Ok, my anxiety is starting to build. I am not going to MACUL this year. It is not my decision. I made an arrangement with my school district this year and I am holding up my end of the deal. Nonetheless, I have been glued to Twitter since yesterday evening following my friends travels to Grand Rapids and their TweetUps and f2f meetings. These are the people that support and give me gentle nudges to be the best teacher I can be. And yes, today is a snow day, but I would risk driving 35 mph for 3 and a half hours to be with those incredible teachers and learn along side of them. This is my PLN. I am #notatMACUL14 but will learn everything I can by being a connected educator. Next year.
I had the pleasure of sharing the power of Twitter with my colleagues today at our afternoon PD. This is the second time I have hosted a social media focused PD this month and there were some teachers that have attended both. The first was a district wide TweetUp during an #EdChat. The teachers who attended the TweetUp all had different prior experiences with Twitter and their reflections were mostly positive with some being overwhelmed with all of the RTs, MTs, IMOs, #s, @, and all of the other Twitter language that some they may have found unfamiliar.
My administrator forwarded an email from a colleague that had attended the TweetUp asking if I can make Twitter 101 more fun than explaining the jargon. That got me thinking about peer scaffolding and learning by experiencing. I decided to create an interactive Twitter scavenger hunt unlocking each clue with a QR code reader. It is not a traditional scavenger hunt in the way that you have to find the first clue which then sends you to the second and on to the third. There are eight individual Twitter challenges that may be completed in any order. Each challenge offers an experience with some facet of Twitter. All of our tweets were tagged with #WHpln so we could keep them together and project our hashtag feed with www.twubs.com
When the QR code is scanned, the linked file (in my public DropBox folder) is revealed. I will only show the unlocked files below, but there were unique QR codes and posters created for each clue.
This tweet is focused on introducing yourself to your growing PLN, while adding a personal touch to your Twitter brand.
“Please tell us something that you think we may not know about you.”
Mine is that I can hum and whistle at the same time. Some of my colleagues tweeted this:
This tweet is focused on sharing a picture. The challenge is to find your favorite spot in the school to go to alone or take your class and tweet a picture. I included these directions:
When creating the tweet click the camera to take a picture through Twitter or click the landscape in the bottom right-corner of the message to display the option to post a picture you have previously taken.
Teachers shared pictures from their classrooms, playground, other teacher’s offices, the lounge refrigerator, and the stage.
Tweet three’s challenge is to shorten URLs.
A complete tweet is only 140 characters. This tweet should contain a shortened web link of a digital resource or article you enjoy and an explanation of why you find this resource appealing. Some web links to can be quite long, using a FREE online service “bit-ly”, you can shorten your web link to only 20 characters. https://bitly.com
This tweet’s challenge is to tag an existing Tweeter and recommend them to their growing PLN.
Being a part of a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is about sharing ideas and resources, collaboration, and learning from and with one another. We all share our learning, ideas and expertise in different ways; using different media and tools, but the principle is the same: your PLN is some of the best professional development you will ever participate in – and it is differentiated and works around your schedule.
Please recommend a colleague to follow be composing a tweet mentioning their twitter name (example above: @2GuysShow) and why you think they would be a great addition to your #PLN.
For all things Augmented Reality, Game Changing Apps in Education, and all around swell guys, follow @2GuysShow #WHpln
For Tech Ninja Skills and Flipped Classroom resources, follow @TechNinjaTodd, recent White House Champion of Change #WHpln
For inspiration on everything education and classroom designer extraordinaire follow @KleinErin #WHpln
Tweet five was created to provide an opportunity to show understanding of how to compose tweets within constraints. Tweet a photo and quote from someone other than yourself revealing school spirit. This tweet is open for interpretation. How you show school spirit will differ.
140 characters is a small number to create complete and meaningful thoughts. I sometimes find myself debating “what is the least number of grammatical errors need to commit to keep my thought within the constraints?” Be creative.
