Monday, October 3, 2016

The Case for Retweets

I sometimes feel like the same things pop up on Twitter over and over again. I look to Twitter for innovative technologies, new ideas in education, or great reading to push my thinking. There are moments when I don't find anything that grabs my attention as something to explore; I feel like I see the same things being shared multiple times....and that's when I stop and think.

1. Consider a metaphor, where transportation equals learning; everyone travels differently.  Some walk leisurely down a quiet country path, embracing the peace that is stirred only by a single songbird in a tree; others blast through subway tunnels, high on the anticipation of where the trains may take them; still others are welding a supersonic, time-travelling submarine in their garage, preparing for a mind-blowing journey.  Each journey is valid, and has value for the traveller.

2. What may be a familiar idea to me, may be brand new, exciting, and motivating for someone else. I joined Twitter to be part of a Learning Network; I should contribute as a team player to augment others' learning. You may not need to read at length about a new tool or pedagogical practice; don't let that govern whether or not you retweet. Someone in your PLN is likely to find this tweet useful and valuable.

While it can at times be tedious to wade through the current, your "aha" tweet, retweeted by someone else, will float by any time soon.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Leverage Google Hangouts in class

Today at CATC Camp, a group of 30 educators took part in a discussion about online assessment tools. During the chat, we invited in Sandra from Sesame to answer any specific questions about this tool. She used a screen share to visually walk us through various steps using this tool. We were able to share some questions with her in advance with a google form and corresponding answer sheet, so she was prepared before hand.

As a classroom teacher with a GAFE environment, we have access to the amazing Google Hangout tool to invite experts into the room too. Teachers no longer need to feel pressure to know every answer, or to feel inadequate because s/he cannot answer a student question immediately.  Everyday learning can happen in a larger, virtual community outside the four walls of our classrooms. Who can you invite to teach your class as a virtual guest speaker?
Students chat with author Kit Pearson about The Sky is Falling

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Igniting Connections 50 Years Later

I tried to light some fires today. I took a risk and used social media to contact people I don't know. Part of me felt a bit like a sales weasel, but I persevered through that uneasiness because I believe in what I did.
In 1966 my mom graduated from Imlay City High School, in Imlay City Michigan. Her class is coming back together in two weeks for their 50th reunion; those who are able to anyway.  My mom is not in that group, and I feel badly that she cannot travel to attend, when I know she would love to see her friends back in their home town again.

I decided to take a risk to create a way for grads to connect virtually. I made a Google Form, and a map, where grads could input their current location, and add email if they wished to get in contact with anyone again. Sounds great, right? Why do I still feel like I'm locked out of the school with no way in? The '66 grads are almost 70 years old, and I worried that many of them would not have a strong social media presence, so I could push this idea to them. I was surprised to find a good number of graduates on Facebook (after some careful sleuthing through reunion photo credits) so I decided to shoot them all a message explaining who I am, and would they mind sharing the form and map links to anyone else from that era, thanks very much?

I know social media isn't meant for cold solicitation; I don't appreciate when companies "follow" me with the hopes of peddling a product. However, my product is Human Connection. I believe in the positive powers of my product, and its benefit to everyone who uses it. All I want is for my mom to feel a part of her class reunion. To me, it was worth taking the risk to tap a few strangers on the shoulder to see if they'd like to play along.  I'm now trusting the Universe and my faithful PLN to help RT and spread the word for me too. I'll put the matches down for now.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What If...?

I have combined 2 responses into one thought; asking teachers to behave like learners, stepping down from their figurative platforms, would be an enormous risk for many.  The idea of not having every answer goes against the ingrained idea of teacher as fountain of wisdom. That said, I think that is self-imposed, and not the way we view our colleagues. (it only matters if we are the all-knowing)
If I were a student, it would be comforting to watch my teacher learn along with me; it might even be a great opportunity for me to teach him/her, upping my self-esteem, and letting me consolidate my own learning.

Here are more what ifs:

What if we could all practise the Law of Two Feet every day in our schools?
What if I could spend time learning from colleagues and other students at my own pace?
What if students could pick and choose simply based on inspiration and curiosity?
What would the general public think looking in from the outside?
How might that change if they could also experience this model?