. The folks at the Curator’s Code have even gone so far to suggest there is a symbol that should be used instead of the word via.  It’s this sideways S symbol.

The unicode for this symbol to use on a webpage is ᔥ

Similarly, hat tip indicates a link of indirect discovery, story lead, or inspiration.  This is different than simply repeating or reposting something you found elsewhere.  Instead, hat tip is used as a source for your own original content that may in fact be remixed from multiple sources.  The symbol for hat tip is this curly arrow. It looks like this:

The unicode for this symbols to use on a webpage is ↬

Connecting to APA & Twitter

For me, my students, and the preservice and inservice teachers that I work with, I have to figure out how we can connect with this system with the systems we are currently using, like APA. I’m going to watch the Curator’s Code system closely. I find these symbols to be helpful, particularly in Twitter posts and possibly with SMS texting.

I liken via () to a direct quote, that is I am not making a change to the original source. I find that it most often used when retweeting or reposting a URL or a piece of another’s post. Hat tip  () then for me is similar to a paraphrase or in-text citation, where I am using others’ works to support or inspire my own. Hat tip may be used with summary or with synthesis.

Will it function?

Unfortunately, I just tried using the unicode versions and the symbols themselves in TweetDeck (my tool for Twitter), and neither worked.  I also tried using the bookmarklet that Curator’s Code has released (see it below).

The bookmarklet pulled in the HTML code for the link to Curator’s Code and the unicode for the symbol, but I didn’t see where it actually attributed the link to the current page I was on at all.  Also, it didn’t work for a pop-up window, like I’m typing in right now.

I also tried using the bookmarklet directly into Twitter and that didn’t work either. Twitter didn’t translate the HTML.

I am attempting to see if I can tweet this post with the hat tip symbol and a link to the original On the Media article and podcast.  (I’ll let you know how it goes. Update: The hat tip symbol worked going from WordPress to Twitter, but it did not show up in TweetDeck. See below.)

From Twitter:

From TweetDeck:

Will it function?

Like I said earlier, I’m going to have to watch this. Conceptually, I like the idea of standardizing, or at least operationalizing, how to acknowledge our sources. It’s critical in academic work and it’s a good method for teaching students to acknowledge their inspirations. But the system isn’t completely functional right now outside of webpages and HTML. It’s got to be easier to implement across all of the social media we use, like Twitter and Facebook, and possibly texting, where each character counts.

Your thoughts? What do you think about this idea of using the symbols and agreeing when they should be used.

Oh and by the way,

Brook Gladstone, On the Media



Over the next few posts, I’m planning to share strategies that I recently used for mobile learning (mlearning) and teaching in one of my courses.  I hope you find these strategies helpful, and please let me know if you have any questions.  In full disclosure, I didn’t come up with some of these ideas.  Instead, colleagues, particularly on Twitter, we super helpful in inspiring me or providing some tips on how to get going with a tool or strategy.


In my online course for teachers and library media specialists on integrating the Internet into teaching and learning, we dedicate a unit to mobile learning.  In order for this unit to be as authentic as possible, I try to make the unit as mobile as possible.  Last year, I used MOBL21, what I consider to be a mobile course management system, and I experimented with deploying a complete unit of instruction through mobile learning.

This year, I planned a four-part approach to the unit, and I hope my experiences would help you as well.  While this was used with a graduate course for teacher educators, these strategies are certainly broad and simple enough to work with secondary K-12 students and undergraduate students.


Image representing remind101 as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Following Jason Rhode’s recommendation through Twitter, I decided to use Remind101.com as a method to broadcast information and information to my students.  Inside Remind101.com, my students registered through their cellphones (or email) by sending a text to phone number (or an email) with a specific code for our course.  I was then able to send out SMS text messages to the students from inside Remind101.  In the image below, you can see that 15 folks signed up to receive messages, 14 through their phones and 1 through email.  It is also possible for students (and parents) to sign up with multiple methods of subscribing, such as mobile and email.

