This past weekend saw the rollout of our newest My Big Campus feature: EduTalk. EduTalk is a separate feed within My Big Campus for educators, consisting of status updates from non-student users. We created EduTalk to make it easier for educators to create Personal Learning Communities for collaboration and learning, outside their local school and district boundaries.
Already, I’m seeing educators sharing tips and links on EduTalk, getting practical answers from their peers, and arranging meet-ups at HECC, CETPA, and other important events going on this week. They’re using laptops, tablets and smartphones to post on EduTalk, and they’re hooking up EduTalk with their Twitter accounts to post updates.
It’s always a gamble to launch a new feature like this. Will people notice? Will they use it? Will it truly take off, and become an important part of their professional lives? Will it allow educators to “work smarter,” and apply state of the art pedagogy in their own classrooms and office?
I think the answer’s obvious. In just the first full school day, EduTalk has racked up hundreds of quality posts. Educators are reaching out to their colleagues and attracting both comments and new followers. EduTalk is a soapbox, and a peek into the everyday lives of teachers everywhere.
Come check it out. Click EduTalk on the left navigation bar. Watch and learn from your peers. Follow the ones who interest you to see them in Your Feed. And, when you’re ready to reach out, start posting!
Thursday got a bit hairy for all of us as the development team got My Big Campus ready for the big EduTalk launch this weekend. As of right now, I'm assured that everything is back to normal, and we're just about ready to upgrade the site.
Here's a recap of the changes staff-level users will see this weekend:
- A login popup that asks you for basic information: professional role, subject areas, and interests. That's the first phase leading to a full EduTalk implementation.
- Twitter integration. Post from Twitter to MBC, or the other way, or both. This is phase two of the EduTalk implementation.
- Navigation changes: Easy links to EduTalk and your Blog. More posting options for educators to share updates and uploads.
- The all-new EduTalk interface, including feed options, links to trending topics, saved searches, and featured users.
- Our Android app for My Big Campus is ready for release. The Android app and the freshly-updated iOS app both support EduTalk. More on that next week.
- One last thing: with this weekend's launch, we'll no longer have separate user types for Teacher, Librarian, Principal or IT. You'll be able to self-identify by updating your Account Settings, and that title will appear on your profile and in EduTalk. If you don't specify a role, your title will be "Educator."
EduTalk is just one more feature that sets My Big Campus apart from other learning tools. We want to make it easier than ever to reach out to your professional peers outside your own school, district, or country. I'm looking forward to your comments on the EduTalk experience.
In today's Blog, I'm going to take you on a virtual tour of EduTalk. I'll be pointing out attractions along the way, and answering your questions at the end. Let's get started.
Take a look at the map
Visit the Attractions
There's lots to do on EduTalk as you learn your way around.
- Click EduTalk in the left navigation bar to join the tour.
- Catch up on friends and colleagues …
Your Feed shows only posts from the people you Follow
- Listen in to get the latest news.
Click Everyone for an unfiltered feed from all EduTalk users
- Find someone interesting? Get acquainted.
Click a name to visit a profile, then click Follow to send a request to add her to Your Feed.
- Tell us about yourself
Add your role, grade level, and interests to your Profile to attract like-minded Followers.
- Follow the leaders.
Our Featured Users are the innovators, influencers, and thought leaders in online learning and collaboration.
- Search EduTalk for ideas, and we'll store your favorite searches.
- Use Twitter-like #hashtags to add your posts to trending topics. Check the Trending list for the hottest #hashtags.
- Share and share alike. What's happening in your world? Ask questions, and share best practices. Broadcast your top links, videos, and other content, and see what others are sharing.
- Stay caught up when you're not in school. Read your EduTalk and MBC feeds on Twitter, tweet back when something catches your interest.
I hope you had a great time on this virtual tour of EduTalk. Now that you know your way around, you'll be ready for the real thing this weekend when we go live. Let us know what you think in the Comments, and check tomorrow's Blog for a wrapup of the week's posts.
To accommodate the new features we’re adding to support EduTalk, there will be some changes to the site navigation. Here are some tips to help you get around the new posting interface:
- EduTalk will have its own link in the left navigation bar. Educators can switch from the regular Activity feed to your EduTalk feeds with one click. I'll have a more detailed blog tomorrow about the EduTalk interface.
- We've removed the Blog tab from the Activity page. You’ll be able to go directly to your Blog from the left navigation bar, resulting in fewer clicks and a more straightforward path.
- The Blog tab has received a makeover. The "Post to Blog" button has moved from the Activity page to the Blog tab, which we think you'll find more intuitive, and perhaps more inviting. As the EduTalk community grows, expect to see people checking out your blog, and asking to follow you.
- Educators will have more options when updating their status: add updates to the EduTalk feed, where they can be seen by all teachers and education professionals, or post only to other My Big Campus users. You can even choose to share a post with students, or only with your fellow professionals.
If you're worried that you'll be overwhelmed with posts and updates from the thousands of education professionals on EduTalk, relax -- I'll show you in tomorrow's blog how to create a custom feed that matches your professional interests.