Organize

Your tasks:

  1. Ask someone how they stay organized in the MTBoS.
  2. Choose a way to stay on top of your blog reading.
  3. Choose a way to stay on top of your Twitter.
  4. Comment on this post about what you’ve set up.

So you’re reading blogs! You’re tweeting! Awesome. We knew you could!

Hopefully you’ve found some resources you like and some voices online that resonate with you.

So how do you keep in touch with all of this? How do you keep pace with all of the tweets and posts and ideas that your online colleagues are generating? Let’s talk about tools and time.

But first: Everyone wrangles the MTBoS differently. We all have our favorite tools and methods and apps and haunts. You’ll figure out what works for you. A great first step is just knowing what all is available and possible. The run-down below highlights a few, but you should really get a diversity of opinions from people who you suspect might operate similarly to you. So your first assignment is to ask someone how they stay organized in the MTBoS. You can tweet to them, leave them a comment on their blog, write them an email, or ask them in person. We grant you 100% permission. 😀

Tools:

There are a number of tools that you might use to help collect and streamline your online feasting.

There are better ways to keep up with blogs that you like than just visiting them on occasion to see what’s new. For blogs that you like, you might subscribe to them by email. Whenever the blogger publishes a new post, you’ll get an email with the blog post pasted right there in it. How conveeeeenient!

You can often find

You can often find “follow by email” button in blog sidebars, like this one on Kate Nowak’s blog.

As you follow more blogs, you may want to have a special place for blog posts other than your email inbox. That’s what an RSS reader is for. Whenever someone publishes a new post, the RSS fairy pushes out magical dustings of…well, I don’t know all of the technical details of RSS. The important thing is that a RSS reader is like an inbox for blog posts. It gathers every new blog post from blogs you want to keep track of.

feedly

An RSS reader: an inbox for blog posts. This reader is called feedly.

There are lots of different RSS readers. I use Feedly, Tina uses Digg Reader, and others like The Old Reader. You’ll find one that works for you.

For Twitter, there are many options for reading your feed. You can use the twitter.com website. On computers, there are two clients that Twitter produces, Twitter and Tweetdeck. Twitter is simpler, while Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple columns. There are also clients that third-party companies have created, like Hootsuite, and there are also a variety of phone apps available for you to keep up with tweets on your mobile device.

All of these are a little different and can be configured in bunches of ways. Find the right combination for you!

Time:

Having a MTBoS routine can be helpful. I mean, you’re going to fall into some kind of behavior pattern anyway, so why not take some conscious control over it?

Maybe you’ll have a weekly check-in time. Maybe you’ll look at your Twitter feed every morning. Maybe you’ll have as a goal to read one blog post a week and comment on it. Maybe there’s a regular Twitter chat that you’d like to make a regular appearance at.

Who knows what you will do! You’ll have to figure it out. Get ideas and opinions from others about how they wrangle things, and just pay attention to your own habits and what feels productive, uplifting, and energizing to you. Participating in the MTBoS is not an obligation. You’re doing it for you—for your professional growth and to be a part of a inspiring math ed community. Also, know that if you take a long break from the MTBoS, you will be able to pick things right back up whenever you return, and people will be glad to see you.

Strategies Shared:

Let me leave you with a couple of blog posts by MTBoSers who have shared some thought about their own systems and strategies for managing their online resources and feeds:

Know of one that’s not listed here? Please leave a link on the comments!

Once you’re armed with an organization strategy, it’s time to discover even more resources!

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15 thoughts on “Organize

  1. I use Feedly to keep up with new blog posts (since the demise of the Google reader) and Tweetdeck to keep up on Twitter, but I have found that I need another tool to keep track of resources so I can find them again when I need them. When I find something I might want to use later, I use Evernote to tag and save. I can add labels and tags (eg. Quadratics, class opener, lesson sequence, etc. – basically anything to predict how I might remember and connect this later when I need it) and later when I’m planning my quadratics unit, I check in here to mine for resources. I use the free version of Evernote, which has been just fine for my needs. Looking forward to hearing about other systems!

  2. I learned about Diigo (diigo.com) last summer in a tech-based learning class — the same one that got me to set up a Twitter account — and I’ve found it incredibly useful for, essentially, glorified bookmarks.

    For MTBoS purposes, Diigo has a few big advantages over simply bookmarking in my browser:
    * I can add comments and tags to my bookmarks. Yay!! (Theoretically, I could highlight things on pages, too, but I think that got dropped as a free feature and I’m not sure I can still do it.)
    * I can get a link to any Diigo “outliner” (page of bookmarks with titles, comments, tags) and pass it on to other people. For example, here’s a list of some “meaty problem” sources I collected on the MTBoS since August: https://www.diigo.com/outliner/1vszvn/Math%3A-Meaty-Problems?key=v7yrzhgokg . I think you’ll be able to see my comments, though maybe not my tags or highlighted parts of pages.
    * I can store my lists away from my browser bookmarks. This gives me a sort of portable library of teaching websites and articles while letting me keep separate home & school browser bookmarks focused on sites I go to a lot from home or school.
    * I can search my outliners (to be fair, I’m not sure you can’t do this on Chrome bookmarks, though I suspect it doesn’t work as well even if you can).

