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

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.

AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by scriptingnews

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!


Miss Night said...

Hi Ortensia! Thanks so much for your thoughtful and positive post, and for including me in it. I'm honoured! The debate about Twitter with kindergarten continues, and I have a more recent post about it here:

Just to clarify, I do get consent from all the parents for my class twitter account. Our account is protected, and I approve each of our followers myself. About 1/3 of my classroom parents are following us this year (and they love getting this little peek into classroom life!). I do use children's first names in our tweets, but never last names or other personal info.

I hope this helps! Feel free to tweet me any time with other questions (@happycampergirl). Your blog is wonderful!

Ortensia Norton said...

Hello Miss Night! Thanks for stopping by! I never imagined you would find my blog! Thanks for your clarifications. It's always so wonderful to get info right from the source. I didn't even think to send you a message to get my answers. I'll be sure to contact you if I have any questions. Thanks!