Tag Archives: Twitter

Another Reason for Twitter

Some great thoughts from my good friend Daniel Schneider!

Mathy McMatherson

Hey everyone,

I’m getting worse at keeping my blog updated… I’ve been wanting to add something to this for a while because I haven’t liked that the first post people see when they come here starts with ‘Shameless Promotion!’. That’s just tacky.

So – in an effort to move that from the top of my front page, I want to write about Twitter. In particular, I want to write about one person on twitter: Alexis Huicochea. This person is 90% of the reason I still use twitter today.

Alexis isn’t a teacher or educator. She’s not someone that I follow for professional development – that’s the other 10% of why I use twitter. I’ve never met her in person, nor have we ever had a conversation on twitter. Alexis works for the local newspaper in my city – she writes primarily about local education. I like reading her articles because they…

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Summer PD You can do in your PJs: Build your PLN!

All across the country school is finishing up for the summer. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not all over for faculty. This is when teachers roll up their sleeves for some summer PD. Hopefully, they also take some time to recharge their batteries. If you are looking for some summer professional development that you can do in your PJs, focus on building your PLN. I highlighted 3 Ways to Kickstart Your PLN last summer. These are some great tips to help you start.

If you are looking for a starting point, check out these great educational blogs and twitter handles to follow! Be sure that you follow me as well, @TeacherJenCarey

Great Blogs for Educators:

General Education Blogs:

Ed Tech Blogs:

People & Organizations to Follow on Twitter

General Education News

Educational Technology

Innovative Educators

Great Technology Tools

This is just a simple list to get you started. After you get a feel for how a PLN works, expand your list to include people and organizations that are relevant to you. After all, it’s your PLN!

Great Blogs & People on Twitter for Educators to Follow

Teachers often come to me and say that they have heard of a PLN (Personal Learning Network) and that they want to start following relevant blogs and even to start getting involved on Twitter. However, starting always seems a bit overwhelming. I have put together a short list of blogs and Individuals/Organizations on Twitter that are a great place for educators to start. After you get a handle on it, be sure to expand that PLN to subjects and people that pique your interest and address your specific needs.

Great Blogs for Educators:

General Education Blogs:

Ed Tech Blogs:

People & Organizations to Follow on Twitter

General Education News

Educational Technology

Innovative Educators

Great Technology Tools

This is just a simple list to get you started. After you get a feel for how a PLN works, expand your list to include people and organizations that are relevant to you. After all, it’s your PLN!

3 Ways to Kickstart Your PLN

This is reblogged from my post on Edudemic, “3 Ways to Kickstart Your PLN This Summer!”

It’s summertime! This is when educators, free from the daily schedule of a classroom, can focus on professional development. More specifically, summer is a great time to network and to build your personal learning network (PLN). If you’re unfamiliar with a PLN, it’s a network of individuals you foster specifically to learn from and cultivate your professional skills. They are especially important in the world of education where classrooms can easily isolate you from your colleagues and peers. Starting a PLN and cultivating it is surprisingly easy and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Free from internet filters on many campuses, take some time this summer to fire up your social media tools (FacebookTwitterNingPinterestLinkedIn). Many people are intimidated with engaging others online. However, the internet and social media allow you to connect and interact with people you would never get to meet in real life. The key to your PLN is that it’s about people. As Justin Reich highlights in his article, “Search People, Not the Internet,” your colleagues (in real life and online) are a more effective resource than the internet at large. They will help to focus and share information relevant to you in your field.

Here are three great tools and techniques you can use to build your online PLN:

Find Folks On Facebook

facebook-screensMost of us have a Facebook account. We use it to keep up with family and friends; posting vacation photos and admiring your cousin’s photos of her new baby. However, Facebook is also a great resource for kickstart your PLN, especially if you are just getting started.