Teachers shared pictures of cheer poses in front of our school signs and there was even a clever teacher who posed so that it looked like he was holding a huge school sign over his head.
We are in book clubs. Tweet six was created to search and connect to the author of our books (if they are on twitter, which most were). We tweeted favorite quotes from the first few chapters of our books and tagged the authors. This may provide opportunities for us to ask the author questions we are discussing in our book talks.
This is your time to share peoples thinking and writing, articles and blogs that you have enjoyed while giving credit to the tweeter that shared with you. Build your PLN by finding like-minded educators to add to who you follow! Directions are:
Click on the RT icon and you should discover a pop-up window. Click the RT button to share the exact tweet or click Quote Tweet to add your own words or a hashtag. The message will automatically be visible as your own post but acknowledging the source of the tweet.Please find 2 tweets to RT: one from our #WHpln feed and one from the Twittershere you find worthy of sharing with your #PLN. Please remember to include our #WHpln to your RT.
Time to test all of your newly found Twitter skills. Our TweetUp a few weeks ago may have overwhelmed some Twitter newbies. Hopefully, these new experiences will provide added confidence for our next #EdChat.
For this Twitter challenge, I have directed teachers to Jerry Blumengarten’s (@cyberaryman1) Twitter chat page for the them to see who is talking about what and when.
They were asked to compose a tweet listing a chat they may be interested in participating in and why this particular chat sounds appealing.
I have written about the power of Twitter and building your PLN before. I am excited that my administrators and colleagues are interested in the possibilities Twitter provides for professional learning. I have been asked to continue the TweetUps that started this month and provide this Twitter Scavenger Hunt PD for other schools in my district. I shared a few of these ideas on Twitter while in the design process and had friends in my PLN that were quite interested in how it would come together. If you find that this may work in your building and district, please borrow and share your stories.
Why limit your thoughts to 140 characters? Who is out there tweeting? I don’t have time to tweet. How is this going to benefit the learners in my classroom? These were questions I had a little over a year ago when I learned about the potential of Twitter. Since then I have answered all of these questions myself and it has changed the way I learn and think.
Why limit your thoughts to 140 characters?
I can be longwinded. There are a lot of thoughts swimming around in my head and I like to share. Having the constraints of a micro-blogging platform encourages me to get to the essence of what I really mean and want to say. Being concise focuses my thoughts and helps me notice emerging themes in the process. The longer I engage in Twitter chats, read the feeds and think through the ways I word my tweets, I change the way I think. I make claims in the body of my tweets and often support them with links to articles and blog posts as evidence.
Who is out there tweeting?
I have met the most amazing educators on Twitter, and have had the honor of meeting some of my heroes face-to-face. I have a long list of educators and thought leaders who inspire me. So many educators like Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd), an amazing resource for flipped classroom, Nicholas Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher), EdTech guru, Erin Klein (@KleinErin), project based learning expert and Scholastic Top Teacher, Don Wettrick (@DonWettrick), innovation pioneer, are doing amazing things and sharing their stories on Twitter.
I don’t have time to tweet.
Sean Junkins (@sjunkins), digital integration specialist and Twitter’s sense of humor, said it best with an image.
How is this going to benefit the learners in my classroom?
My Personal Learning Network (PLN) inspires me to be the best facilitator and designer everyday. When I have questions, my PLN supports me navigating my way with articles, blog posts, conversations, and connections. This trust and support empowers me to try new approaches in designing learning experiences. I have become a connected educator for my own professional growth, which has positively effected the learners’ experiences. The connections I have made on Twitter have lead to collaborative projects such as Rock Our World, Words to Music, and Music 2 Save Music that directly benefit the learners experience in my classroom. I continue to grow my PLN and have begun to grow the learners network as well through our class Twitter account (@MrM_MusicRoom).
Bloomfield Hills Schools TweetUp
I would like to share the power of Twitter and the way it has changed my thinking and learning with my colleagues. I am hosting the first Bloomfield Hills School District TweetUp where I will be demonstrating TweetDeck while we engage in an #EdChat on November 19, 2013 at the Booth Center.