    Diigo gives you a lot for free. They changed precisely what was free last fall, so I wouldn’t count on anything, but to be fair, they seemed to grandfather in some features (for instance, I have more than 5 outliners — they gave me one for every list I had before). You can also export your Diigo lists so you have a record of the bookmarks yourself.

    It is easy to install on Chrome, and once it’s installed, it is very easy to save any page to an outliner — at least as simple as saving into a Chrome folder. I find it is not the most user-friendly app ever for editing the lists, but it’s not awful either.

  3. I use Feedly to keep track of the blogs I like to read and I check it maybe twice a week.
    I use Pocket to keep track of pages I want to read later.
    I use Dropbox to move files and things I’m working on between home and school.
    I use Remember the Milk to keep my ever expanding lists (right now, I’m working on a scope and sequence for my 8th grade class with new TEKS – that’s where I set up my working list of what to teach when and mark them off when I get notes, activites, assignments, etc. finished).
    I also use Pinterest to keep track of things I want to check out – but I find I just waste a LOT of time.
    I just read about Diigo from Julie Wright’s comment and I’m going to explore that.
    I know several people use virtual filing cabinets and I haven’t found a way to make that work for me (maybe Diigo will help).
    I read Twitter posts (once a day in the morning) I guess I need to start tweeting more than I do. I usually retweet something I want to remember.
    I have a blog, but I have a really hard time getting there to write anything.

  4. The WordPress app has a reader also, this is where I keep all my WordPress and (gasp) non-Wordpress blogs for current and future reading!

    It is also where I am publishing this comment while we speak 😉

  5. I have now got into the habit of checking twitter on a daily basis, I have been amazed at how many people have followed me since I changed my bio to ‘Trainee maths teacher’… I always re-follow any maths/education related followers so that my twitter feed gets filled with lots of useful ideas and resources.

    I have set myself a target of reading at least one blog a week and leaving a comment (as suggested above). I haven’t been very good at reading blogs since I started my MTBos journey, and I’m hoping to change this. I will also be subscribing to any bloggers that I would like to hear more from and I will then be looking at setting up an RSS reader.

  6. I have signed up to different blogging websites to keep hold of blogs that I have read to be able to go back to them at a different date. I have also started following teachers of mathematics on twitter and am quickly filling my newsfeed with great ideas and resources.

  7. I’m attempting to channel my organisation through using custom created lists on twitter and a direct email subscription to a select few blogs. Will trial and see how this goes!

  8. This task was great for getting me more involved with other people on Twitter and how to stay on top of it all! I will from now on save the hashtags and write lists! I have also been looking around for blogs and will aim to read one a week!

  9. I have downloaded an app called ‘phonly’ which helps me stay organised with blogs. After some advice from people on Twitter I am also looking into TweetBot, TweetDeck and Twitterrific.

  10. I have downloaded the bloglovin’ app to help compile all the blogs I follow into one place. I have placed the Twitter app on the home screen on my iPad and make sure to check and engage with it along with my normal social media usage! I have not yet found a blog that I find really engaging but have been regularly browsing blogs that pop up via Twitter!

  11. In order for me to keep on top of my blog reading and twitter; I have created a files for my favourite pages on Chrome. This is then transferred to my iPad also, so I can view the blogs I like everywhere. Also, I have a twitter app on my phone and iPad which allows me to use my teaching twitter account anywhere.

  12. To stay on top of my twitter and blog reading I plan to read a new blog and comment on it each week. I will check my twitter account (i have downloaded the app on my phone) regularly and look to follow more people who’s blogs I have been reading. I will keep notes of anything that I find that i feel is interesting or will help me with my professional development.

  13. I check my twitter account daily from the Twitter app on my phone and from that read articles, retweeting those I find particularly interesting or any containing ideas I may want to use later in my teaching practice. I am aiming to find a few interesting bloggers and suscribe to their blogs so it’ll make it easier to keep up with blogging whilst still being engaging. After tweeting for advice on being organised, ‘Feedly’ was suggested by a fellow #MTBos user so I will also be attempting to use this!

  14. After some advise from a fellow coursemate (@miss_furr) I have downloaded the feedly app which I will use to keep up to date with blogs

  15. I had downloaded an app called newsify to keep all the blogs I follow in one place. After using it for a few days I have discovered I really am not keen on the format (it doesn’t show any pictures) which puts me of flicking through it. I have now instead adapted my bloglovin account to include education blog, this is proving far more practical. Keeping up with my twitter is something I am going to need to work on, I would like to schedule time aside in the week to look through it. Also I was advised to save tweets into evernote, which I am going to have a go at.

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