I use Facebook to follow some of my favorite Educational resources like Edudemic, EdTechTeacher, ISTEEdutopia, and Education Week. It helps to keep me up to date on educational news, pedagogy, and professional development opportunities (many of which are offered for free or at promotional discounts via Social Media!). Even when I’m logging on to see what my mother is up to, I can get some great nuggets of information in my news feed. Also, if you’re like me, you have a lot of friends that are educators, so Facebook is a great way to share information with them.

Embrace The Power Of Twitter

twitter-birdTwitter is by far the most prolific of Social Media tools used by educators. If you have attended an educational conference recently, I’m sure you’ve seen and heard about twitter handles andhashtags. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but take a deep breath.
In order to use Twitter as an effective and engaging PLN tool, you need to figure out who to follow. You can start with people that you know in education: this esteemed author, theEdTechTeacher team, and of course Edudemic. Jerry Blumengarten (aka @Cybraryman1) has a great list of recommended PLN Stars. Just be sure to follow other educators and leaders that you know and respect as they will often guide you to others.

Hashtags are another great way to explore ideas most relevant to your interests. Here is a great list of the most popular educational hashtags that can help you to broaden your PLN and provide you with greater access to resources.

Once you are feeling more comfortable with Twitter, try an e-reader like Flipboard. It will load your news feed and allow you to read your PLN on your phone or tablet at your leisure, be it on the couch or poolside.

Start Visually Learning On Pinterest

pinterestPinterest is another excellent tool to find recipe ideas, accessorize an outfit, or discover a great set of lesson plans. In fact, there is also a whole “Education” Category on Pinterest. Simply browsing these posts can give you some great ideas to employ in your classroom. Additionally, there are some amazing educators and institutions that have repositories of lesson plans, blog posts, and more that they share on Pinterest. Check out this Edudemic article, “20 Innovative Educational Technology Boards on Pinterest.” It has some great people and organizations to follow.

Pinterest is simply keeping a scrapbook of ideas and information (that you can also share with others). It allows you to curate ideas, projects, lesson plans, and more. Be sure that you share information that you find as well. See a great tweet? You can pin it for access later! Start and curate your own education board (or a few)!

This is only a short list of the tools available to you to kickstart your PLN, but I encourage you to explore and collaborate with others online. Building and sharing your pedagogical skills in a classroom is key to innovative education and the core of 21st century learning. Besides, with all of these tools available on a computer or smartphone, they could make for some really interesting beach reading.

Update Note: I have put together a short list of blogs and individuals/organizations on Twitter to help people get started!

How the Stair Master Made me Socially Awkward – or was it Facebook?

I have never been a runner…. ever. However, I realize the importance of exercise and make an effort to stay in shape… most of the time. Two ACL surgeries have firmly put me in the ‘low impact’ category of exercise and I have found my cardio main-stay on elliptical machines and stair masters. I get a solid workout without my knee swelling up like a cantaloup. I have used a stair master regularly for at least 15 years… maybe more… at least since my formative teenager years. These many years of using simulated stair-machines have now rendered me helpless in the face of physical steps. I stare at them confused, uncertain of my next move – how do they work? Why don’t they move? I will sometimes stand helpless for hours as I wait for a light to turn on and let me know whether I will be moving up them in “cross-country” or “random” mode while recording my caloric expenditure. I have seen many times that I am not alone. See these poor people trapped on the escalator!

I now fear that my decade long use of the elliptical machine is beginning to affect my gait and that my casual ambling down the street will be the next victim in this long stretch of simulated activity machine incapacity. It won’t be long until free-weights make me unable to lift objects around the house – oh wait, I already have that ailment (or so I tell the friends that I request to come over and ask to carry boxes for me).

This hyperbolic string is part of an exchange I have continued with my friends, peers, and colleagues are a regular basis. Sometimes, these conversations are carried out almost entirely via text message.  Still, in spite of the fact that I regularly exchange jibes and jokes and basic communiques via text messages with friends and family, we also chat on the phone and, when we find ourselves in the same town, even get together for a meal or a drink – a real, in life social interaction.

