Category Archives: Uncategorized

Managing Twitter Using TweetDeck: Video Tutorials


Managing Twitter can be challenging, especially if you are using Twitter in teaching and learning environments. An application like TweetDeck can be very helpful!

I created  two short video tutorials on using TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a great tool that helps manage your Twitter account. It can also help you track individual hashtags or other accounts easily by using columns for individual items.

1. Using TweetDeck

2. Retweeting and commenting with TweetDeck 


National Science Foundation Grant Awarded!

My colleague, Jen Rosato,  and I have won a three-year grant of nearly $1 million to help high school teachers effectively teach computer science. We are beginning to recruit teachers to participate. Please share and reach out to others if you know of someone who might be  interested. Some of our Minnesota partner schools have first priority but we do have room for other participants in other states.

There’s more here:

SLOAN-C Presentation Slides and Handouts

             Servant Leadership, Innovation and Collaboration: Faculty Development for a Nationally Ranked Online Program

Takkunen and Bergstrom

Please see the attached slideshare and handouts for our November 20th presentation at the SLOAN-C  conference.

PRESENTATION Handouts and Presentation

Sharing Flickr Images via Twitter and Facebook

Finding and using images on photo sharing sites like Flickr can offer endless opportunities for educational purposes. See my previous post  for ideas and suggestions. Sharing images on social networks is a great way to have students view them. Here is a quick tutorial for finding and sharing images via Twitter and Facebook.

Hint: First create a Twitter account and/or  Facebook page or group that you can use for teaching.

1.  Go to Flickr. Search for images.

2. Notice the share options that are at the top of the image.

3.  To share on your facebook page, click the FB icon. Next, your share options will open. You can also write a message.

4.  When you are ready, click “Share Link”.

5. To share on Twitter, find your image. Next, click on the “Twitter icon”.

6. The following screen will pop up with the URL for the image already to share. You can add text to the twitter message if you wish. It is that easy!

Give it a try!

Empower vs. Engage: Implementing 21st Century Skills for Student Achievement

A graduate student posted in an online technology/leadership class of mine recently, “Why are we still talking about trying to implement 21st Century Skills? We are IN the 21st century! When are we going to start making these changes??”  (First grade MN teacher)

Hmmmm…… this really got me thinking about how schools are doing in this regard. She is right! We are 10 years into the 21st century. Have things changed? Are schools focusing on 21st Century skills?

As we head in to 2010, I am pondering the overlap between several frameworks that address technology integration, student achievement, student engagement, and 21st century skills.

Several of these frameworks offer ways for educators to think about technology integration and learning.

1. ISTE standards for administrators, teachers, and students

2. LoTI (Levels of Teaching Innovation~ Formerly, Levels of Technology Implementation)

3. 21st. Century skills

Each framework supports very similar goals in terms of empowering students to use technology for learning. I have observed that there is a general push to “engage” students in learning. This is good practice and we know that research supports that when students are engaged there is a much stronger chance that we will grab and keep their attention. This will hopefully translate to improved student learning. However, EMPOWERING students is where I believe we have an even greater opportunity to really reach and support students to achieve their learning goals.

When students are empowered, they are asking the questions, doing the research, finding the sources, collaborating, communicating, working, solving, creating, analyzing, evaluating, and sharing. To really help our students be ready for the 21st Century, we need to look at what we can do to give students an opportunity to think deeply about concepts and to learn to learn. This is not easy work, but it is critical to helping students prepare for their future.

Other thoughts on the growing digital gap:

While technology use is not always needed to work on 21st Century skills, for many students schools may be the ONLY place that they have access to digital tools and the Internet.  The gap between the “haves and the have-nots” continues to grow. Those students who have access to technology at home or with mobile devices will continue to be able to practice and  become fluent with digital and ICT tools. Those that do not will continue to fall further behind. If this is true, how can we continue to teach without ensuring that all children have access to technology? If we do not, we become part of the problem and will leave many children unprepared.

Daniel Pink: Preparing kids for THEIR future

danielpink200x2981“We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.”.  This quote stands out among the others in Daniel Pink’s presentation at the Minnesota 2008 TIES conference in December.   Daniel Pink is not an educator, he is an economist and author. His presentation included many ideas from his 2006 book, “A Whole New Mind”. His presentation was insightful and relevant to today’s teachers and schools. In many ways, the fact that Mr. Pink is not an educator allows him to step outside of the educational arena and to see things in a global perspective.  It is sometimes difficult as an educator to see things beyond the classroom and the community. However, I believe that Mr. Pink offers educators an opportunity to challenge the status quo and to look towards what students need to be successful in a very different future.

Daniel Pink noted  that in the past, the left brain activities that dominate school curriculum supported the types of careers that almost always guaranteed success. But, Mr. Pink noted, the world has changed. We are outsourcing left brain work. Anything that can be

You might be surprised to know that Pink includes the majority of an attorney’s work as “left brain”.  He told the audience to google “quick divorce” and note the number of sites that pop up and offer a divorce for a very low cost. He also reminded us about the proliferation of programs that do left brain work. Consider “turbotax“.  This software program is doing a great deal of the work that tax preparers used to do. Parents and teachers may still be trying to encourage young people to be accountants and computer programmers-all left brain professions.  Pink argues that our students need to also be encouraged to think deeply and for meaning. If we are only preparing and encouraging our children for left brain professions we are doing them a disservice. Our children will be competing against “the world” for this type of work.  We need to do more.

So, what can schools do?

Pink encourages schools and teachers to embrace right brain activities. This should not be at the demise of left brain activities. Both are important. However, teachers and schools should encourage critical and creative thinking. The future of our country and their success will depend on their ability to be innovative, entrepreneurial, and even visionary.

Pink noted that educators should do the following when planning learning activities.

Focus on:

  • Design
  • Story
  • Empathy
  • Play and laughter
  • Meaning
  • Big Picture

Educational technology offers incredible opportunities in helping students work on these types of thinking skills. Think about how having students create a digital video of a historical event could touch on right brain as well as left brain thinking. Please feel free to comment on other ideas that demonstrate how technology encourages right brain as well as left brain thinking.

Read his book for more ideas on educating the “whole mind”.

A Whole New Mind

SisuTech: What’s it all about?

Me.Looking.aheadWelcome to SisuTech. This blog is hosted by me, Chery Takkunen. I have been an educator for over 16 years, having taught people from 5 to 65! I am currently the Chair of Graduate Education programs at The College of St. Scholastica. I have been fortunate to work with both undergraduate and graduate students in traditional settings as well as in online and blended learning environments. While I am currently working in higher education, I also have eight years as an elementary teacher. What I am most passionate about is the potential for technology to positively impact student learning. My experiences as a teacher at every level and my research continue to demonstrate the power of technology to engage and motivate learners. I am continually intrigued at how young people are using technology and how educators can capitalize on new technologies in the classroom and in online teaching environments. It is my belief that educators have an obligation to prepare students for a global environment. Technology can be the catalyst to produce this change.

What’s in the name: SisuTech? Sisu is a Finnish word that frequently means determination, perseverance, spirit, guts, and sometimes stubbornness. Being of Finnish heritage this word has personal meaning for me. This word also is a good reminder about the type of attitude that is necessary to bring about change in an organization.