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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

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Many readers may be familiar with the Humans of New York, a series that shares interviews with people in New York City. It’s a great way to tell the story of that city from many different points of view.

Here in Vermont, there’s a Twitter handle called @ThisIsVT, where each week, a different Vermont resident shares their story, their view of Vermont, and offers different perspectives of this great state via tweets. The bio for the account changes each week to reflect who is doing the tweeting.

We have a fairly active Twitter hashtag for education and educators in Vermont, #VTed. It’s used for all things education, including tweets from those at meetings and conferences, school or district shares, and as a vehicle for educators to connect and build their PLN. There’s a chat every other Thursday evening at 8 pm EST. We hope educators know that all are welcome, even if you don’t live in Vermont.

ardl1s_0_400x400A new Twitter account, @ThisIsVTEd was born in September, building upon the @ThisIsVT idea and expanding it to education. It was an organic evolution among the facilitators & participants in a #VTed chat last year. Each week, a different school or school district takes the helm and tweets out their story, their happenings, and their point of view of education in Vermont. Thanks to Ned Kirsch (@betavt), Jason Finley (@finleyjd), and The Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education (@innovativeEd) for getting the ball rolling with this great idea!

Last week it was our turn in the Williston, VT schools. While we didn’t capture every element of what happens in our schools or even each teaching team, it provides a nice window into what makes our schools special. Here’s a Storify I put together to showcase last week’s tweets from @ThisIsVTEd, as well as tweets and Instagram shares with our schools’ hashtag #wsdvt.wsd-logo

@ThisIsVTEd has rotated to a new ‘tweeter’ this week. Be sure to check out the bio on Twitter to see who is tweeting! Regardless, it’s a fabulous way to see what’s happening in Vermont Education. We’re back to tweeting from our usual account, @wsdvt.

 

Window photo: Creative Commons/Flickr via James Lee https://flic.kr/p/8mN4qm

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I’ve written quite a few posts that are about the power or usefulness of Twitter. Recently, I’ve noticed discussion on Twitter and in other forums about Twitter’s future. That has caused me to stop, pause, and reflect.

As an educator, I can’t think of a more perfect tool.

US ON TWITTER

I could share the many ways our teachers utilize Twitter as professionals and/or with their students. I could share how they’ve connected to experts, authors, other classes, and joined collaborative projects. I could share so many more things. But let’s keep this simple. I think Twitter provides us with something that other tools and sites do not – a quick way to share with, connect with, and access the world.

I saw this post yesterday, and hope that others will consider how we can use Twitter for GOOD. Let’s harness the power of this great tool, help one another, and move forward positively.

 

 

 

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I’ve had a few experiences lately where I’ve been so impressed with what’s happening at the primary level. By that, I mean grades K-2, but this is certainly prevalent at other levels as well.

I taught some courses this summer and had the privilege of working with teachers at all levels. Recently, teachers from two different courses, who teach at the primary level, have had things to share with me.

One course was all about integrating Google tools. During our week together, a few teachers and I got to talking about Twitter. Yes, not a Google tool, but still a powerful one. They wanted to hear more about how to use Twitter to make classroom connections. I continued the conversation with one teacher beyond our summer work. Last week, she came to visit one of our kindergarten classes, Sharon Davison‘s (@kkidsinvt), and watched the class use Twitter to share with other kindergarten classes (class account: @vermontkkids123). Our guest, a first grade teacher, also has explored the #1stchat hashtag and has lurked in a Twitter chat as well. She is overcome by the sheer numbers of primary educators that are out there sharing and connecting. Her visit to our school helped her get underway.

bloggingAnother summer course was about the integration of writing and digital tools. All of the participants in that one are primary teachers, plus one principal. Two of the teachers, who teach in our district but another school, have added blogging with their students to the vast array of things teachers are responsible for these days. They approached it systematically by paper-blogging and paper-commenting, leading up to using the technology for those tasks. The second grade teacher got things underway with her students and they blogged a few times and left one another comments. The teacher was thrilled and set up a future session with her colleague, who teaches first grade. Today, the second graders taught the first graders how to access and create their blog posts. I was invited to observe and help out. They didn’t need my help- these students were ALL engaged and on task. They all felt successful and the first posts by first graders were a huge hit.

