From September to December 2011, I will be posting assignments for the TLDL class I am taking: EDES 501 Web2.0. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Move More, Talk Less

I've been teaching Math for two weeks in an elementary school. It was very fulfilling. I find when I supply teach I have more time to reflect than I did as a regular teacher. I enjoy the natural reflecting that occurs in my mind. I feel better about myself if I follow through in that reflection.

I always seem to have issues with getting students to refocus after down time. I'm always saying 'GRADE 4!! SETTLE DOWN!", in my big teacher voice, from the front if the room. It takes them at least 30seconds to respond. I have found that if I just start walking around the room, telling the little groupings it's time to move on, they respond immediately. I like the instant reaction and I like that I am saving my voice!

When i call from the front, they aren't ignoring me or being disrespectful. Students just don't hear us when we call to the big group. They are busy with each other and they are in the middle of conversations. I know when I'm in a big group i do the same thing. It's actually annoying to have the person at the front interrupting my conversation!!

That's led me to another thought- if I'm going to interrupt the little groups, I should have something important and useful to say that will add to the work being done.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Another great find today:

EPL and Freading

I love Edmonton Public Library. I love how on top they are with the latest technology. I just get so excited playing around on their website.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Animating Notes

Today I caught a student drawing pictures instead of taking notes. He was really upset that I caught him. In fact, he was quite distressed.

I'm really glad I didn't just yell at him and throw his work away. I took the page and looked at it. There I found the notes we'd taken in comic form. Ingenious!!! He had not only taken the notes, but he'd internalized them and then spit them out in the form of a comic! His characters were explaining why you should deal with stress and talked about strategies for coping. It was just hilarious!

Boy am I ever glad I didn't throw that work away. I would have missed out on a huge 'teaching' moment.

Friday, January 13, 2012

YouTube Access!!


I just found today that Edmonton Public Schools is no longer filtering YouTube and other such sites. Yeah!

Thank you to all of you who pushed this along. I didn't know if I'd ever see this day!

Friday, December 2, 2011


cc licensed flickr photo shared by Will Lion

Humility. Yes. Though I am not a marketer, blogging has taught me humility. It's not like I ever thought I was a great writer, because I'm not, but when I read fantastic blog posts it puts my writing to shame! Why are some people just natural with their words?? 

But here I am assuming that others just come up with ideas, start writing about it and viola, they have a great blog post. Or are they like me:

My blogging process:
1) Have an idea.
2) Start writing the post in my head.
3) Start writing post online in between changing diapers and cleaning house (or whatever you do in your stage of life).
4) Stop writing because you need to change another diaper.
5) Go back to blog post when baby is napping and you wonder what on earth you've written about and why there are a bunch of incoherent thoughts all over your draft. Couldn't you have written in complete sentences??
6) Sort through the jumble and try and make it organized, clean and concise. 
7) Take two hours at least to get it where you want. Have no idea if your even close to where it should be. 
8) Start cheering every time you finish a section.
9) Hit the darn publish button b/c your sick of reading your own words. 
10) Cheer.
11) Pick up child from school, make dinner, clean the disaster the baby left on the floor, do homework with child, throw kids in bed, put yourself to bed. Can't sleep.
12) Have an idea. 

Right at this moment I am at step 5. Kids are asleep as it's 6:16am.

So here we go...

Reflecting on the process:

Blogging has been hard for me (did the above rant clue you in to that?) thanks to Richardson's spectrum. If I had never learned about his spectrum I'd happily be blogging like a journal. But no, I'm supposed to be analyzing and synthesizing. Come on Will! Give us all a break! We're tired! :-) But alas, I did what I always do when I'm trying to figure things out. I made a visual. Check out the second page in my document because that is where I put the definitions of all the words that were confusing me. 

Blogging Spectrum Visual

I wrote some thoughts about the blogging spectrum in a class discussion for my EDES 501 class. Here are my thoughts:

Richardson's spectrum. has given me lots to think about. Reality is that I didn't really understand what he was talking about at level 6, 7, & 8. I understood the words but I couldn't visualize them in blog format. The two people I follow the most are Joyce Valenza and Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) and they both do a lot of posting links to good sources which is only level 4.