For example, I quickly reminded students about our upcoming webinar that was happening (when I became a little freaked out that only 4 folks had logged in so far).  And I also asked students to take photos on two days during our unit and respond by audio on another day during our unit, but I’m going to save those details for a later blog post.

I was also able to schedule upcoming messages to be sent on specific days and times with specific reminders and activities.  This was a great way for me when planning out my unit.  I had activities that I wanted the students to experience and I had images or evidences that I wanted them to capture during the unit.  So, I was able to go ahead and schedule these over time during the unit.  You can see the posts I sent in the image above in the lower right side of the screen shot. To be respectful of students and their data plans, I tried to stick with 1 message per day in this unit.  However, if I were going to do this through a course or school year, I would probably create a survey early on with Google Forms and ask students about their data plans, so I could send more messages as needed.

One of the protections that I like in Remind101.com and in Class Parrot, a similar service, is that your phone number is kept private from your students (and parents) and their phone numbers (and emails) are kept private from you. The BetaClassroom has some examples and ideas for how she is using it in her classroom as well.

Changes I’d Like to See

There are definitely a couple of changes I’d like to see in Remind101.com, like those mentioned by ProfHacker. First, Remind101 is currently a “push” technology.  It’s purpose is to remind folks of things.  So, it’s not a two-way communication medium.  I would like to see this change so that students (and parents) may be able to respond to a question or comment on an idea through Remind101.  This may even be a way for students to answer a question for a knowledge check.  Certainly, this may not be needed all of the time, so it might be possible for some posts to be “push” while others may be two-way conversations with participants – possibly just with a checkbox.  There could definitely be some moderation by the teachers/professor/facilitator on some posts.

Second, currently, I can only send messages through Remind101.com’s interface.  This works well for the scheduling of posts, but I would also like to have off-the-cuff or on-the-fly messages be sent out through my not-so-smart phone.  I would definitely like to be able to send out messages in case of emergencies, quick updates, etc.

Remind101.com is new and beta.  I think over the next year it will definitely “beef up” as they build out the features and listen to the users.  Are you using Remind101.com or another service for group text messaging?  What are you using and how are you using it?

4 Strategies for Mobile Learning & Teaching Series

  1. Part 1: Remind101.com
  2. Part 2: Google Voice
  3. Part 3: Posterous (coming up)
  4. Part 4: eBook (coming up)


Today is “My Twitter Story” Day! I’m so excited, because we can physically see the power of networks. This small project started with one of my students. People are influenced by other people. My colleagues and professional learning network responded. In the true nature of a constructivist perspective, knowledge is constructed through the social negotiation with others. Twitter and social network are one of the mediators. In fact, Twitter has begun a campaign to capture the impact of “Twitter Stories.”

Researchers Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler discuss the potential and promise of networks in their book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives — How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. You can see Christakis present the phenomenon of social networks in a TED video here. Closer to home with teacher education and technology integration, Shelly Terrell’s “Teacher Reboot Camp” expressed the power of networking through social media, like Twitter, as:

Sometimes, the connections I make on social networks are to parents, learners, politicians, authors, other teachers, or administrators. We more than connect. We have conversations of what education transformation should be.

Today, moreover, we’re sharing how the varied natures of our professions affect others and ourselves. Interestingly, there is a paradox of the 21st century skill of cooperation. Increasing cooperation requires increasing personal responsibility (Tella, 2003). The more we need to work together, the more our personal contributions matter. That is, the reciprocal nature of social networks and professional learning communities is founded on an individual’s willingness to share in others’ social construction of knowledge.

Blog Posts

With “My Twitter Story” Day, we are sharing this reciprocity and how we’ve been affected by it. I encourage you to read these stories and then share your own. I have a feeling this list is going to grow. Won’t you document your impact? Won’t you comment on these reflections?

