Opportunity…do you take it?


Picture Credit: By Matthias Klappenbach [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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:

Twitter Mission

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

        1. that the role of the teacher is…
        2. that students ….
        3. that community members and parents…
        4. that knowledge ….

My Beliefs about Using Technology in the Classroom

        1. 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:

    1. #edchat (education chat) held on Tuesdays at noon. Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) leads this chat. He has some great resources on his blog/website.
    2. #ntchat (new teacher chat) held on Wednesdays at 8:00pm – here is some background information on #ntchat http://www.lisadabbs.com/ntchat

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

30 XP

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


@coolcatteacher Vicki Davis explains the ‘ins and outs’ of a Twitter chat http://youtu.be/ayfu0s3ypX4


@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



  1. aarondavis1 says:

    Interesting course Donelle. WIll be intreging to see how it unfolds. I have been a part of a similar sort of project here in Victoria with the department titled ‘Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century’ (http://readwriterespond.com/?p=26). The difference was that ours went for quite a few months and there was no explicit requirements at the end. What I noticed is that true ‘success’ in such environments is more difficult to measure than a few posts, although that starts the habit. This is a point that Alan Levine made in a recent post associated with Connected Courses #ccourses: the stuff that can even be measured for participation is not the stuff all that interesting. (http://cogdogblog.com/2014/11/17/pigeon-hole/).

    Two things that I would add is:
    WHY blog (or why connect). Although we may always think we know why and never quite get there, this is an important question to consider (http://readwriterespond.com/?p=444). I have also written a piece wondering what it means when we say that we ‘do not have time’ to connect (http://readwriterespond.com/?p=29)

    What is your journey? I think that it is important to recognise that there are no magical bullets. No one way that these things are done or to be done. The most important lesson that you can learn, and this might be the leaving not, is to encourage people to stop and look back at there path. (http://readwriterespond.com/?p=32) I also encourage others to think more deeply about the process and not simply feel that if they have followed 10 people that it magically makes them ‘connected’ (http://readwriterespond.com/?p=37).

    I hope that helps …

    • dbatty1 says:

      Thanks Aaron 🙂 I am hoping that this will start a habit that helps support their learning as soon to be teachers, but measuring this will be something much harder to ascertain. And thanks for the links to your blog – will check them out 🙂

  2. annadelconte says:

    I think I need to come and do your course and take the challenge Donelle. Maybe I will write a post on 5 very different people I follow and why. Fantastic opportunity you have taken up.

  3. whatedsaid says:

    Hi Donelle

    Looks great, thanks for sharing. I agree with Aaron, the first thing missing is the ‘why’ which I think is a key element. That includes not just how teachers might benefit, but what impact such connections can have on student learning. A couple of useful resources are Learn like a Kid by Lainie Rowell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkBg52TTAUY&feature=youtu.be and these clips from Connected Learning http://clalliance.org/why-connected-learning/

    Another element you might add is digital citizenship – consuming, creating and connecting online come with a responsibilities (eg copyright issues) aa well as a need for critical reflection. Some broad understandings here http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/10-understandings-about-digital-citizenship/

    Good luck 🙂

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