A recent blogger I have found is Angela Watson (The Cornerstone) and the things she writes about just speak to me. From what I have read so far, her blog is at level 6. She is very reflective, but it's mostly just her ideas. Mind you she does spent time on comments and her discussions do go on over time putting her at Level 8.
I guess what I am saying is that great bloggers aren't all complex bloggers. Do they need to become complex bloggers or is sitting at levels 4-7 good enough? Maybe the answer is that bloggers go up and down the spectrum depending on what they want to share (and how busy their lives are, and the purpose for their blog.)
On pg. 31 of Richardson's book, the page this spectrum is on, there is a quote from Ken Smith. There is one line in the quote that jumped out at me last night:
"Blogging, at base, is writing down what you think when you read others."
So I guess blogging is my opinion about someone else's opinion and it goes on and on like that. I guess through that process we learn about different view points and we start to synthesis our ideas to create an even better idea. Maybe that is why we have the cliche "Two heads are better than one" and maybe the cliche "Great minds think alike" is false:-)

Blogging for Personal Use:

Although my personal blog is a Level 2 on Will's spectrum, I still think that there is great value to journaling on a blog. First of all, there is an audience and interaction with others. I went a little overboard when I first started blogging in 2005. I LOVED having conversations with my friends and their friends and their friends about motherhood. I had a community at my fingertips and it was wonderful. It was so therapeutic to read and write about how we felt, our insecurities, perceived failures and frustrations. I didn't feel alone in motherhood any more which is strange because I am around mother's all the time. But I think people are more honest when they write for an audience they don't necessarily know. Through that honesty we were able to work through problems and be better women and mothers and actually feel like weren't as bad as we were imagining. As my daughter grew I no longer needed that community and I slowly drifted away from those conversations and stopped for awhile.

Then my sister-in-laws started to blog and I joined on the bandwagon again. This time I wrote about the happenings of our family. It was so much fun to read about the lives of our extended family and see pictures. We looked forward to their posts and still do! One of the best parts of keeping this blog though is the record of our lives that we are keeping. It is really fun to go back and read our posts. And with companies like Blurb we can print out our "family journal".

What's most exciting about blogging as a family is that the nieces have started their own blogs and it is fascinating to read what they have to say. I especially love reading my daughters blog. I learn a lot about her through it. Here is my favourite post so far:


The best part about her blogging is that she is now keeping the family journal instead of me. Yeah!!

I also think my blog has helped me improve my writing which is a sentiment I share with mreilly. He feels that writing in certain style (blogging) can strengthen your other writing in styles (academic). He writes:
 As it turns out, I have come to the decision that “academic” and online writing share about as much DNA as a great ape and a human do. Depending on how one looks at it, they share almost everything and nothing in common. The crossover between the two, however, produces interesting hybrid effects. For example, I decided that any research I introduced into my blog would need some veneer of storytelling, mystique, or performance. At the same time, I would need to write direct and honest statements, which might be read by someone with no idea about my topic or interest. The practice of shifting between registers of storytelling and personal clarity has benefitted my “academic” writing, and I have a will continue to have a good impression of blog-form even if the forum were to disappear tomorrow.
I am really hoping that all the time I have spent writing on this blog will improve my academic writing! 

Blogging for Professional Development:

When I met Jennifer Branch the first time to discuss the TL-DL program, she told me that if I started to follow the recommended blogs it would change my life. She was right. Initially I was so overwhelmed by the amount of information and the new ideas I was exposed to, but over time I started to see patterns and similarities in the information and the puzzle pieces started to come together for me. My life changed because my eyes were opened to new and refreshing ideas in the area of education. What had become a stagnant pool in my life was now a rushing river. I felt so refreshed, just like I do every time I tube down a river.

Over the past year and a half I have collected quite a few blogs that I follow:

I really feel that I have learned something from each of them because they all have something different to share me. Richard Byrne discusses this concept in the following blog post. 

I have definitely said "I don't have anything to say." That is why this blog post was so refreshing. Maybe I should believe in myself a little more! But it is intimidating to think that I am throwing ideas out there among the educational giants! I have sat in plenty of staff meetings where I am looked at as just a young twerp who has no idea what I am talking about. Last thing I want it is to have some same experience online! But I suspect that those who scowl at me in staff meetings aren't online - they can't be bothered - and those that are online are open-minded enough to be patient with us young-ins. 