  1. “My Twitter story or ‘Why teachers & faculty members should give it a try’” by Michael M. Grant
  2. “How Twitter Saved My Career and My Family” by Jason Bedell
  3. “Why Teachers Should Join Twitter…What I have Learned as a Twitter Newbie” by Beth Crumpler
  4. MyTwitterStory Blog Carnival” by George Veletsianos
  5. “Happy My Twitter Story Day!” by TechKNOWTools’ Laura Pasquini
  6. My Twitter Story #mytwitterstory « A Retrospective Saunter by Philip Cummings


Tella, S. (2003). M-learning—Cybertextual traveling or a herald of post-modern education? In Kynaslahti, H. & Seppala, P. (eds.) Mobile learning (pp. 7–21). Helsinki: IT Press.


Good morning! I just wanted to reminder everyone that Wednesday, November 16, 2011, is ‘My Twitter Story’ day! This grew out of a conversation with a student of mine in one of my online courses and some follow up conversations about how we really should be sharing our stories of professional development for others.

I would really like to share and document the value you find from social media … and Twitter is just one example of this.

Here’s how it will work:

  1. Invite. I invite you and you invite others to write your own Twitter story. Here’s mine if you haven’t read it. By the way, feel free to use this blog post and image in your own posts! (Feel free to plagiarize this to death use this as a model.) Start now. Retweet this.
  2. Write. Write your own Twitter story on or before Wedenesday, November 16, 2011, as a blog post. Feel free to be creative. Podcasts, vidcasts, and slidecasts are all fine by me.
  3. Rite. Add #mytwitterstory as the hashtag in your tweets and/or blog post.
  4. Cite. On or before Wednesday, November 16, 2011, add your name and the URL to your blog post in the comments area this blog post. I will add your name and link into the updated blog post for Wednesday, November 16.
  5. Excite! On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, I’ll publish the updated blog post and tweet it out as well. Retweet it willy-nilly!
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

One of my students in my online course (IDT 7064: School Change & the Internet) inspired me today.  She made me want to tell my Twitter story.  I’m pretty sure it’s not original.  I’m pretty sure it’s as pedestrian as … well pedestrians.  But it’s mine, and it is why I believe teachers and higher education faculty should try Twitter.

About 18 months ago, I was not a Twitter user at all — not even a casual user.  I even sort of scoffed at others for using Twitter, adding that it was a time drain.  About a year and half ago, though, I went on sabbatical from the university.  I studied mobile teaching and learning during my time away.  One of the tools I learned to use was Twitter.  Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?

I found out I was wrong about Twitter. I decided early that Twitter would only be a professional outlet for me.  I wouldn’t be sharing photos of my kids, birthday wishes, etc. on Twitter.  Actually, I started out not sharing anything.  I started out just reading stuff.  It wasn’t a reciprocal relationship with others on Twitter yet.

I found great folks with great minds and great spirits for teaching like Scott Newcomb, Phillip CummingsSteve Anderson, Kyle PaceJason Rhode, and Vicki Davis.  I made stronger connections with colleagues I knew but began to interact with a lot more like George Veletsianos, Michael Barbour, Monte Tatum, and Dan Surry. I also began to follow colleagues that I used in my teaching and scholarship, such as Tom Barrett, Peter Pappas, Inge de Waard, Mark van ‘t Hooft, John Traxler, Mike Wesch, and Cammy Bean.  Plus, there are folks that I always get some great resource, tool, or news nugget from like Mark Scott, Allison Rossett, Jason Haag, Tom Whitby, Steve Dembo, Jason Bedell, Tony Vincent, Joanna Bobiash, Alec Couros, Richard Byrne, Johnny Kissko, Smashing Magazine, and David Wicks.  I’m a better teacher, researcher, writer, and professional development consultant because of these folks.

As I began to follow more folks, I found that things I had read might be useful to others.  So, I just posted them.  Reading other people’s posts these resources I had found seemed to be in the same vein.  Surprisingly (and it still is often), some of these ideas and posts were reposted, and those individuals’ followers then read them.  Some were even reTweeted again.

