Tag Archives: Twitter

Twitter for Digital Citizenship

On Friday I read this article, published in the local Leader Newspaper. The article was based on a complaint made by an older sibling of a student at Roxburgh Homestead PS about Twitter being used in a year two classroom…which to any reader probably sounds like an irresponsible thing for a school to allow. These views were backed up by “cybersaftey expert”, Susan McLean. Continue reading

Are You Tweeting in Class Yet?

 

It seems like such a long time ago that I blogged about my first experience of using Twitter as an educational tool in the classroom. My first post on the topic- A Chance Tweet was published on the 11th November 2011. With what seems like a life time ago, the ways I have used and continue to make the most of Twitter in the classroom has grown and taken on a life of its own. Last year my class account- @acps456 received a fair bit of media attention as they were Tweeted by the Prime Minister at the time, Julia Gillard and former Education Minister, Peter Garrett. An article published in The Age Newspaper- T is for Teaching by Jewel Topsfield discussed how myself and some other Australian teachers were embracing Twitter in education. Since blogging about this experience I have been asked to speak about my experiences with using Twitter in the classroom quite regularly. In May this year I was lucky enough to present ‘Teaching the Social Media Generation‘ at ICTEVs State Conference, IT Takes A Villiage and last night I presented a follow up webinar on the topic.

Here is the recording of my webinar for ICTEV-

 

I feel very strongly about the fact that teachers need to embrace social media rather than shy away from it. When used responsibly and effectively, social media in an educational setting can be a powerful and resourceful tool.

In a study published by the QLD University of Technology, Australian children were found to be under 8 years old when they began using the internet, which made them among some of the youngest users in the 26 countries in the study. This study also reported that 76% of children and teenagers go online daily, with the average time nearing on one and a half hours per day. The results of this study clearly show that we need to change the way we teach, the world has changed, children have changed and we need to keep up! Professor Green from the QLD study also stated that:

“A minority of children are upset by online risks, many benefit from the advice and tools available to them. The risks and opportunities of the online world go hand in hand for children and it is important to avoid being overly restrictive.”

I feel that by denying a place for social media in the classroom we are being overly restrictive. How else will our students learn how to use these tools appropriately and responsibly if we do not show them best practice? One of my favourite quotes about education is ‘If we teach today’s children as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow’, and we will and many still do everyday. It is time to change our thinking and connect our students with the world in ways that were not previously possible.

Erik Qualman, author of www.socialnomics.net has said- “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” 

The following excerpt is from a blog post written by an 11 year old student last year-

 

Why not start now and give your students the opportunity to share, learn, connect and be inspired by the world! Allow your students the opportunity to show the world that ‘little people can do big things’.

Teaching the Social Media Generation

Yesterday I attended ICT in Education Victoria‘s annual state conference and was lucky enough to present about the ways I am exploring social media in my classroom.

I have written a couple of posts about embracing social media with students-

Twitter in my Classroom

A Chance Tweet 

One of my students has also written a post about his experiences-

Tweeting the Prime Minister

My session overview stated- 

The majority of students we teach use social media, they have Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter accounts. It is no longer ok for teachers to ignore the fact that their students are using these tools and that social media is becoming a fundamental source for students to research, gather information, learn, play and communicate. It is time that we as educators start embracing this use of technology in the classroom. This session will specifically explore using Twitter as a fundamental educational tool in the classroom.

It was great to see a booked out session and some familiar Twitter faces in the crowd.

Click the following link to view my presentation slides- Teaching the social media generation – ICTEV 2013 Presentation

How do you use Twitter with your students? 

Bye Bye 2012

 

2012 has been a remarkable year. It has been busy and at times demanding, exciting and stimulating. There have been many ups and a few downs but each time I have managed to get back up again! I have learnt a great deal, I have taught a great deal, I have accomplished so much more than I could have imagined, which of course, has left me wanting even more! I have been surprised and I have been shocked but I can happily look back on 2012 and know that I am still in the right place. Being an educator is who I am and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love my job, no matter what it throws at me and yes, some days I may just want to pull my hair out…but I don’t because I know that what I am doing is worth it. There are young people who rely on me everyday to be the best I can be, so I keep going. I don’t give up.  I do it for them!