This leads me to my fear of blogging. What if others do start reading my blog and they don't like what I have to say or how I say it?? John T Spencer wrote about this in his blog post Why I Blog?. (read just the highlights)

Essentially I have been thinking of writing a disclaimer on this blog: 

I get it. I don't know everything. You probably do know much more than I do, and I am probably missing part of the story. So just kindly post some links of where I can find the missing information, or politely leave me a kind comment and be on your merry way:-)

I do want my thinking to be pushed differently and I do want to be involved in answering hard questions but I want it to be done kindly. I'm always so afraid of the mean people out there! But like John said, through blogging he experienced acceptance that saved him from burnout, and found kindred spirits. I guess that outweighs the things I fear. 

Blogging in Education:

I have another quote from Richard Byrne's blog post from above, that I think displays a great mindset to have if you want your students to blog. 

It was great to read Richard's suggestion that students don't need to be writing complex posts. I think that would discourage many of them. But if we start them at Levels 2-4 and have them spend time reading and commenting on each others' posts, they will learn valuable lessons with this new digital literacy. I also like the idea of them reminding each other of what they have learned. Repetition can be a great tool when the same ideas are shared in different ways. 

Miss Ripp blogs with her students and she says it has been an "enriching educational experience". She wrote a blog post on 14 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging. I have included some of steps below:
There were a few things that stood out to me in this post. The first is that she mentions teaching students how to blog, how to be safe and how to comment. I guess these skills don't come innately to these supposed digital natives. I also thought it was interesting that she strongly encourages not to mark the blogs. In my grades-based mind I would have to give them a mark because I need marks for progress reports! It would be hard for me to spend  so much time on something with my class and not be able to formally evaluate them on it. Lastly, I really liked that the students connected with other student bloggers and that they mapped where the bloggers were from. 

In another class,  Miss Wilson's has had her Gr.1 students write and draw in their journals frequently. Recently she switched to blogging and feels that blogging is even better than journal writing. Here are some of her reasons:

Miss Wilson isn't the only person who has mentioned that a real bonus to blogging (or anything else online) is having a real or authentic audience versus just a one man audience of a teacher. In a study done by McGrail and Davis, it was found that at the beginning of the blogging exercise, students paid little attention to their audience as it was more abstract to them than real - their writing was detached. The article went so far to say that their writing was self- centered as they did not think at all of the needs of their readers because their only reader was their teacher and she was just an evaluator. It wasn't until students received comments that they became aware of their audience. 

To me, this study is saying that blogging is of no more value to students than writing on paper if their only audience is going to be their teacher. 

To end this post, I want to discuss the use of blogs outside of the classroom for the classroom. In the schools I have taught, there were students who have taken extended trips to see family or just to  travel, during all seasons of the year. If we want our classrooms to be as big as the world (Kist 2011, p. 2) wouldn’t it be terrific if the students could bring the world to their classroom while they were away?  Couros believes that some of the best learning can happen when families travel because they are being exposed to their (or another) culture and they are bonding with each other. He is opposed to sending homework with students as he does not feel that it provides meaningful learning for them: it is out of context and they have other things to explore. He provided an example of what could be done while students were done and calls it authentic learning.

Grade two student Quin went to China with his family for 3 weeks. His teacher asked him to check into their class website whenever he could, and write about what he’d been doing. They would check for postings every day and ask questions for him to answer. Quin wrote about the weather, what he ate, the shopping trips they took, the places they visited, the activities he did and that he lost a tooth. He even told his class that at his uncle’s shoe factory, people did the sewing and not machines. His parents wrote about the housing conditions and lack of refrigeration. His classmates responded by telling him that they missed him, that they wanted to go to China, that chicken feet sounded good and that they also had loose teeth. What a truly authentic learning opportunity for all involved! This is such a great example of making our classrooms as big as the world (Kist 2010, p.2).

Well this is my final blog post for the assignment other than my final reflections. It's a little surreal. Goodnight.

Kist, W. (2010). The socially networked classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Process of Blogging

Of course, I had to Jing my blog for you. Jing is just such a great way to capture the process of doing things.