Free twitter badge

Image via Wikipedia

Over time, my Twitter relationships began to become reciprocal.  It didn’t have to be.  No one is going to say you need to be contributing or I won’t share with you.  Instead, it seems to be a natural progression.  In the beginning, we have a belief that we don’t have much of a voice or something to share—only reading others posts.  But we begin to find that voice, and we do begin to share.  As we do that, folks want to follow us and hear our voices.  They want to read what we’re sharing.  (It’s still a little flattering for me to get a notice that someone new is following me. Sometimes, when I get three or four followers in the same couple of day, I wonder, “What did I say or do to make this happen?” I haven’t changed.)

In Twitter, it says I have 522 followers. I can’t imagine that actually. The impact of me to 522+ people every day is humbling.

What I’ve come to believe is that I think all teachers (and higher education faculty members) should be on Twitter for the professional development community.  Teaching can be a lonely and isolating profession.  I believe it’s often hard for teachers to admit they do not know something.  Maybe it’s just being human.  Being a teacher just amplifies the expectation.  Much of what we do as teachers is taking others’ ideas and reshaping them to fit our students and curriculum.  Twitter is one of the BEST places to receive ideas from.  It also offers informal professional development.  When you begin to follow folks who are experts in your content area, then they begin to impact your thinking and your learning and your teaching.  You find avenues and resources you didn’t know you were missing.

I also believe that social media tools, such as Twitter, are tools we can use with our students as well. Dr. Monica Rankin’s video of The Twitter Experiment impacted me. I saw Kevin Oliver use a TwitterChat in one of his courses.  Some of the tools we use, such as our course management system (I.e., eCourseware & Desire2Learn) require logins and are not easy to integrate seamlessly into our everyday lives. Twitter can be used with mobile phones, too, so it can continue conversations inside of class and outside of class.  In everyday experiences, we can share and demonstrate our learning. I’ve even used Twitter inside some of my courses—both online and face to face ones.  Some students took to it.  Others didn’t.  I do believe that if Twitter isn’t interesting to you then you’re either not following enough people or you’re following the wrong people.  In either case, you need to add folks to follow and probably prune others off your list.

I still only use Twitter for professional relationships.  Facebook is my choice for personal relationships.  I’ve learned a lot about Twitter in my 18 months.  I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things in my 18 months of Twitter.  I’ve made new colleagues that I’ve never met, but I really want to. And now this story is out on Twitter.

That’s it.  That’s my Twitter story. Do you have one?  I’d like to read it, so please share it!

As I mentioned about a month ago, along with experimenting with mobile learning in my course this summer, I also decided to test out HootCourse.  HootCourse is a Twitter tool that allows you to create courses, invite students, and automatically adds a hashtag for your course.  Like other Twitter tools, it performs a search based on the hashtag and keeps those tweets inside “your course.” In my testing, I was able to post inside HootCourse successfully, and I was able to post inside Tweetdeck and Twitterific if I added my course’s hashtag. Over at the “Free Technology for Teachers” blog, Thomas, one of the developers for HootCourse, explains in the comments a little more about the public v. private versions of HootCourse.

You can see in the screen shots below, that my course hashtag was #idt7064.  Hootcourse automatically added this.  I had to add this inside Tweetdeck (on my desktop) and Twitterific (on my iPod Touch and iPad).  Because Hootcourse is automatically adding the hashtag, it goes ahead and subtracts the number of characters in your hashtag from your 140-limit for Twitter.

HootCourse Home

I really liked being able to retweet posts and share these with my students directly from Tweetdeck and Twitterific.  In addition to being able to tweet inside HootCourse, you can also write longer posts — beyond the 140-word-limit — and these will post to a blog.  With only a small amount of difficulty and a quick email out to support, I was able to connect my HootCourse account to my own WordPress (Viral-Notebook) instead of the suggested WordPress.com account.  (I also found out from the tech support that this feature had been enabled by one of the developers, but the other didn’t know it. 😉 ) So, longer posts can go into my blog and then tweeted.  In Derek Bruff’s blog you can see where he did just this (and explains a number of features too), and this is a test post that I used as well.  I found that I didn’t use this feature very much for my online course that I was teaching.  But, I’m interested to figure out whether I might do this in a standard 15-week course with a little more forethought and planning.

