Community Engagement a la Twitter

“You should totally Tweet that!” one of my colleagues excitedly exclaimed. Daunted with the prospect and, to be honest, not even sure what that entailed, I asked, “Well, how would I go about doing that? And, more importantly, why?”

The “why” has always been my biggest question with Tweeting.I know that Twitter is the newest iteration of Facebook (for adults, at least) and that anyone who’s anyone is Tweeting (including our very own POTUS…several hundred times a day, in fact). I know that Twitter is one of the best ways to engage in edu-networking and that most of our strongest voices in education are all over this app. So, I knew it was important for me to get on board…or at least figure out how to make a Tweet. I kept going back to my initial question though: with a 140 character limit, how can anyone truly express or share anything of worth? According to one social media analyst:

Twitter has always been what it initially claimed to be – a microblogging platform. And far from holding it back, the 140 character limit has been the driving force that defined how users engage with the platform – with quick, short statements conducive to live, in the moment commentary. While Facebook is defined by its algorithm, Twitter is defined by being completely unfiltered.”

Take One

The idea for Twitter then, is to pack a punch with “quick, short statement” for “in the moment commentary”. So that was my mission. I began in December of 2016 with my first “attendance” to a NESA Twitter Chat session, #NESACHAT.

NESAChat

Okay, so my first mission was more of a test-run. I felt so confined by the 140 character limit and the quick pace of the conversation that it was all I could do to follow the conversation, let alone add my own thoughtful contribution to the flow. So, first run was one Tweet. A Tweeter has to start somewhere!

Take Two

My second attempt at joining the conversation was three times as successful, meaning that instead of one Tweet, I managed three! I call that a success! This was during one of our AIS-R ThinkTank Sessions, where teachers get together to chat about issues in education. I felt more at ease during this session and thought about Tweets that I could come back to as a reminder of the key moments of the discussion.

ThinkTank1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Three

And finally, my most recent and most successful session yet, the latest AIS-R ThinkTank, with a whopping 5 tweets! I seem to be getting the hang of it, as evidenced by some of my Tweets which have been “loved” or “shared”.

ThinkTank2

 

As the old adage goes, practice really does make perfect, or at least makes it easier and more effective. I’m still not 100% convinced that I will stay on the Twitter bandwagon, but after participating in multiple online conversations, I have a better sense for the power of the Tweet. I can see that, especially during a live conversation, it’s a good way to sort of “take notes” on the learning. It’s also a good way to share with the wider community larger takeaways and “a-ha” moments. I also like that, unlike my Facebook feed, my Twitter community is stacked with like-minded educators who appreciate when I share educational links and resources. I finally have a place to post all the cool edu-articles that I find! 🙂

 

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Introduction to Final Project

via Superbond1
via Superbond1

For my COETAIL FINAL project, I’ve decided to redesign a culminating task for my senior IB Language and Literature course. Working alongside Lindsay Lyon, my colleague and fellow COETAIL’er, we’re asking our students to explore a tech tool that is new to them – Google Sites. What makes the site so great is that the technology is very intuitive and so it requires very little instructional time in terms of teaching students how to manipulate and create.  According to tech blogger, Daniel Nations, one of Google Sites’ best features is its design ease and the fact that you can be a web designer “without having to know how to code it yourself.” Google sites also “falls under the Collaborative category in Google’s Apps for Work,…which is what makes it so powerful and such a valuable tool for teams.” In other words, Google Sites fits our criteria for a presentation platform: digital, simple, collaborative and dynamic. And off we go!

The Plan

In revisiting our unit on the graphic novel, Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, we decided that the previous culimating project, where we asked students to create a simple “One-Pager” presentation of their background assignment was not inline with our own new tech-savvy, courtesy of COETAIL. Lindsay had the brilliant idea of using Google Sites to revamp the project and voila, we were ready to go!

All rights reserved via Bookaholic
All rights reserved via Bookaholic

The Goal

Our goal with this new and improved project is to move the content of the presentation away from the straight-forward presentation of facts in a linear fashion and more towards an integrative and dynamic platform of presentation. We are creating a Site for each of our classes and assigning them the position of curator and designer. Each pair of students will have their own tab (subtopic) where they are responsible for compiling graphic data, facts, images, videos and helpful information for their classmates as they build on their contextual knowledge of the novel, Persepolis. They will then embed a quiz (in the form of a Google Form) for students to demonstrate their learning from the site.

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via bulls eye DSC_3491 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Hopes and Dreams

As we move through this process, I hope to see students authentically and enthusiastically engaging with this task. Okay, enthusiasm might be asking too much of my second semester seniors at this point in time, but I am hoping that with the relative ease and aesthetic that Google Sites offers, students will show a genuine interest in the subject matter. I also dream that the knowledge my students gain from this assignment will be enough to propel them all to 6’s and 7’s on their IB Paper 2 Exam. A teacher can dream…