I forgot to mention stats, so I've included two screenshots:

About a year ago the TL at my daughter's school was really excited to show me

It is an audio editor program that has been integrated into Google apps that the students at Edmonton Public Schools can access. I went home and tried to play with it because I am a curious person. I couldn't figure it out AT ALL. I was so confused that I just gave up!

Jump to September of this year: I was trying to decide what tools to play with for this inquiry when I read about a great idea in Neufeld and Smythe’s article. In Ms. L’s middle grade classroom, 20 of her 25 students were ELL. Ms. L encouraged her students to write a story, make it into an illustrated book, record the story as an audio file and upload it to the server for younger students to listen to as they read the book.

An idea instantly popped into my head: how about I create a story using Blurb and then narrate it using an audio editor?? I was so excited! I then had to decide which audio editor to use. Both Richardson (2010) and Berger and Trexler (2010) recommend using Audacity to make audio recordings. I have used Audacity for simple audio recordings and have found it quite intuitive to use. Byrne recommends using Aviary as it is completely web based, while Audacity has to be downloaded to the computer. Aviary allows teachers to create and supervise their students’ accounts. Students’ work is then saved in their accounts which can be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet. Because of my previous five minutes experience with Aviary I had to talk myself into using it. I kept telling myself that this was the time to play and investigate something difficult. 

Little did I realize how easy it was. All I needed was a little instruction.  I watched this four and a half minute video and it suddenly made sense to me. I was ready to go. It's amazing how a little information can go a long way.

The Process:
Here are two screencasts explaining the process I took to make the audio recording. 

Using Aviary Part 2:

Aviary for Personal Learning:

What did I learn from using Aviary?
1) Don't judge a Web 2.0 tool without using it.
2) Use web resources to help you learn about a Web 2.0 tool that scares you.
3) I really enjoy making audio recordings.
4) I don't feel like a fool when I am making audio recordings though I am acting like a fool.
5) Though not as chatty as I once was, I still like to talk. And I enjoy not being interrupted. That is why audio recordings are perfect for me:-)

Little Miss Chatterbox 

6)I LOVE adding music to stories. It made my initial audio recording come to life.
7) Aviary has an amazing collection of music to mix in with your audio recording.
8) There is so much more I need to learn about audio editors. I just scratched the surface of audio mixing.
9) I can honestly say that the entire process was so much fun. Talk about getting a high!

As a parent, I would encourage my daughter to make voice recordings. I think I'll use it to help her memorize her recitations that she is required to do monthly at school. Recording her poem would give her a chance to hear herself and make any changes that were necessary. My daughter has lots of personality and is a little dramatic and she loves to hear her own voice, so she would really enjoy using Aviary.

I also think it would be a great idea to record my son, who is only 17 months. His grandparents would love to hear him! I could just have him speak into my iPhone and send a quick message off, but I'd like to get some good quality recordings over the next few years and them put them all together into one recording for a great keepsake.

Aviary (or podcasting in general) for Professional Learning:
I really enjoy listening to podcasts when I exercise. My goal for the month of December is to exercise more and therefore listen to some podcasts. The way I decide which podcasts to listen to isn't very scientific. If a podcast has some music and is of good sound quality I am hooked and I listen to it. If there is only voice or the sound quality is poor, I won't listen to it. It takes too much effort! I only like listening to them on  my iPhone or on the computer while I am working on something else. Staring at a screen with just voice is not appealing to me. 

This is what I subscribe to currently:

I thought this would be a good time to look up some podcasts. In my search I found this great website created by David Warlick that's unfortunately is still in it's beginning stages.

 If you have any podcast suggestions, you can submit them via this form.

The following are the podcasts that I chose to take a listen to:

Found this podcast from Richard Byrne
The Reading Workshop: I like getting any information on literacy. 

Teacher Created Materials Podcasts: I really like their products so I'm hoping their podcasts will be just as good. 

The Teachers' Podcast: Found this just by searching online. We'll see if it's any good. 

Looked at his episode titles and thought I'd check him out. Education and Technology is what I'm all about!

Aviary for Education:

So going back to the beginning of this post, to the story of Mrs. L's students, who were creating audio recordings of their stories for younger students, we learn of the advantages of creating audio files. Throughout the process Mrs. L observed some interesting behaviours. Though some of the words in a student’s story were spelled incorrectly and his punctuation was missing, the student was still able to pronounce the words correctly and he included the proper punctuation as he read.  Another student didn’t have paragraphs in his story. As he read, he was able to tell where the natural breaks occurred. He then rewrote his story with proper paragraphing. 

