I think I have always been a connected educator even before “Al Gore invented the Internets.” I received journals in the mail, signed up for numerous workshops, attended any and all conferences I could get sent to, continually joined school committees, and I taught many in-service courses. With that type of exposure, I developed a fairly evident footprint in my school and district. People knew who I was, and what my educational philosophy was because I lived it. Of course looking back to my 20th-century career with a 21st-century eye, there are many things I did then that I would never do today.
The idea of an educator’s digital footprint is far more than just a reaching reputation. If one is to have any involvement online, that involvement better be positive and constructive, for it is there for eternity and for all to see. If one has amassed a number of good positives in one’s digital impression, it is not usually offset by the occasional misstep that we are all prone to have from time to time. (read more…)
A lot is being said about Twitter these days in the education arena, and it seems to be a growing trend. Despite its reach, Twitter still offers a lot of resistance within certain conservative educational groups that are married to the concept of professional development being a formal process taking place only in selected events or at predetermined times of the year by experts. Although Twitter has certain entertainment clichés attached to it, it offers consistent alignment with educational and technological standards, which we will attempt to analyze in this article.
Twitter seen from the NETS lens
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) aims at providing standards for students, teachers and administrators in regards to technology integration. These three stakeholders use Twitter to better achieve their purposes. First of all, it is widely used by teachers who want to share experiences and best practices and connect with other educators around the world discussing topics of their interest. (read more…)
The 21st century has already brought enormous changes to the ways in which we gather, process and exchange information. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are capable of organizing the limitless data of the information age, while we all now use “smart” devices to interact with each other and the world around us every minute of the day.
Social media’s role in our lives has become so widespread that it has grown into a tool of politicians and corporations to directly communicate with the public at-large. Many observers have given credit to social media for reforming the dialogue between Americans and their elected representatives and community organizations.
While these changes are taking root in world around us, some school districts have been slow to embrace the trends. For some educators, the new technology brings challenges. Some think of social media as a tool for the “younger generation” and more work than it’s worth. (read more…)
As a kindergarten teacher, I have a unique opportunity to educate, share, engage, enhance and model ways that a variety of technological tools can help my students, their families and others make connections globally in regards to learning.
I have been blogging for four years now with 5- and 6-year-old children. I manage four blogs: a classroom blog, life science blog, summer blog and a WordPress blog where I reflect on my teaching. I am also in my third year of using Kidblog. This way my students are able to create and design their own blog posts in regards to what they are learning and exploring in kindergarten.
Blogging has been both inspirational and rewarding. My students, their families and others that we connect with make meaningful connections through our learning. Why blog with young children? How do I know it is making an impact? Here are some top reasons:
- Relationships: My students have strong relationships with each other and their families.
Each week, educators from around the world take part in various conversations on Twitter known as “chats.” These conversations have become an excellent way for educators to connect on relevant topics, share resources and best practices, all while challenging each other’s thinking. The premise of a Twitter chat is simple. Each lasts for 60 minutes, moderators pose questions on a predetermined topic, and participants use a consistent hashtag (#) to communicate. Here’s an example from a recent #ptchat:
Questions are posed in a sequential “Q1, Q2” (Question 1, 2, etc.) format over the 60-minute time period. Participant responses begin with “A1, A2” (Answer 1, 2, etc.) to indicate the question to which a participant is responding. For example:
A variety of tools such as Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Tweetchat, etc., can be utilized to aggregate the chat into a single stream to ease the conversation process.
Recently, I pulled together six educators from around the country who are leaders in this area. (read more…)