I got back to my school and walked into a computer lab filled with a first/second grade class (multi-age). They also were blogging! The teacher was so excited at how well things were going, how easily the students were navigating Kidblog, and how many skills are embedded in the experience. She is eager to try to help more of her colleague see the light.

Finally, one of our third/fourth grade classes (multi-age) has been participating in the Global Read Aloud author study of Peter Reynolds’ books. They’ve been blogging about his books and including some amazing reflections. They have also learned a lot about commenting – from penny comments to dollar comments, as well as highway and dead-end comments. The teacher used the Global Read Aloud hashtag #grapeter to share a set of recent posts about Peter’s books . What came next was the biggest surprise of all; Peter Reynolds commented on her students’ posts! the students and the teacher were jumping up and down with excitement. What a fabulous way to understand the power of a larger audience.

It’s been great to have more and more positive examples of how our younger students can and do achieve a lot with digital tools.

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I’ve read a lot of posts during Connected Educator Month, about the value of being connected. I consider myself a connected educator, though sometimes more connected than others. What you put in directly relates to what you get out; it does take work and time. However, it’s well worth it. As many have said in a variety of ways, “all of us are smarter than any of us.”

What Being Connected Is:

  • Developing trusting relationships online and face to face
  • Giving as much as you take
  • Sharing
  • Collaborating

Last week I went to visit another school district to facilitate a session for their in-service day. I offered a session about the importance of blogging with students. When I shared about students writing for a larger audience and the change in motivation, a number of teachers in the room asked how you build that audience. How do you find other classes with which to collaborate?

I said that I use my PLN – especially networks on Twitter and various Google+ Communities of which I’m a member. Many in the room stared at me as if I was from another planet. I reflexively turn to these networks to ask questions, to share ideas and resources, and to connect that I don’t even think about it anymore. But for someone new to it all, it can be intimidating. chain link

Tips to Get Connected:

  • Start slowly, it won’t all come together at once.
  • Join one of these networks – Twitter or Google+. Just one. See how it goes. If you like it, keep going. If not, try the other one.
  • Ask others who are already connected to help you.
  • Observe, watch, lurk.
  • Put your toes in the water and send out a tweet or a post in a community.
  • Take risks. No one will judge you. Instead you’ll be welcomed.

There’s a whole wide world out there full of educators who are sharing and connecting. Join it. It will change how you view education and your work, and then have an impact on your students as well. Get smarter- connect.


 

Image originally from: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by jspad: http://flickr.com/photos/jspad/3349733909

Then adapted with pixlr.com

 

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3 Go-To Sites

Post 26 of the Teach Thought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeWhat are your 3 favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?


 

No hesitation here, these are by far my top 3 go-to tools!

twitterTwitter:  As I wrote about in this post, Twitter is a huge part of my PLN. I learn from others, gather resources, connect, and share. This past summer while at ISTE, I heard someone say that if it were possible to break down Twitter users by profession, educators would represent the largest group. I am not surprised by that fact. (myth?) There are educators at every level, subject area, and area of expertise sharing and connecting with one another on Twitter. Rather than follow individual blogs, I follow people on Twitter who provide links to new posts. The education chats provide connections with others with whom I reflect on my practice, create new collaborative projects, and professional development in its best form, (Feel free to click on Twitter in my tags and view other posts on this topic)

google plusGoogle+: Some people are surprised at this one. People question whether or not anyone is using Google+. The resounding answer is YES – lots of educators! I have joined a number of communities on Google+ that provide similar resources and connections as Twitter. If you are a Technology Integration Specialist like me, check out the Instructional Technology Integrators & Coaches Community, or the Technology Integration Specialist Think Tank Community. If you’re a classroom teacher, this is one of my favorites – the Connected Classrooms Workshop Community or the Mystery Hangout Community.