Hoot Course Essay

The last feature that I’m interested in trying out connects nicely to Dr. Rankin’s Twitter experiment in her large class.  This is a classroom version of Twitter for face-to-face discussions.  In essence, it’s creating a backchannel for your classroom.  You can see from the screenshot below that HootCourse sort of strips down everything and makes the posts large so you could project these during a lecture of classroom discussion.  I didn’t use this feature in my online course, but I’m interested in trying this with some face-t0-face courses to see how it might work.

HootCourse Classroom

There are a number of folks testing out HootCourse right now, but I haven’t seen many reviews or posts of actual implementations.  So, I hope some folks come out with those.  Are you using HootCourse?  How’s it going?  Are you doing it online or face-t0-face or both?

I’m excited to say that it’s finally happened to me.  Today, one of my presentations, “Comparing Instructional Design Models,” made it to the home page of Slideshare — even it was only for a little while.  Earlier today, I received the following email:

Unfortunately, I missed capturing the link on Slideshare’s homepage.  But I have to say that I am “Wowed!”  I heard all this today from a colleague and friend Kevin Thorn, who said he saw one of my presentations get tweeted.  So that’s pretty cool.  Somebody I don’t know (that’s Mike Taylor) found one of my presentations and decided to share it.  That’s awesome!  Glad I could help.  Since this was new to me, I decided to search twitter to see if I could find out who all were interested in my presentation today.  And I found this:

Now, I am pleased to say that my friend Kevin (that’s him above as LearnNuggets) retweeted the original tweet, and then it got retweeted multiple times.  The folks who retweeted the presentation include folks that I admire and follow myself, such as Cammy Bean at Kineo and Dr. Allison Rossett at San Diego State.
So, what’s the stuff that caused this reaction?  It’s this presentation:
[slideshare id=3127392&doc=idmodels-100210151043-phpapp02]
I decided this semester that I would publish all my slides for my “Developing Interactive Learning Environments” course into Slideshare just to see what happens.  I guess I got my answer.

5 favs.
2 embeds other than me.

So, why has this presentation resonated with others?  What did you like, dislike, or abhor about it? Thanks everybody for making me feel appreciated today.

I recently had a facebook friend post a celebratory post about reaching 400 friends. Of course, comments of congratulations followed this. However, I could not help but wonder how many of the people he would recognize or speak to if he met them on the street?

A recent blog posted by Dion Hinchcliffe lists the twenty-two power laws of the emerging social economy. I found it interesting that number 3 was Dunbar’s Law that states we can only have 150 active connections. With more than 10 social networking options available, I think of people who have more than 150 connections on each network. For example, on my LinkedIn network, I only have four connections with two group memberships.

So, how many connections do I need? Personally, I have 148 friends in Facebook. In September, Wired published an article explaining where you could purchase Facebook and Twitter friends. Most of my connections are personal connections made through education and church settings. However, I did use my friends list recently to distribute a survey for a course. Because of their feedback, I was able to focus the instructional design of my unit.

The Facebook Song seems to summarize the feelings of the growing population of social networkers. With the number of social networking sites and connections increasing, are social interaction skills beginning to suffer? I love the thought of being able to connect with high school friends or college friends. However, when you begin to suffer withdrawl symptoms because of lack of Facebook time, there is a greater problem.

[youtube width=”480″ height=”295″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSnXE2791yg[/youtube]

  • Have you suffered facebook or social networking with drawl?
  • How many social networking connections do you have?
  • How do you use these connections personally and professionally?

Guest blogger:  Jamae Allred is a former preschool teacher of six years. She enjoyed working with children from three to five years old. After completing her Masters of Science in Education in Early Childhood, she taught undergraduate early childhood courses for one year. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in instructional design & technology at the University of Memphis. Her research interests include online education and e-Learning influences in the early childhood arena. She plans to teach in higher education after completing her degree.