My highlights of 2012 have included:

–       This Blog: What a wonderful way to share and learn from others, to engage in professional learning and to reflect on my practice.

–       My Class Blog: My very first year of blogging in my class has opened up a myriad of ideas and learning in my classroom.

–       T is For Teaching: An article by Jewel Topsfield published in The Age Newspaper. Teachers rarely get the recognition they deserve for the things they do in the classroom, just to be noticed and valued for what I have done is something that I am extremely grateful for.

–       Evernote Ambassador: This year I was made an international education ambassador for Evernote. It is extremely exciting to share, teach, help and inspire other teachers to use Evernote to become more organised and efficient teachers!

–       My students: I have been blessed with an amazing group of students who have challenged me and nearly everyday teach me something new. Without them I would not have been able to accomplish half as much as I did this year.

Where to in 2013-

–       IWBNet Leading a Digital School Conference: I am looking forward to presenting and running workshops about Evernote at the IWBNet leadership conference, my first conference presentation.

–       Evernote Ambassadorship: I can’t wait to meet more teachers looking at using Evernote and being able to share what I know with them.

–       A new year in a growing school: 2013 will be the third year of operation for my school and I have been there from the beginning- what a privilege to be a part of it.

– Continuing to learn and grow: I don’t think I could ever stop wanting to find out more, I wonder what i will learn in 2013?

My ‘words of wisdom’ from what I have learnt this year:

  • Expect the unexpected
  • Start with a clean slate
  • Be patient
  • Never give up
  • Have high expectations
  • Hard work really does pay off
  • Learn from those around you
  • Listen to what others have to say
  • Discuss…don’t argue
  • Nudge…don’t force
  • Persevere
  • Put yourself out there
  • Try something new…try something new…try something new…try something new…try something new…get it?
  • Give people time- everybody is different, just because what someone else does is not the same as what you would do, doesn’t mean it is wrong
  • Ask questions- enquire, research, have the want for more, we are always learning!
  • Smile and be positive- ‘EVERYDAY is a good day to have a good day’ (as my thermo mug tells me every morning)…even if you don’t feel like it…our students deserve the best!

What has 2012 been like for you?

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

What are your ‘words of wisdom’?

Twitter In My Classroom

 

In November 2011 I blogged about how I used Twitter in a mathematics lesson on chance and probability with a group of year two students. Since then, just over a year ago, Twitter has become an integral part of my classroom program. So much so that last week I was contacted by Jewel Topsfield, the education editor at The Age Newspaper who wrote an article about how Twitter is being used in the education field – T is for Teaching. After receiving so much attention from the article, I realised that using Twitter with my year five and six students had become such a normal part of the daily activities in my classroom that I had forgotten that what my students and I are doing is still something that many educational professionals perceive as ‘taboo’, that there are still so many people out there that believe social media plays no part in the education of these ‘digital native’ students we teach everyday.

Photo: Jason South
http://www.theage.com.au/national/t-is-for-teaching-20121130-2amd9.html

 

The fact is that many students in my class already use social media, they have Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter accounts and although I can not condone their use of those tools as they are under 13 years of age, I can expose them to positive ways of using such tools in the classroom. Through using my class Twitter account @ACPS456 and sites such as Edmodo I am exposing my students to a POSITIVE way of behaving and communicating in an online world- something that they are already beginning to do. I am teaching my students how to identify and block spam accounts, the importance of only friending people they know on Facebook, the notion of leaving a ‘digital footprint’ and how to be safe online!