 

diigoDiigo: I use Diigo to collect resources, save posts, and then access them again when needed. I have the Diigo extension installed in Chrome, and have also installed the tool on my iPad. I go to Diigo all day long, to save things I come across on Twitter and/or Google+ as well as to retrieve things I’ve save. I create a Tech News every few weeks as a resource for our educators. It’s simple to gather the recent articles and posts that I want to share by going to Diigo and searching for my TechNews tag. When teachers ask me if I know of resources about a particular topic, I immediately go to Diigo to see what I’ve already saved that I can then pass along. This tool is a life-saver and time-saver for me. And I’m not even sharing about the ‘social bookmarking’ capabilities!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Post 22 on the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeWhat does your PLN look like? What does it do for you teaching?


 

I have written numerous times about my PLN and the value and importance of it. Feel free to click on the tag list to the right and view some of my other posts about PLNs.

As others have written, I also connect with the PLC (Personal Learning Community) in my school, district, and state. I learn a lot from my local colleagues and relish their contributions to my learning.

I also connect with my PLN – my Personal Learning Network. These are the folks I might know or might not know, but we all share something in common. We want to learn, to grow, to connect, and to share. Sometimes I get the opportunity to meet those in my PLN at conferences, like the ISTE conference at the end of June. It’s a true joy to finally greet them face-to-face. But most of the time, I benefit from a global group online. I use Twitter and Google+ the most, though I know others use tools like Pinterest and LinkedIn.

You have to find what works for you.  You have to decide that this is something you want to commit to and make the time. The more you put yourself out there, the more you get in return. Twitter has become a more refined Google search for me -helping me get the results I need from the people who count the most. It’s hard at first, but building relationships and trust matter in the same way they do face-to-face.  My networks help me learn, but they also help me stay current. I connect with others who share the same passions, and I also follow others who may have a different mindset- in order to stretch my thinking and see things from varied perspectives.

As a connected educator, the ideas, resources, conversations, and comments I receive directly benefits my work with other educators in my PLC as well as my work with students.

The lessons I’ve learned have impacted my work. I am a connected educator. I tweet, I share, I blog (!). I attend edCamps when possible, conferences, and workshops. I have taught classes to educators in my district about building our PLNs. I’ve seen the return on my investment and feel that the many other educators on Twitter and other networks have as well. Now to help those who are not yet connected, connect. October is Connected Educator’s Month! What a great time to expand and grow!

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Reading for Pleasure

Post 21 on the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeDo you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.


 

I have been looking at other posts with the #reflectiveteacher hashtag and am struck by the varied interests and hobbies! I reflect on my own interests and realize, not for the first time, that I’m not outdoorsy, I don’t play an instrument, and I am not particularly active (yes, I know I have to work on that one). Five years ago I followed my passion for technology in education and left classroom teaching to take on my current role. That’s my hobby, but it’s also my work. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two overlap.dahl

Another main interest is reading. I read a lot professionally (Twitter and Google+ are among the top two resources for my learning), but I also read for pleasure. I’m in two book groups and love it when someone picks a book that otherwise I would not have heard of or chosen on my own. Reading broadens my horizons, takes me to new places, and helps me grow and learn.

When I was a classroom teacher, I loved reading to my students. ‘Chapter books’ were a joy to read, especially those by Roald Dahl. Reading The BFG was a bi-annual treat for many years. We followed the Iditarod each year. I always needed a student to read the last chapter of Stone Fox, as I couldn’t do it without crying. I also love ‘picture books’ and incorporated them into both the content curriculum as well as the social-emotional curriculum. Of course, books by Peter Reynolds, The Dot, Ish, The North Star, and Sky Color are among my favorites. Those books made their mark on me. Even though I’m no longer in the classroom, I hold strong memories of the joyful experiences brought forth through literature.

In recent years, I think perhaps because I see librarians sharing their favorite books on Twitter, I have been drawn to books that help us appreciate the differences among us. Some that stand out are Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, and Out of My Mind. These books have impacted my work and interactions with students immensely. If you haven’t read them, please do.

 

Image created at Quozio.com

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