Why am I making this ridiculous point? Well, one of my greatest annoyances about the complaints I hear bout the rise of technological communication is that it hinders and even stunts real-life, social interaction. I hear this remark from my colleagues, friends, families, and online (irony highlighted) all the time – FacebookTwitter, text messaging, and email have turned us all into socially awkward troglodytes incapable of basic niceties beyond grunts, crude gestures, or poorly spelled exchanges.

Studies and assessments on the topic are often inconclusive or even contradictory. You can see the article by Common Sense Media, “Are Texting and Tweeting making our Students bad Writers?” or the PEW research study “The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing.” I can, however, highlight my own observations (as a consumer of electronic media for most of my life) and as a teacher of both the socially advanced and hindered. So, let me tell you a little about myself – I Facebook, I tweet, I email, I text, I blog, I play World of Warcraft (yep, that game), I list serve, I message board, I instant message, I Skype, I iChat, I LOL and if it’s really funny I’ll even RFLMAO. I also go out to wine tastings, have dinner with old friends, travel to Europe with colleagues, go on Southern California Adventures with friends. I have friends (in “real life”) that I’ve known for a year, and those that I’ve known for 20 (and a multitude in between). Other than my crippling social awkwardness around celebrities (sorry Eddie Izzard and Dr. Drew), I am actually a pretty social person. Texting hasn’t rendered me incapable of visiting my friend Michelle in San Francisco – in fact, it helps to keep our relationship on the front-burner as I can send her quick quips when they jump into mind. And when I see her in person, we catch up where we left off.

The world we are in today (for better or worse) is much different than  the past. We live far away from friends and family; our peripatetic lifestyles make it virtually impossible for us to keep up with all of the important people in our lives, spread out across the globe, using ‘traditional’ methods. However, with new media (like Facebook) I have been able to see my cousin’s (who lives 1,500 miles away) baby bump photos grow every week with a smile on my face. I get to see my niece’s growth in between visits – her Easter Dress and Halloween Costumes. She live 2,000 away from me, so I miss many events. Facebook, pictures and video messages have helped me to stay involved in those important moments in her life.

Now, I am not saying that I have not seen “socially awkward” children dive into Facebook or Twitter as a sanctuary from the frightening world around them. That is true. In a way, “online” provides them a safe outlet within which they may develop their own persona and thought out responses outside of the physical realm. Not ideal, by any means, but not the first time that this has happened. Before Facebook and Twitter, these were the kids who played Dungeons and Dragons without end or buried themselves in their parents basement with the ham radio. Some were clever enough to find “acceptable” escapes such as reading for hours on end and avoiding interaction with their peers. Children with social awkwardness do need special attention and often must be gently pushed into uncomfortable situations to help improve their abilities to get along with other human beings. This isn’t a new problem.

I propose that the idea that social awkward/technology promote social ineptitude is all wrong. Technology doesn’t cause social awkwardness in teenagers. Kids aren’t ‘forgetting how to write’ because of texting or unable to communicate face to face because they send emails. The reality is that technology and social media are tools – tools that can be used in many way. You can use a hammer to bash in somebody’s brain, but it also works really well for hammering in nails. I have witnessed social butterflies become monarch social butterflies using Facebook and Twitter. I have personally experienced an expansion of my own professional learning network (See my article: “3 Ways to Kickstart your PLN“) using social networking sites (not at the expense of my personal interaction).

In my experience, social media becomes a problem for those who already have a problem – it further exacerbates an existing issue. However, for the mainstay it’s another tool – an expansion of our already social nature.

Twitter Basics for Teachers

While attending the iPad Summit last week I had the great privilege of meeting Richard Wells – edtech guru and proud kiwi. He shared with us this amazing infographic designed to help educators learn to use Twitter. See more great information on his websites iPad 4 Schools.

i4s_twitter1

Connected Workforce = Greater Productivity (Infographic)

Check out this great infographic that links social media use and connectivity to greater productivity. This is especially relevant as it’s Connected Educator Month.

Created by MindJect, Jess3

Created by MindJect, Jess3