Opportunity…do you take it?
When opportunity arises do you grab it with both hands and run with it? What thoughts go through your mind? Last semester I was offered the opportunity to teach an undergrad class at Ohio University starting this semester on January 12. The course is called Technology Applications in Education. For me I felt I had to weigh up the fact that I am fortunate to be on a Hardie Fellowship, so I was concerned that someone might be missing out on the associated compensation that comes with the appointment verses the experience. In the end the opportunity to immerse in a different experience compared to any that I have had so far won out. This is something that drives me. I do like to expand my experiences as they build on who your are and who you can be (in saying that I am not about to go bungee jumping!).
When it comes to opportunity I do carefully consider many aspects. In my time as an educator I have said no to two acting positions. In both instances I felt the climate was just not right for me. Did I make the right decision? Sometimes self preservation steps in, is that a healthy thing? And in regard to the right decision, well there is no right or wrong here, it is about a journey.
The wonderful thing about this opportunity is working with people I will get to learn a lot from, both the students and the lecturers, in a space that I have not encountered before. So with both hands I will grasp on and enjoy the ride! Including the turbulence that may arise along the way, after all new adventures have their bumps.
One of the missions that our students will be embarking on over a four week period, hopefully it will be the beginning of them being connected educators, is learning about and using Twitter within a professional context. Here is the general outline of their required task (mission and quests), if you have any suggestions please let me know:
This is a mission as it is made up of many quests – some will take you outside the Twitter platform. You have 4 weeks to complete this mission. Time management and setting small goals will help you get to the end of this mission.
1. Create a Twitter account – https://twitter.com/ Give consideration to your handle, hatch your egg (pic that represents you), background pic and bio. People use these to determine if they wish to follow you.
2. Head to the contact information form and list your twitter handle – Monk’s Class Click here Batty’s Class Click here. This will allow others in the class to easily find you and follow, share, retweet, tweet etc…
3. Set up a blog, if you haven’t already, this needs to be one that fits with your professional context. Blogs are a great place to reflect and develop your thinking while sharing with an audience. Twitter provides a place for you to share your blog. Carefully consider the name of your blog, style, bio (This could take the form or incorporate your Educational Philosophy which will feed nicely into what is required later on in LiveText:
My Beliefs as an Educator that Uses Technology for Improving Student Learning
- that the role of the teacher is…
- that students ….
- that community members and parents…
- that knowledge ….
My Beliefs about Using Technology in the Classroom
- Few paragraphs that explain your statements above) etc…
4. List your blog on the contact information sheet – Monk’s Class Click here and Batty’s Class Click here
5. Time to blog! On your blog share your thinking with regard to setting up your Twitter account. What you thought was important to consider and why with regard to setting up your professional identity. Remember to give your post a title.
6. Observe the following Twitter chats (participation will come later, for now watch the flow of conversation and how they are conducted). You will need to follow these over a two week period, so you see two sessions of each:
7. Time to blog again! Tell us about your observations regarding both chats. Choose a title to help your audience know what you are focussing on regarding your observations.
8. It’s time to participate – choose one chat to participate in. Every chat has its own culture, hence the purpose of watching for two weeks. Consider how you will participate, will you interact with other Tweeters, retweet, favourite etc… What level will you get involved at? Blog about your experience – How did you participate, what did you find interesting, what did you find challenging? Why did you chose the Twitter chat you got involved with?
9. Follow – twitter is most useful for professional learning when you follow people who inform your learning. This leads to conversations and sharing of ideas. Find 5 educators to follow. Blog about why you have chosen these educators. What made these educators stand out to you? What have you gained from following them or looking at their Twitter account, did they include you in a conversation or acknowledge you etc…
10. Grow your presence – you have completed the mission but it doesn’t stop here. I encourage you to grow your presence and continue to participate. Work out what works for you and how you can use this resource to support your professional growth.
Must include at least:
- set up Twitter account – bio, handle, pic and background pic
- set up Blog – bio, pic, style
- Blog posts – 4
- Participate in a Twitter chat
- Follow 5 educators
- list your Twitter and Blog on the class contact information sheet
Some Resources and Tips For You
There are loads of resources out there to help you find your way around Twitter. Here are just a few that may be helpful as you create your professional identity in this space.
http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/3-things-you-should-know-about-twitter.html?m=1 – quick 2 minute video that talks about 3 things you should know
http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/12/10-ways-teachers-can-make-best-of.html?utm_content=buffer0889f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer – useful tips for getting started
@cybraryman1 Jerry has kindly offered to help you navigate the twitterverse. He lives in Florida and is very active on twitter. He has loads of resources – visit here: http://www.cybraryman.com/twitter.html
@corisel https://prezi.com/gnexqtig8wpq/tips-for-teacher-activists-on-twitter/ Corinne Campbell provides some basics to be aware of when you are starting out to ensure your have a profile that is to be proud of. She makes further comments here http://aboutteaching.net/2013/08/21/a-teachers-guide-to-starting-on-twitter/ (this has an Australian flavour to it) and here http://aboutteaching.net/2014/09/28/word-choice-developing-a-twitter-voice-that-people-want-to-hear/ (also a great example of blogging re twitter)
And one more for good measure from Edna Sackson @whatedsaid