Connected Educator

Well, I did it.  I joined the growing group of 319 million active users in the social networking and microblogging service called Twitter (statista.com, 2016).  My preconceived notions of Twitter was that it was a place for celebrities to “tweet” about what they were eating that day, or for social media enthusiasts to “tweet” what they were feeling that day.   I had a very simplistic idea of what Twitter was used for besides hashtagging and sharing too much of irrelevant information.  A couple weeks ago my professor introduced the class to Twitter as a microblogging service with the power to collaborate with millions of people around the world.  To further boggle my mind, collaboration with users could take place instantaneously in a live Twitter chat! I was skeptical.  How could educators be taken seriously on this network that also has users “tweeting” about their breakfast burrito?

I participated in a live Twitter chat with my professor as the moderator and the class quickly joined in on the conversation.  Since the chat was an introduction to Twitter it was kept relatively informal in order to familiarize us with the format.  I learned how to “tweet” a response as well as “retweet” and “like” a post. I found myself getting a little lost in the chat, perhaps it wasn’t updating as quickly as I had expected it to.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to refresh the page or the page would refresh automatically.  I ended up going directly to the professor’s profile to see the generated prompts.  I do believe after participating in this chat, as well as speaking to other educators who passionately value Twitter, and my own small venture into Twitter on my own, that I could benefit from using Twitter.  I found relevant topics in regards to education, classroom management, and teaching techniques.  The information shared through Twitter is vast and I have yet to engage in topics that interest me personally or the subject matter that is specific to what I would like to teach.

Another part of the assignment required students to expand their personal learning network (PLN) by connecting with fellow classmates on LinkedIn and following them on Twitter.  In addition, we were to read our classmates’ bios and initial blog posts about ISTE standards, answer the question posed at the end of the post, and provide an online resource to add to the conversation.  I was able to add two classmates from my section of class: Mary H. and Holly W.

  • Mary asked the question, “What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of adapting technology in the classroom?”  I responded that I feel the inaccessibility of technology and internet at home is the most challenging aspect and I included an article on supporting students without home access.
  • Holly asked the question, “Does anyone else feel not so confident in the digital world like me?”  I responded to Holly with absolute honesty…no I am not confident in my abilities when it comes to technology and the advancing digital world.  It’s scary but I have to try to catch up in order to “survive” as I said.  I included two youtube videos, one Tedx Talk about confidence and another Tedx Talk about embracing student knowledge.

I was also able to add two students from the Monday section to my personal learning network.  I was excited to see that the two students, Rob F. and Kelsey P., were also aspiring biology/science teachers like me.

  • Rob asked the question, “How do teachers provide technological fluency and awareness to students that do not have consistent and reliable access to technology?” I responded to Rob similarly to the way I did with Mary’s question and I included the same article that I did with Mary about supporting students without home access.
  • After reading Kelsey’s blog post and bio, I included the same Tedx Talk about embracing student knowledge that I did for Holly because I felt it highlighted the fact that as educators we can take our classes on virtual fieldtrips and also to embrace the notion that students can teach us, we don’t always need to know the answers.

After completing this assignment I found the activities I participated in were relatable to the ISTE standards #3 Model Digital Age Work and Learning, #4 Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility, and #5 Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership.  I was able to familiarize myself with Twitter through a chat, model digital citizenship (by not being a bully or posting inappropriate content), and I found myself engaging in professional growth by expanding my PLN and branching off to other educational Twitter handles.  I am confident that I will use Twitter in the future to expand my network, collaborate with others in my field, and gain ideas for my class.

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