Friday, September 21, 2012

I Am Not A Twit

Originally posted on my work blog http://techintegrationblog.blogspot.com/

Some basic resources for effectively using twitter as a teacher.

http://twitter.pbworks.com/w/page/1779796/FrontPage
A wiki to introduce people to twitter. Yes, you can tweet all about your boring breakfast (and worse) but if you would also like to get past that you can.


http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com/w/page/22554534/FrontPage
A wiki specifically for teachers to learn about using twitter in education.

The real question is:

Why would I bother using twitter as a teacher?

It does make one wonder. This Internet time suck used by celebrities and sports stars, how can it possibly be an effective tool for a serious endeavour like teaching?  

That is the beauty of twitter, you make of it what you want or need. Twitter, along with many other similar social media sites (Google +, Facebook, “yes, facebook”, pinterest, scoop it, etc...), has the ability to connect like minded people. Imagine if you will the teachers lounge, except the other teachers don’t know your students. All they can do is respond to questions with best practice advice, what I did in similar situation, what worked for me.

Twitter in this case has suddenly become what they call a Professional Learning Network as described in “The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age” by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall.

Professional Learning Networks are about individuals gathering information and sharing resources that enhance their personal and professional learning.

That’s great if I want to spend my evenings with teacher talk. Is it possible to be a bit more formal with our professional development?

As a personal learning resource use one of the links up top to find thousands of quality teachers to follow then check in once a day to see if there is anything interesting. Of course going through thousands of tweets is time consuming. We can sort through all of that by getting out daily twitter paper delivered right to our laptop.

http://paper.li/dendari
Paper.li collects all the links and articles referenced in my twitter stream and  organizes them in a newspaper format based on how often they were tweeted out.

Still that isn’t formal learning. It isn’t professional development.

Social media is about connecting like minded people. Twitter and other media are great places to begin, to get ideas, but they are also great places to meet and connect while working as a more formal group. Below are a list of great weekly teacher meetings held on twitter.

General chates
#ntchat - New teacher chat - learn or mentor - http://newteacherchat.wikispaces.com/
#edchat - The grandaddy of them all a general education chat - http://edchat.pbworks.com/w/page/219908/FrontPage
#cpchat - connected principal chat - http://cpchat.org/
#spedchat - Special Education chat - https://spedchat.wikispaces.com/
Subjects
#sschat - Social Studies -http://sschat.ning.com/
#musiced - Music
#scichat  -Science

There are hundreds more find and learn about them here

Spending an hour once a week chatting on twitter doesn’t seem too big of a deal at first, but then again when it becomes a requirement it can be a big deal. Imagine this scenario though: This weeks #mathchat is "Is mathematics more important than numeracy?" this would be a great topic for elementary teachers to discuss. We decide to discuss it as part of our regular professional development in school. 


A professional learning community, again defined by Beach and Hall.
Professional Learning Communities are traditional school-based structures in which staff--both teachers and administrators--learn together with the goal of improving student achievement.
A teacher(s) or principal could participate in the #mathchat (held at noon or 7PM) then during regular team meeting times a discussion could be held. If nobody can make the chat, or even if they did, the archive can be distributed to the team and a discussion can be based on that. http://mathschat.wikispaces.com/Archive+of+mathchat

Discussions are held, teaching practices are modified or strengthened, and the school as a whole is improved.

So there you have it, two, of many, ways twitter can and does provide professional development for teachers. There are more, many more ways networking through twitter and social media can be a catalyst for growth in our personal and professional lives. I can directly connect my twitter use to a graduate school program, CPDU opportunities, and and even a few job opportunities. In the end though twiiter is what you make of it, good or bad.

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1 comment:

Paul Smith said...

Nice post! It explains Twitter and other edtech tools well. Thanks for sharing. Paper.li is getting more popular nowadays, and Twitter is used by more teachers too. I guess we'll have to accept the advent of education technology. Anyway, great introduction!

Paul
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