I think it is so powerful that these students were able to self-correct through a medium other than writing. Self- correcting is such an important skill to have that the more ways we can teach students to do it, the better.

Connecting it back to my experience, in hindsight I would have written the story, recorded the audio, edited the story and re-recorded parts of it, because as I read I could tell where the story didn't flow well, or were my wording was awkward. But since I had already ordered the book, I couldn't go back and change it. If I were to do this again, or with students, I wouldn't finalize the writing of my story until after the first recording was complete. 

What's really nice about Aviary, is that you could make several recordings of a story and then edit them and combine the best readings to create a final project. The ability to cut and paste would make students (and me!) less weary as they try to achieve 'perfection'.

I love Readers Theatre, which is why I was eager to read an article on creating Readers Theatre PodcastsThough Readers Theatre on it's own is a great way to improve reading comprehension, Sheri Vasinda and Julie McLeod set out to discover the advantages of pairing Readers Theatre with podcasts. Their study was for 10 weeks and it included 100 students, 35 of which were struggling readers (at least one reading year behind). The following is my summary of the article:

- The goal of Readers Theatre is to make audience visualize the story. As Readers Theatre is a voice-only performance the students needed to use volume, pitch, intonation, and timing to create the visualization. In order to get to that level of performance, the students needed to really know the story, thus increasing their reading comprehension.

- Technology benefits- wider audience added authenticity and the recording process made the performance permanent thus motivating the students to produce their best work. Students evaluated their work and re-did their recordings until they were satisfied with them - didn't t just doing it once and forgot about it. 

- Results of the 35 struggling students:
Beginning mean reading score =1.09 
End mean score of the 10 weeks= 2.22 
A gain of 1.13years. 

I found this article fascinating and so exciting! To be able to engage students in this way is the whole point of technology in education. We can have technology in our classes and yet it can be meaningless (Beyond Technology for Technology's Sake). I wish I had a class to do this with! 

 Well to end this off, I loved Aviary! I expected the least from this Web 2.0 tool but I got the most from it - or maybe I just had the most fun. Not sure if those two are the same thing!


Berger, P., & Trexler, S. (2010). Choosing web 2.0 tools for learning and teaching in a digital world. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). 
                Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Current Events: Technology kicked out of the classroom?

This week a commercial on TV caught my attention. Discovery Channel Canada was congratulating Lester B Pearson School Board in Toronto for "transforming learning" by having access to Discovery Education STREAMING Canada Plus. The streaming provides "high quality, dynamic, digital content to school districts and boards, large and small, rural and suburban, and everything in between."

This reminded me of an article that Lisa Saunder posted in Coffee talk earlier this week. Her article was of the Wardof School in Edmonton that uses no technology in it's Gr.1/2 class - on purpose.
I didn't know what to think of it. It just seems so counter intuitive to exclude technology. I really liked the activities that they had for the students to use and think it would be fantastic if all classrooms could have a mix of Wardof and technology. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tweet Tweet, Twitter Twitter Twitter, Tweet Tweet

I can't help but sing Rockin' Robin when I think of Twitter. I had no idea the Jackson 5 sang it. I learn something new every day:)

EDES 501 is coming to a close so it's time for me to finish writing about Twitter. I have written five posts about Twitter so far:
I've written about:
- the Ocean of Twitter
- where to put all my good finds from Twitter (Evernote, Diigo)
- the feeling of 'this is too much info' when I go to Twitter
and finally
- how excited I was when I started to figure things out

Reflections on the Process:

Going back to the beginning:

What I knew:
- that I could use Twitter on my desktop, laptop, iPhone and iPad
- could follow people
- find some interesting information

What I know now:
- prefer using it on iPhone and iPad

- can create lists from saved searches

- I can save my good finds to Diigo and Evernote
- They have made it much easier to read and save tweets on mobile devices
- I can follow conversations
- I really like tweeting with people I know from class

- I'm not afraid of commenting and I love getting feedback!! (I commented on this Tweet because I know the MP he was talking about. Familiarity makes all the difference for me.)