I told you I would share some icon sets that I really love.  As a quick reminder, I only do free.  So all of these are free downloads.  Today, we’re starting with animals.  Lots of fur and feathers.  Here’s a few sets that I think are super well done and are super easy to use.  These will work in Word, Powerpoint, or on the Web.  Two of these come with the original files, so you can edit them into what you need.  Go on and download.  Nobody’s watching.

Cute Critters

cute-critters These adorable animals are “painfully cute” as described on the release.  A little heavy on the anime, all of these guys have caricatured features.  So something’s a little larger than everything else.  They are indeed cute, and they well done.  The set comes with two versions of each critter—one with the graduated single color background and one with a transparent background. They can be used in commercial and personal project without attribution, but that’s just not nice.  So go ahead and tell everybody where you got them from.

Available from Tutorial9.com

Birds 1

cute-twittersThese cute little birds are one set of friends that could be used with Twitter or stand alone.  They are really friendly and round, so they would be great with K-12 kids, teachers, or even with newsletters.  There are a total of 8 images, even though only 5 are in the image at the right.  With these icons, you’re going to get the vector Illustrator (.ai) file for editing, along with EPS files.  So, these certainly have the potential to be used with print materials.  You also get the PNG files in three sizes (128, 256, & 512).  So they could be used as dominate images on slides or a web page.

Available from Mirkku

Birds 2

twitter_badge_5I used a screen capture of these Twitter birds in my last post on icons.  But I thought I would go ahead and given you a heads up on the full set.  There are 5 different birds with this set, and they each have fun names, like Roger, Nola, and Squidge.  For each character, you’re going to get your money’s worth, though.  You’ll get a Twitter badge, like the one to the right  You’ll get icons (PNGs) at a couple of different sizes.  You’ll be getting larger images, just silhouettes, and Photoshop (.psd) files for each character.  There’s 40 images in all.  So, this is well worth the download.  Because these birds are all whimsical, these are fun to use with less-than-serious topics, and they have really nice unity among the images to be used across design project.  The colors are a little muted, and there is a range of different colors.  So, lots of possibilities and play in the color schemes that could be used.  Plus, the licensing on these is pretty wide open, too.  A link back is appreciated but not required.

Available from Function Web Design

That’s it for today.  Three fun, cute, and furry or feather sets of icons for you to download and put to good —or no good— use.  Do you have some icons that you like?  Let me know what you like and where to get ’em down in the comments.

These are my Jumptags for September 8th

  • The Five Design Elements Every Website Needs – Discover the five design elements that every well-built website needs. Includes tips and tricks for content and navigation design.
  • How To Jump Start The Website Design Process – Discover a simple four-step process that can help any web designer squeeze inspiration out of a competitor's website design.
  • Project2Manage – Free Project Management – Project2Manage is an Online project management system that allows you to stay up-to-date, on task and connected with your team. We’ve taken the hard work of staying organized and simplified it for you.
  • 15 Essential Web Tools for Students – It's time to head back to school and there are a number of web-based and social tools to help you get through the school year. Here are 15 essential ones.
  • Microsoft Launches Tools For Teachers – Microsoft's Education Labs launched a new project this afternoon and it's better on trees and the environment. The group just announced a new Math Worksheet Generator where teachers …
  • Kineo – Tip 27: Tear down the visual wallpaper – It is time to tear down the e-learning wallpaper and take heed of some top tips on using graphics for instructional use.
  • 30 Amazing Alphabet Recreations | Tutorial9 – The Alphabet dates back to the Egyptian era and forms the basis of our language, through the years people have experimented and created a wealth of interesting and unique alphabets. This is a collection of some of the best examples.
  • 3 Successful Small Businesses on Social Media – To help you see how social media can work no matter how big or small your business, I’ve found some great case studies of small businesses that get it and are seeing results!