Category Archives: Social Media

Twitter for Teachers: Tweet Chats

Last night, I participated in a Twitter (or tweet chat) hosted by educators in Ohio under the hashtag #OCIRA.

What is a Twitter or tweet chat, you may ask?

According to Forbes.com:

A tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation.

 

This #OCIRA Twitter chat was hosted by none other than noted literacy author, Tanny McGregor.

Twitter is a powerful tool for teachers searching for unique and vibrant professional learning. In this case, I was able to interact with other educators, including Tanny herself, in real time on the topic of reading comprehension.

 As McGregor was the moderator, she steered the discussion by way of 7 or so questions, all focusing on reading comprehension and literacy, the subject of her work as a speaker and as a teacher.

Over the course of the hour-long discussion – which flies by, I might add – I had the opportunity to contribute my own ideas and experiences, and then read about the ideas and experiences of other educators.tanny mcgregor twitter chatAnd what a thrilling (yes, thrilling) experience to have other educators from another part of the world acknowledge and even affirm my ideas and experiences. Indeed, how thrilling it was to have Tanny McGregor herself like and retweet some of my posts. Amazing.

Where else could I exchange ideas and learn with an edu-guru such as Tanny McGregor?

For educators, Twitter can be a powerful tool for learning, connecting, and sharing professional ideas and experiences.

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If you would like to participate in a tweet chat, searching “tweet chats education” will bring up this list and schedule of tweet chats as well as this web page from Cybrarman.

If you want to explore other ways teachers are using Twitter, then type “Twitter for Teachers” into Google.

Plus: Twitter Cheat Sheet for Educators

Where English Teachers go to help each other…

The English Companion Ning

After allowing it to lapse, I decided to reactivate my Ning account yesterday. Ning is a site that, for a small fee, allows users to create their own social network on whatever topic they desire.  Ning originally was a free service and during that time, I created a few social networks that were contained to just a particular class. So, for example, I create a Ning site for my English Media course and because Ning has almost all of the same basic functionality as Facebook, the students were able to interact with each other in a non-traditional way. Ning eventually did become the pay site it is today and, for reasons I can’t remember, I stopped using Ning about 1 year and a half ago.

But as I was re-activating my account, I remembered the ECN — English Companion Ning — which is created by and for English teachers. In my new role as a Literacy Learning Coordinator, I plan on delving a bit deeper into this site and even suggesting it to teachers as a resource.

Here is the link: http://englishcompanion.ning.com/

Opinion: Learning faster without teachers

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/27/opinion/ted-prize-students-teach-themselves?c=&page=1

5 Ways Social Media Will Change The Way You Work in 2013

Although it is obviously written for and from a business perspective, I think there are some connections to be made to how we teach and what we teach students:

Forbes

 

In the nine short years since Mark Zuckerberglaunched thefacebook.com, social media has evolved from dorm room toy to boardroom tool. Last year, 73 percent of Fortune 500 companieswere active on Twitter, while more than 80 percent of executives believed social media engagement led to increased sales.

So what does 2013 hold for social media in the workplace?5 Ways Social Media Will Change The Way You Work in 2013

 

Laptop Spying to Combat Digital Distraction?

I stumbled upon this article this morning, which is another interesting piece to add to the puzzle of the role of digital devices in the classroom and the articles I posted yesterday.

By Louise Brown of the Toronto Star:

York University prof enlists student snitches to battle digital distraction

When professor Henry Kim noticed a student this week paying more attention to his laptop than the class discussion, he asked another student to check out the suspect’s screen.

Twitter.

Busted.

The business professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business quietly asked the tweeter to leave for the rest of the 90-minute class for breaking the pledge his students must take not to use laptops for anything but class work.

And it meant using another new pledge this frustrated teacher had students take this fall; to spy on a classmate’s screen, if asked, and report truthfully what they see.

By recruiting this new breed of screen snitches, Kim hopes to make digital distraction so socially awkward that students will close forbidden windows — Facebook, email, Sikh field hockey matches — and plug into class…

READ MORE

 

 

Digital Classroom: Good Idea?

Here’s a trio of articles I have come across recently which explore the idea of increasing the digital presence in the classroom:

7 Solutions for Educators Who Want 21st Century Students to Tune In

From http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.ca

“If your target audience isn’t listening to you, it’s not their fault, it’s yours” Seth Godin

More and more I am reading articles like this one Colleges worry about always-plugged-in students. In it they talk about college professors and administrators who have or are considering unplugging student’s access to the internet or banning technology altogether so students will focus. These learning institutions are moving in the wrong direction!

When we blame or ban the technology,  we solve our issue temporarily, but we are ignoring the root of the problem.When it comes to learning, many educators know banning is the easy way out, but there are a number of reasons behind why students are not paying attention. Rather than taking away student rights and the freedom to use the tools they want, we must address the root of the issue that is causing the problem. My advice comes from someone who teaches adults and students in a “no ban zone.” These ideas work for me and they will work for you…
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Let’s unplug the digital classroom

By Doug Mann, The Toronto Star,
Saturday October 06, 2012

We are entering an age when the “digital delivery of course content can free faculty in traditional institutions to engage in direct dialogue and mentorship with students.”

So says the Ontario government’s 2012 white paper on education, “Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge.” Professors muse that the classroom must “evolve or die” to become more “fun and engaging” for the modern student.

Such views are misinformed at best, crude propaganda for Apple and Microsoft at worst. The use of digital technology in higher education has promoted ignorance, not knowledge, and severely degraded basic reading, writing and thinking skills. It’s time to hit the off button.

One problem with the most enthusiastic futurists is that too many of them haven’t spent any time in the classroom in the last decade.
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School 2.0: teachers will be liberated from the classroom

Somewhere, this year, a university hired its last tenured professor. That’s because of the economic pressures on higher education. Next year, a university will hire its last faculty member expected to teach in a classroom. And that’s because of the technological pressures on higher education.

Technology won’t kill university education any more than television killed radio, but it will transform it. While your kids will still go to college, and it will still cost a fortune, their study time will look radically different than it does today. Even though our university classroom teachers may be replaced with robots, websites or direct-to-brain Ethernet jacks, on-campus higher education will still have a place that no Massive Open Online Course will supplant in our lifetime.

To understand why the future won’t kill college, it helps to remember how technology has already transformed education.

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Will Richardson: Should We Connect School Life to Real Life?

Should We Connect School Life to Real Life?
October 5, 2012 | 6:00 AM |

Excerpted from Will Richardson’s new TED Book Why School: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere. Richardson offers provocative alternatives to the existing education system, questioning everything from standardized assessments to the role of the teacher. In this chapter, “Real Work for Real Audiences,” Richardson envisions students creating work that is relevant and useful in the world outside school.

By Will Richardson

So what if we were to say that, starting this year, even with our children in K– 5, at least half of the time they spend on schoolwork must be on stuff that can’t end up in a folder we put away? That the reason they’re doing their schoolwork isn’t just for a grade or for it to be pinned up in the hallway? It should be because their work is something they create on their own, or with others, that has real value in the real world.

I’m not even necessarily talking about doing something with technology. (Let’s face it, though: Paper is a 20th-century staple that has severely limited potential, compared to digital spaces.) There’s lots of creating our kids can do with traditional tools that can serve a real audience. Publishing books, putting on plays, and doing community service are just a few examples.

But what if we got a little crazy and added some technology into the mix? We could tell our kids, “You know, in addition to taking that test on the Vietnam War, we want you to go and interview some veterans, then collect those stories into a series of podcasts that people all over the world could listen to and learn from.”