And above all, I LIKE TWITTER!!! Yeah!!

Twitter for my own Learning:
I am really glad that I chose to play with Twitter this term. It's so easy to avoid things that are difficult. I guess I just felt like I didn't belong. But as I have made an effort to reach out and be a part of Twitter, I have had a warm reception. It's such a great feeling to be a part of something that is so big. 

I found that Twitter was one of the best ways to communicate with other class members. Though we have Moodle, emails and our blogs, Twitter is just more convenient. Once the Moodle site closes and email addresses change, Twitter will still be there, (mind you Web 2.0 is constantly changing) and I will easily be able to keep in touch with classmates. 

I love getting to know new people. I love hearing what other people have to say. Twitter is great because I can get to know so many new people all at once! Here are some people I really enjoy following:

- @gcouros
- @buffyjhamilton
- joannedegroot
- joycevalenza
- @heyjudeonline
- @lancestrate
I just find that I have learned a lot from them. They tweet things that are pertinent in my life right now.

I try to go on Twitter once a day. I just start at the top, scroll through the tweets and click on anything that stands out to me. Here are a few of the things that I have found through Twitter:

Great Quotes:

Dean Shareski (@shareski)
 11-10-16 9:53 PM
Saying "It's not about the technology" is a little like telling Yo Yo Ma, "It's not about the cello".

Opportunity to comment:
8rinaldi (@8rinaldi)
11-10-13 9:05 AM
6th gr scary stories in 300words or less. Students would love comments. #comments4kids#ebshare #edchat #6thchat
Links to topics I am interested in:
Simbeck-Hampson (@simbeckhampson)
11-10-17 4:14 AM
Excellent article on Content Anaylsis by Jan Wyllie #curation Like Minds |

Opportunity to contribute:

Lindsay Pedlow (@LindsayPedlow)
11-10-16 3:50 PM
Student teacher looking for some help defining what it means to be a good teacher! Please take my Survey #edchat

Articles to use in this assignment:

George Couros (@gcouros)
10/15/11 6:33 PM
Awesome! RT @Luke_English: New blog post on.... blogging!…#psd70 #edchat

A terrific website to follow:

Anita Silvey (@anitasilvey)
11-10-21 4:42 AM
On its birthday, the story behind Harriet the Spy.

As I have have gone through my findings, it has occurred to me that my change of heart has come because it is now easier for me to reference the information I find on Twitter. I emailed the tweets above to myself and they were easy to find when I searched them in my email. Another thing that has happened is that I no longer feel the need to keep up with every tweet. When I get the chance, I go to Twitter, I learn what I can in the time I have and I move on with my life. I no longer feel this constant feeling that I am missing something. I'm just letting it all go over me like a gentle wave:-)

Twitter for PD:
When I began teacher training 12 years ago I preferred to work on my own. I would have been happy teaching in a one-room school house where very few people would ever see me teach. I disliked group work - I suspect I was scarred in Jr High and High School! But as I continued in my training I met fabulous men and women who had so much to teach me. There was no way I was going to be able to become a great teacher on my own. I needed all the help I could get. Since that time I have gone out of my way to learn from any teacher I can - watching them teach, using their resources or just listening to their stories.

Now a days we have this amazing opportunity to learn from teachers all over the world. What a gift! And yet many of the best social media sites are prohibited in our schools and classrooms. Pearson Centre for Policy and Learning, in the UK, recently published a research paper entitled Tweeting for teachers: how can social media support teacher professional  development?  Their recommendations for policy makers include the following which I think are very valuable:

- Help teachers and leaders use social media in schools
- Unfilter social media sites
- Encourage and support teachers who use social media
 -Create online space where everyone can find each other
 -Teacher Training courses should focus on using social media for PD

Now, there is one thing I fear with social media - other people's opinions. Pearson Centre's report ended with this declaration:

Social media will not provide a silver bullet. Engaging with colleagues in this way 
can be frustrating, time-consuming and demanding. Challenging yourself, or being
challenged by others, on the way you approach teaching and learning is not for
the faint-hearted. But if school leaders and policymakers are serious about raising
teaching standards, the potential of social media to engage, support and inspire teachers should not be ignore. (p.34)

I have to say I am becoming less faint-hearted, but it is hard work. I am afraid to tweet things that I think I know something about, but in reality I know nothing about. But I have seen differences of opinion on Twitter and especially on blogs, and things seem to work out. Most people are quite respectful and those who aren't aren't worth battling with. Most people seem to appreciate that others may not support their opinion but they support their right to an opinion. I hope that as I continue to participate in Twitter that I will have the courage to say what I want to say and not worry about how others might view me.

