Muddling through the blogosphere

November 10, 2012
by blogwalker

3 More Tips for Teachers New to Twitter

This post is meant for educators who are new to Twitter, or are trying to bring colleagues on board with Twitter, or are somewhere in between. After  you read this post, I encourage you read Bill Ferriter’s 3 tips for teachers new to Twitter. It’s one of the resources I’m sharing in a series of Twitter 101 workshops I’m doing in my district and region.

Based on teachers’ and administrators’ questions, as well as lessons learned from student Tweeters, I’d like to add a few  tips to Bill’s three – but I think they should go first, kind of a pre-primer for Twitter. Once educators understand the power of Twitter as a tool for building their PLNs, as a classroom (short form) writing tool, and as a global microphone (for good or for ill), they will definitely benefit from Bill’s recommendations.

1. Twitter has evolved beyond “What are you doing?” – If you have dismissed Twitter as a valuable communication tool because you assume that Tweeting is all about “stopping at Starbucks for a latte,” for instance, I think you’ll change your mind when you see  how Twitter can provide a platform, accessible 24/7 , to share articles, classroom activities, suggestions, humor, and more – in 140 characters or less. Once you have set up an account, you can follow, learn from, and connect with education visionaries such as David Warlick, Vicki DavisWill Richardson, Larry Ferlazzo, and, of course, Bill Ferriter.

2. Understand that students need guidance and modeling – In districts that have not yet woven digital citizenship into the core curriculum, it is all too common to find even college-bound 12th graders who assumed that only their “followers” can read their inappropriate Tweets…posted to their Twitter accounts …that include their full names and school names… and that include links to their tumblr and instagram accounts…and on and on – and online:-(

If students entered high school already understanding the need to build a positive digital footprint that will enable them to “Google well,” fewer districts would be dealing with issues such as “When does shaming racists kids turn into cyberbullying?  With so many excellent, free resources for teaching students about the importance of their online persona (e.g., Common Sense Media, Netsmartz), starting classroom discussions on the smart and ethical use of Twitter and other social media could easily have a profound and positive impact on students’ (digital) citizenship skills.

3. Consider the power of  Twitter as a classroom tool – When you think of the role of Twitter in the “Arab Spring,” for instance, it seems unimaginable to teach current events without access to Twitter. Yet many districts block both teacher and student access to Twitter during the school day.  I am co-presenting the case to unblock Twitter in my district, and I think it’s going to happen:-). The tipping point in our argument has been sharing KQED’s Do Now project. “Do Now is a weekly activity for students to engage and respond to current issues using social media tools like Twitter. KQED aims to introduce 21st Century skills and add value to learning through the integration of relevant local content and new media tools and technologies. The project gives students a chance to practice civic engagement and digital citizenship skills while they explore ways to connect topics in their classes to the present day.” The site even includes a video to show how a San Francisco high school is using Twitter and Do Now as a starting activity for the school day. There’s nothing like having an example only a few counties away to push administrators to revisit filtering policies.

If you have other tips for teachers new to Twitter – or for advanced users, please leave a comment.  I would love to add them to this blog post as well as to my Twitter 101 workshop resources!




April 4, 2009
by blogwalker

Resources for Explaining Twitter

Twitter has been much in the news of late. From clips of members of Congress “tweeting” while in session to newscasters who end their late-breaking stories with not only an invitation to join the discussion on their network’s blog, but also to follow their Twitter feed. So I was not surprised during my Thursday night 2WebWatchers‘ presentation to find that parents now have more questions about Twitter than they do about MySpace.

I’ve also been following the discussions on Mike Arsenault‘s blog and Kevin Jarrett‘s blog and reflecting on my personal use of Twitter, a tool I’ve been using for about two years (thanks to a guided tour by Bud Hunt during a break out session, pub style, at a NWP Web Presence conference in Amherst MA).

So here’s my current list of favorite Twitter resources:

Twitter for me is my PLN at a glance. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t easily find gems within those 140-character chunks of resources, tips, inspiration, meaty questions – and humor.  Like Kevin Jarrett, I follow other educators – but only if they have a link to their website, so I have some idea of their educational philosophies. John Pederson, whose recent tweet lead me to the above YouTube gem, does not follow me.  I don’t care.  It would be hard to count the times I’ve logged on to Twitter just in time for one of John’s hilarious tweets.  And who doesn’t need a little humor infused into the work day?!  And lucky for me, I was able to convince our district that Twitter is one social networking service that deserves to be unblocked.

May 4, 2008
by blogwalker

Joining the Comment Challenge – 31 days to becoming a better blog citizen

I’m joining the 31-day Comment Challenge, which I first read about this morning in my friend Kevin‘s blog. In a way, I think Challenge organizers Kim Coffino, Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano, and Michele Martin have added structure to a direction I’ve been moving in the last year or so – moving away from reading “first wave” bloggers, who are typicallycomment_challenge_logo_2.png convention keynote speakers, published authors, etc., and, instead, reading blogs of fellow teachers, from near and far, who work directly with students. Twitter, I think, somehow has much to do with my switch in blog reading habits. It’s so easy and fast to read 140 character microblogs, and from a Tweet, I’ll often click on the Tweeter’s link and journey over to their blog. What I like about the 2nd wave of bloggers is that, unlike the 1st wave, conversations are more likely to happen, as opposed to a zillion people posting comment after comment. I feel a sense of community. With this idea of community in mind, I look forward to joining the challenge to becoming a better blog citizen.

Heading off to read Gina‘s Guide to Weblog Comments and to figure out the best way to jump start the challenge (since I’m beginning in Day 4;-)

March 5, 2008
by blogwalker

Twitter Preso at Edubloggercon

twitter.pngI’m at the CUE Conference a day early to attend the Edubloggercon. Sylvia Martinez is up right now doing a session on Twitter. With Twitter, comes a new term “microblogging.” She’s explaing how Twitteriffic works. She’s moved on to Tweet Scan and explaining the API thing, which allows 3rd parties “to suck stuff out of Twitter.” Tweet Scan allows you to search terms, such as your name, to see what Tweets are out there. Good way not to miss Tweets directed to you.

I like Steve Hargadon’s comparison of Twitter to a cocktail party. The participants are starting to chime in with the “presence” of Twitter community, because “there is a conversation going on all the time.” “It’s like being in the break room, not everybody is in there all the time, so no need to take it personally if you don’t get a response, unlike email.” And there’s even a My Tweets Map application…

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