Sunday, November 4, 2012

Twitter and Professional Development

Twitter can if be part of your personal PD?

My responnse would be absolutely! My work partner Greg and I have had many discussions about how the world of twitter has been an amazing means to personal growth in our profession and in helping otheres. As Educational Technology Consultants we have been able to connect with other educators in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, US and around the world to share information regarding technology integration, great lessons, new apps, up and coming trends, student exemplars and professional readings that prompt you to learn how to do something new.

It actually is PD on steriods as you can get extremely addicted and want to be in twitter land bookmarking, responding, tweeting, retweeting, favoriting etc. The great thing is that there is so much you never feel like you missed something. As one of my previous post states it also makes you feel good to share your ideas, share other people's ideas by retweeting and ask for advice from the world.

Twitter is a social media tool that can meet many needs and be a great source of information. It can be used in the classroom in so many ways, I hope to explore that more in my next post but for today, make sure you join twitter so that you can make the PD connections and share your great ideas, links, research finds, books and articles to read!

Make sure you check out the following resoures to help with your twitter adventure:

Twitter Tools Resources:

Students Voice.... do we hear it?

Students teaching us...... stop and listen to their voice.

So when they told me I would be going to a High School, I was stunned. I wasn't sure that is where my talents would best be used. Was I wrong...

I have had the honour and pleasure to work with some amazing students and staff over the past few months. Not only did I learn that what we as individuals feel our talents are can be so off base but I also learned that you are placed where you are needed and where you will learn.

So often as educators many people see what they can do for their students and that is awesome and inspiring but if we would stop for a moment and see what they can do for us, we would realize that this learning journey is a two way street. Sometimes we are the ones following and learning from the students who given the chance can lead!

Inquiry based learning has so often freaked out educators, parents and those around our students with the idea that how will we know what they have learned, they need more structures, etc. But if we can just learn to reflect and let them show us what they know in their own way we might be surprised at what they have learned, the connections they have made and the direction they might lead us to make new connections.

It isn't just the use of technology that enables our young people today, it is that in the online environments and social networks they have a voice and people hear them, respond to them and actually act on their ideas. Can we say this is true of all of our classrooms? Do we hear them? Do we respond to them in a way that they feel heard?

Is everything they say important, necessary, or even on topic... probably not. But the question is do they have the opportunity or do they see the classroom as a place that they just sit and take in information? Social Media provides them with a place and they know that they are welcome to give their ideas, opinions or questions.

More than ever we need to model for our students how to use that forum to thier dvantage and to use it properly. If we can model the use of social media to promote ideas, critically provide feedback and share information instead of bullying, being rash in decision making or just using it to be abusive we can help our young people to make a difference using their voice.

A voice that we do want to hear and a voice that often has so much to offer. I am challenging myself and educators I know to see if we can hear those voices clearer in our day to day work.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Using Technology to Demonstrate Process not just Product

I have had the great fortune to work with some amazing educators and leaders in using Technology with their students. One of the areas we are currently exploring is the use of basic tools to demonstrate understanding and as a means of documenting and reflecting on process.

Often times educators can get stuck in final products, or displaying of content but how do we assess the process taking place as the student creates, collaborates and connects?

Our group has been exploring the use of digital cameras, SMART Notebook recorder, Microsoft Photo Story 3, Audacity and simple audio recorder on most computers to record the process and have students reflect on their learning journey

This exploration has also let to the idea that Digital Storytelling can be used to reflect on these processes not just create a "story" that is our traditional story but tell the story of learning.

It provides us as educators with insights into their thinking, their understanding and their misunderstandings.

Simple topics that we have experimented with as a group include, Math talks where students explain a strategy, an answer to a problem, or a comparision of concepts. Another area includes retelling of an event in Social Studies, or Religion. A few classess have documented the process for solving an inquiry project or task and identifying the roles of each person in the group, the strategies used, the creation of the "bridge" "water test" and then the testing of the experiment. Their reflections on their success and what they would change or do differently is just as important if not more important than the actual product.

We recommend that every classroom keep a digital camera on hand for the students to grab and snap what is happening. Use the audio recorder on a laptop in a small group to capture group discussion, debate or just the brainstorming of a problem or taks. It will give us an eye /ear into the student thinking without comprimising what they want to say by our presence.

Even the Phys. Ed classroom could have cameras to document skills being learned, before / after. What other ideas can you think of for documenting process not product???

Share your ideas with our team!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Twitter as a Professional Development Tool

Can Twitter serves as a PD tool for educators? My response would be absolutely. My work partner Greg and I have had many discussion on how twitter has opened a world of professional development that we had not been a part of previously. As educationl technology consultants we have been fortunate to meet fellow educators in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, US and around the world that are willing to share their ideas, expertise, lessons, websites, articles, trends and upcoming technology with others.