Twitter for Education:
A couple of months ago Alec Couros tweeted, "Why use Twitter in Education?" He received many responses. As I read through the responses most people mentioned two things:

 staying current and connected

This tweet alone shows me the power of Twitter and other social media. Couros puts out a question, he gets MANY responses. I somehow found a blogpost on it and I have the opportunity to read all the comments and learn from everyone.

As I stay current and connected  I am learning something new every day, many times a day. I am confident in my teaching more than I ever have been because I am constantly learning. Though I am only supply teaching currently, this learning still helps me.  

In October while supply teaching, I really wished I'd been connected to Twitter in the classroom. I wrote about my experience here. The overview of the post is that I had an amazing teaching experience with my students and I wanted instant feedback from others. Not having technology in the classroom nor knowing the technology policy of the school, I decided not to twitter from my iPad. But I've never felt such a need to connect students with other students. We were having such a great experience that I wanted others to join us. I also wanted the students to feel the trill of having others tell them what a great job they'd done and for others to learn from them.

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This leads me to a debate on using Twitter in the classroom for those under 13. I read a blog post from back in February by Miss Night on how she was using Twitter in her kindergarten classroom. She has an account for her class and they follow 12 other classes. A few times a week they check in to their Twitter account and connect with the other classes. The reason she twitters with her class is this:

I knew what Twitter had done for me as professional. With my fellow kinderchatters, I feel part of a professional network that far exceeds the bounds of my own school, city, country. And THAT is what I wanted for my students...Our school, being an international and UNESCO school, commits to graduating "active, global citizens" and that begins with an awareness that there are children! in other places! who go to school! just like us! That, to me, is a powerful understanding.

I was captivated by the blog post. I would love to do that with any class I might  teach. I could just sense Miss Night's and her students' excitement. What a wonderful learning experience. 

She then directed her readers to an opposing opinion by Thoughts by Jen

Jen wrote:
Twitter says:  Our Services are not directed to people under 13.

For me, that is enough said.

Now you might feel comfortable in interpreting that as you wish to make it work within your classroom.  That is your prerogative and your options.  I, myself, choose never to have to get involved in that argument if ever challenged for using that tool.   Too many other battles to fight and other good options available.   So, for young children, I walk away from twitter. times we do need to stand on a foundation of thoughts, beliefs, and — dare I say it — policy!!   (And not a personal policy but a school policy. )
What I would wish for in my kindergarten classroom would never include a social media presence.   They are still working on social skills within the classroom, playground, and with their peers.  There is time later to be introduced to social media…..I would concentrate much more on social interaction within the classroom and their cognitive development.

I really try to follow "the rules" in life so Jen's post struck a cord with me. I could see her point. I initially didn't look at the policy because I just trusted what Jen said, but the skeptic side of my brain reminded me that it is always best to look things up for myself.

Our Policy Towards Children

Our Services are not directed to people under 13. If you become aware that your child has provided us with personal information without your consent, please contact us at We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal information, we take steps to remove such information and terminate the child's account.I find this line 
I find this line very interesting: 
"...child has provided us with personal information without your consent [emphasis added]."

To me Twitter is leaving the final decision to the parents. As a parent I would not allow my daughter her own account until she was AT LEAST 13, but I would not oppose her being  apart of Twitter within her classroom as directed by her teacher. As a teacher, I think I would feel the need to get parental consent before I used Twitter in the classroom (I wonder if Miss Night uses her student's names in the tweets), but it would really frustrate me if just a few parents wouldn't find it acceptable and we'd miss on this great opportunity!

I also had never thought of the idea that Jen points out: using social media adds a new dimension to social interaction. Are we really teaching our students different skills: face-to-face vs. online social skills? I don't know. That is something I will have to ponder.

Well those are some of my thoughts on Twitter. Again, I am glad that I persevered because I love Twitter. I am just learning so much, so quickly and it's just so much fun!