It is no longer ok for teachers to ignore the fact that their students are using these tools and that social media is becoming a fundamental source for them to research, gather information, learn, play and communicate. Shouldn’t we as educators be embracing this use of technology in the classroom rather than ignoring it? Teachers, principals and parents desperately need to get over their beliefs that Twitter is a place for sharing unimportant information and updates or following celebrities. No, I do not care what you ate for lunch today or what grocery store you shop at, but I DO care and WILL take notice if I see an 11 year old tweet the Prime Minister or read about young people sharing their learning and knowledge with the world. It is time for educators and parents to understand that Twitter and other social media in the classroom can be a valuable place and a world stage for student learning. Teachers need to stop being afraid and simply have a go at using the tools, if not for their class then for themselves. Twitter is the best FREE source of professional learning I have ever come across. I hear so many excuses and complaints about being so swamped that “I don’t have the time”, excuses like these are simply just that, don’t tell me you don’t have time and then expect me to sit down with you for half an hour to explain something when you could have got the answer off other teachers on Twitter almost instantly. There are SO many educators out there, many experts in their fields, willing to share their knowledge in 140 characters or less- it’s time to get involved!

Ways to use Twitter with students:

  • Sharing class updates
  • Sharing blog posts
  • Tweeting reflections on learning activities
  • Sharing what they have learnt
  • Asking questions
  • Gathering information and data
  • Create global connections with other classes and teachers

Some classes already Tweeting:

Some worthwhile teachers to follow (Just a few, too many to include all). Join the conversation! Check out Edudemics 60 best teachers on Twitter.

Don’t forget the hash tags:

  • Victorian Professional Learning Network- #VicPLN
  • #comments4kids
  • #edchat
  • #edtech
  • #education
  • #CBLearn

So many more here- The Unofficial Index to Educational Twitter Hashtags

10 of My Favourite Apps

I know everybody has their favourites but I thought it was my time to share the iPad apps that I can’t live without! I have had my iPad since September 2011 and found that as each day at school went by I was using it more and more. Regular readers of my blog would already be aware of my affection for Evernote and Good Reader and how I use these apps to eliminate paper in my reading assessments with students. These are just two of my favourites so I thought it was time to share a few more!

1. Evernote

I have said it before and I will say it again and again until every teacher I know at least tries Evernote! Evernote is a note taking app that allows users to take notes by typing, audio, video and pictures. It can be used on a variety of devices and syncs, so if I edit on my laptop it appears on my iPad!

I use Evernote to-

Save all of my assessment notes and data-
I have notebooks set up for different subjects and add notes about students as I notice them! I always have either my iPhone or iPad with me in the classroom so I can update quickly and easily, it keeps me mobile, away from the laptop and I never forget anything!

Keep checklists-
I have checklists set up for keeping records for homework and home reading, as well as keeping track of spelling results. I also know of teachers that have set up checklists for use in guided reading.

Minutes-
I keep track of all staff meeting notes so that I can refer to them later, again I find this easier than writing my notes on paper or in a book as I tend to put it down somewhere and never find it again! I also take notes on team meetings and can easily share or email the notes between team members.

ifttt
If This Then That- “Put the Internet to work for you!” ifttt is a web app that allows you to create tasks of a simple structure. For example I could get ifttt to send me en email with the weather forecast every morning or send my mum a Facebook message on her birthday.

I use ifttt with Evernote to-

  • Save my starred items from Google Reader. It keeps them all together and easy to find at a later date.
  • Save new blog posts- every time I write a new post it sends a copy to Evernote for safe keeping.
  • Save my Twitter favourites- every time I favourite a tweet on Twitter it saves in Evernote.
  • Make a copy of my YouTube videos.

Professional Learning-
I keep track of all of my professional learning using Evernote- I can create quick and easy notes, take pictures, video and audio so that I don’t forget what I have learnt!

2. Good Reader

Good Reader is an app that allows you to annotate PDF and Word Documents.

I use Good Reader to-

  • Complete running records (I then save them in the corresponding student note in Evernote)
  • Complete paperless Observation Surveys.
  • Complete assessment checklists.
  • Have important documents on hand ready to go- eg when I am completing a reading conference I have the CAFE menu open and have easy access to the CAFE Ready Reference Guides.

Basically anything that you can do on paper you can scan or email and do it on the iPad!

3- Twitter

The most influential and inspiring Professional Learning Network around! For any teacher reading this who is not on Twitter I would highly suggest that you get on and have a look. I use Twitter to
LEARN and to SHARE. Kathleen Morris shares her ideas for teachers new to Twitter- Using Twitter to Build Your PLN, Are You On Twitter Yet? and Top 10 Twitter Tips

4- WordPress

The WordPress app allows me to edit and update blog posts and make comments easily and efficiently.