In fact Twitter is like PD on steroids as it provides you with a direct link, you can personalize your learning and you can get addicted very easily. The great thing is when was the last time you heard a teacher say I am addicted to PD??

This kind of pd is perfect for today's learner, it is available 24/7, but you don't have to be in it 24/7. It can provide many collaborative spaces so you are not alone. It also celebrates that we are all lifelong learners regardless of age, work experience or education.

There is so much educators can do with Twitter in the classroom but I will save that for another post. For today I encourage everyone to use Twitter to find areas they want to explore in their field of teaching and learning, branch out to try something new and meet some great people.
Follow someone with the same interests and you never know where you will go!

I have included some resources that can be very useful for begining your Twitter journey.
Twitter Resources for Teachers
100 Tips and Resources for Teachers on Twitter
Twitter Resources for Educators:
Twitter in the Classroom

Friday, March 4, 2011

March already? Zeros for Students

Well, my resolution to blog regularly has "failed" must have been that I didn't prepare a rubric with which to assess myself, or was I just not engaged? Might it have been that I hadn't set out reasonable, measurable goals? Did I have choice in what I was doing?

Okay so I am not going crazy but these are the kinds of things we would ask of why students are not motivated, engaged or desire to complete tasks. Is it the task? Is it the content? Is it our instructional strategies? Combo anyone?

I don't profess to have answers but I do believe that if we as educators don't reflect and ask these kinds of questions when are students fail to rise to the occassion, skip classes, omitt assignments, engage elsewhere then we are failing as educators. We can't just slap a zero and say oh well, kid should have done their work.... or can we?

Now, I know the next argument is, do I wait forever to get the assignment? wellllll...... that is a whole other blog entry.

But I would love to hear other peoples views and comments on this...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Dec. 8th

To Share or Not to Share....

I confess I am a sharer! I feel that if I have something others might use it is only logical to share with them....
Recently at the 2010 ATLE conference I attened a session on Social Media with the Couros Brothers... although the topic was about Social Media, we engaged in the conversation of sharing. It has had me reflecting and thinking about this not so new idea but one that faces many of us in Ed Tech, Teaching and Learning. So this is my ponderings, please let me know your thoughts.

Do I need credit?.... not really.
Do I like it when people are grateful for the sharing? Of course, we all like our work to be appreciated. But is the simple act of someone using your material evidence or a sign of gratefulness?

When is sharing going to get easier for those that feel they put the hours into the work and therefore others should work for it too? Am I old fashioned, idealistic to believe that once we share, we will receive, and then we share more and we receive more.... crazy cycle but I like it!!

As educators we teach our students to share, we ask them to collaborate, to work together, to work cooperatively, to develop group working skills, yet often the concept of sharing with each other is a challenge to many teachers.
My question is why?
Is it greed?
Is it a need to be acknowledged?
Is it fear that their work/resources are not good enough and don't want to take the next step?
Is it horading ?
Is it competition?

What do you think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3rd, Twitter and it's role in Education

I have had a twitter account for some time but didn't really begin to use it for educational purposes until this summer. We were participating in the Emerge Conference in Banff Alberta and it was exciting to use the hash tags (#emerge2010) to follow along. We also introduced peers to the program. Once back at work though it became hard to follow.
My personal committment has been at least once a week check, comment and tweet. Sometimes I have many more, other times hard to get one in.

I have found some interesting people to follow in education, they have inspired me to create some lists to organize those I follow. I have also been introduced to Tweet Deck, Twitterfall and the idea of reviewing other lists to determine who you would like to follow. However the question we often here is, but what do you get out of it???

  • I get a chance to meet peers I might never meet and hear their great ideas.
  • I follow individuals who point out great lessons for smartboards and other technology integration.
  • I am directed to blogs, wikkis, articles and webspaces that have some very interesting trends, research and reflections on educational technology practices.
  • I feel like I am a part of a larger community, beyond my jurisdiction.

What do I want to get from it?

  • connections to people, places and practices.
  • enrich my understanding of content, concepts and issues facing educators.
  • challenge myself, discover new interests, reflect on my practice.

How will I get there?

  • Well, my plan is to learn to use Tweet Deck and Twitter Fall efficiently.
  • To find individuals to follow that inspire, motivate and give me cause to reflect.
  • To share what I learn along the way and hope that others will provide me with guidance and advance.
  • To committ to checking my twitter account regularly and to add it to this blog.

Let's see what happens, how are others using Twitter? Any advice out there or suggestions?