TweetDeck is social media dashboard application for Twitter. The interface consists of a series of customisable columns, which can be set up to display your Twitter timeline, mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favorites, search results, hashtags or all tweets by or to a single user. This has helped me keep control of the sometimes overwhelming amount of tweets in a stream.
I am inspired to create a Bloomfield Hills Personal Learning Network (#BloomfieldPLN). The TweetUp is an invitation to teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and community members to engage in a night of professional learning and participate in an #EdChat. I will demonstrate TweetDeck and project the chat using separate columns for the #EdChat hashtag, mentions, and moderators timelines. If you are comfortable with Twitter and would like to engage in the chat, great! If you have a Twitter account, but would just like to lurk, great! If you don’t have a Twitter account and would like to see what the hype is all about, awesome!
I met some of my eduheros at EdCampOU this year. The creators and moderators of the Culture of Learning Chat. This is one of my favorite Twitter chats that happens Monday nights at 9pm EST. The Culture of Learning Chat (#CoLChat) began in Swartz Creek School with Michele Corbat (@MicheleCorbat), Rodney Hetherton (@RodneyHetherton) and Adam Hartley (@adamhartley2013) and has grown to inspire many educators across the United States.
I am inspired by the #CoLChat and would like to create a Twitter chat based on Bloomfield Hills 10 Guiding Principals. I have written about the here. I will propose the idea at the BHS TweetUp and begin the planning stages. I am excited for the potential this could have. Please visit the website I am building for #10GPChat. It is a work in progress.
Many people are writing about the power of Twitter and the how it has changed the way they learn. I agree. Twitter has not only changed the way I learn, but also the way I think. Having the constraints of 140 characters, forces me align my thoughts and boil my words to the essence of what I am trying to say. There are times that I struggle with choosing the less criminal grammatical error to commit to stay within the Twitter constraints. It has been well worth the struggle.
I have written about my experience in Nashville, Tennessee with Discovery Education, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and singer/songwriters. Through my connecting with educators through #chats, this has opened a new world of experiences for the musicians in my classrooms. I was tweeting about a Makerspace I am starting at the Middle School where I teach, through which I was connected to Jenna Shaw (@teachbaltshaw) a Middle school language arts teacher @BaltCitySchools
. 2012 EdTech Fellow @DHFBaltimore. Lover of beautiful, creative, and innovative ideas. We connected in Google Hangouts to talk about innovative learning environments and how a maker mindset permeates all content areas. This great conversation shifted to learner’s experiences and how we can foster collaborative environment in our classrooms. She is a language arts teacher and I am a music teacher. In Nashville, I learned about a project called “Words & Music” where writers send their words to Nashville musicians who then set those words to music. When the Nashville musician is ready to present the music, they Skype into the classroom and perform the song for the writers.
I presented the ideas of our students working together similarly to the Words to Music Project. Jenna’s creative writers will compose lyrics to a song (or poem) and the musicians in my classroom will set their words to music. I thought we could take the connectedness one step further and use Google Hangouts through the composition process so the lyricists could be a part of the music taking shape. They could share musical ideas between schools and possibly have distance performing groups. The writers in Maryland could be singers on tracks in Michigan.
We will have to figure out the logistics of the Hangouts. I am thinking about connecting to Jenna’s class at the beginning of the class period and rotating each group, allowing 10 min. to discuss their song and lyrics, while other groups are creating music.
We still have to navigate our way through the flow, but learning is messy and that is okay. It is important to model that adults have the same processes and engage in the same kind of learning as the students. The focus for me is that we create these opportunities for the learners in our classrooms. Being a connected educator provides opportunities for the musicians in my classroom to be connected to other learners as well. Without Twitter and Google Hangouts, this project would not have come together. Are you providing these kind of collaborative opportunities for learners in your classrooms? Please share your stories and projects in the comments.