5- OneNote

I do all my planning and work program using OneNote and since Office 2010 and the integration of SkyDrive it is even better! It is great having OneNote on my iPad and iPhone. The app allows me to have easy access to my planning documents at all times and I can add and edit on the go. The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t edit a table that has already been created- can be frustrating!

6- TED

Need some inspiration- take 10 minutes to listen to the latest TED talk.

7- Flipboard

Turns your social networks into an interactive, online magazine! Add your Facebook or Twitter account to view in a dynamic and different way on the iPad or iPhone. You can also set up different Twitter hashtags that you follow.

8- Prezi Viewer

Allows you to view Prezi’s on your Ipad!

 

9- Splashtop Whiteboard

Download the Splashtop streamer on your computer and iPad to create an easy and free remote desktop! Sit anywhere in the classroom and control your IWB or have students demonstrate on iPad rather than standing up in front of the class.

With Splashtop Whiteboard-

Teachers can:

Be in Control – Have complete control over the applications on the classroom PC as if you were sitting right there. No need to stay at the front of class. Be free to roam around. Hand the iPad to a student and let their imagination do the rest!

Experience lifelike play back – All video and audio are played in high definition on your iPad. Play Adobe Flash content, iTunes music, DVDs, CDs, etc.

10- iMovie

I love iMovie! It is so easy to use, very user friendly- I demonstrated once to some Prep, 1 and 2 students and that was it! They were publishing their writing using iMovie to be uploaded to our class website and were so excited about it. I find that it is a lot more instant than Photo Story or Movie Maker. I have used iMovie to create weekly school vodcasts, record and make movies of students working, had students make movies and photo stories to publish their work.

Ok so there are just 10 apps that I love and use lots! I hope that you get some ideas and maybe try some yourself!

How have you used these apps?

What are your favourite apps?

A Chance Tweet!

3_thumbzoom7

Thanks to @JesseSBlack and the team at http://www.getclassmate.com/ I tried a fantastic and innovative way of incorporating Twitter into a maths lesson. You can download the lesson plan and resources from http://www.getclassmate.com/newsletters/110925/

I teach a Prep, 1 & 2 grade, and incorporated this lesson with a small group Of grade 2 students. As the lesson plans provided by Get Classmate were aimed at older students I did modify it accordingly. At Level 2.0 in the VELS (Victorian Essential Learning Standards) students are expected to predict the outcome of chance events, such as the rolling of a die, using qualitative terms such as certain, likely, unlikely and impossible.

http://vels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/support/progression/maths.html#lev2

I started the lesson the day before with a little groundwork, explaining to the students what I was going to do with the Twitter post so we could gather our data. I sent out a tweet- asking my followers – P, 1, 2 students would like to know ‘What is the chance of rain in your area today?’

I chose to include the hashtag #acpsmaths so all of the responses could be gathered together. I was a little worried in the beginning, unsure if we would get enough tweets to work with. Over a few hours I retweeted my original post using different educator hashtags including #edchat #comments4kids and #VicPLN to gather enough responses. There was no need to be worried as the powerful Twitter PLN was a success. We had plenty of Tweets to work with.

When it came time for the lesson to begin I used http://visibletweets.com/ and entered #acpsmaths to display the Tweets coming in. When we were doing our lesson introduction the tweets were popping up on the IWB, this was when I saw how enthusiastic and motivated the students were, they could not wait to get started! I basically followed the Get Classmate lesson plan, however, I wasn’t originally going to include the percentages as students are not not expected to know this at a grade 2 level, but many of the tweets coming in were giving us a percentage so I decided to discuss this throughout the lesson got the students to decide where the percentages would fit according to our chance of events terms we had already come up with.

All in all the kids loved it, I thought it was a success. I found it to be very rewarding and motivating and impressive to see students engrossed in real world learning. It was a fantastic way to incorporate Twitter and technology into what can sometimes be a overdone and dull lesson!

How have you or could you use Twitter in the classroom?