2000 Tweets

If anyone had told me a few years ago that as of December 2012, I would have accumulated a story of 2000 tweets, 1166 followers and be following 883 others, I would have seriously doubted it. But here I am today, and these are the statistics.

It has been an amazing journey and I have enjoyed every bit. I followed what appears to be the traditional route – sign up, lurk, follow a few, a few retweets and then getting in to the full swing of it and encouraging others to participate too.  As a professional, I think differently because of the potential Twitter has opened up for me.  I now have connections and in some case new friendships with an amazing network of educators – educators from all over the world, from all sectors of education and involved in leadership, as well as all levels of education – primary, secondary and tertiary. I follow a few of the ‘celebrity’ educational tweeters, but draw more support from the every day teachers who so generously participate in this global staffroom.

It has been very encouraging over the past few months to see positive stories about the use of Twitter as a tool to enhance our learning.  Hopefully this is un-doing some of the bad reputation Twitter has accumulated by the poor use of a few celebrities.

When you are so convinced that something is great, it is easy to be evangelistic and suggest that everyone should get involved, but I will not be that idealistic.  I do hope however, that all teachers in some way accept that our profession is no longer private, we should be looking for opportunities to share our questions, or ideas and our passions. Whether they join a Ning, read blogs, participate in online learning opportunities or at the very least talk to the teachers in their school and share ideas and thoughts. We owe it to our students to model this style of learning.

There are many other posts on the value of Twitter – a few below

Again; Relevance, Why Twitter by Tom Whitby

Are you ready 4 Twitter? Another wonderful post by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.

Does Twitter improve education? or “Does the USE of Twitter Improve Education?” by George Couros

A video from AITSL’s Teacher Feature Collection

Finally a wonderful post by Bec Spink, about her use of Twitter with students as well as a professional learning opportunity.

Thanks to all those who have been part of this journey and in particular to the State Library of Victoria’s PLN program that was the instigator for my original connection. I wonder what I will be tweeting about in 2 more years or 2000 tweets away?

Twitter – starting to get there

Interesting day in today’s newspapers – three positive articles about the positive use of Twitter by teaching professionals.   I am heartened as it was only last week that I found myself having to defend Twitter in a room of educators.   I am very aware that teachers are busy, that they are often overwhelmed by the pressures of the classroom and  they cannot see an opportunity in their lives to open the window to this opportunity.   I am also very aware of the many who do open the window and wonder why they took so long to join this amazing group of people.


Articles like these in today’s national press (SMH and The Age and again The Age) can serve to whittle away at all the negativity that a few poor users of Twitter create.

Learning Spaces

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“It is the learning space between the ears that makes the difference” Pru

There has been much talk recently of learning spaces – many schools are doing amazing things – really thinking outside the square when it comes to designing the places we work in and we send our children to.

Another Elluminate session in Helen Otway’s “It takes a village” program continues the discussion on Learning spaces, Learning Paradigms and Learning Cultures.  This time, it was Greg Whitby (Executive Director of Schools, Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta) turn to lead the discussion and inspire thoughts about defining the business of schooling.
Once again, it was thought provoking and I struggle to paraphrase or summarise the discussion successfully. I have been re-thinking the following key phrase from Greg’s presentation.

“Who learns what, with whom, when and where” basically, this refers to the altering nature of the relationship between learners, teachers and the wider world.

Other points of note from Greg’s presentation which tie into the above statement:
• School is no longer the centre of learning
• Teaching in the 21st century is more difficult than in the 20th century
• We can no longer rely on a ‘one size fits all’ mentality
• Teachers need to improve their reflective practices and constantly review and react. They need to step back and ask questions of the learners. What do you want to learn and how?
• Teaching needs to be de-privatised and learning needs to personalised

The aspect of de-privatising teachers is interesting – I believe that the numbers of teachers who are blogging and tweeting shows that many are already on that path. Indeed, the attendance at an Elluminate session is evidence of this too. They (we) have realised that there are enormous benefits to be gained by exposing ourselves (be nice) to the world beyond our classrooms and indeed beyond our schools. The power of the PLN – much written about is expanding exponentially. Personally, I will admit that despite attendance at a variety of professional development courses and ‘network’ meetings, these face to face opportunities pale when compared with the value of my on-line network. I know, face to face is important, but in reality, I will never be face to face with a Principal in Canada, wonderful teachers in other part of my city or state or a volunteer teacher in Sri Lanka. Therefore, our learning spaces have changed as to those of the children we teach.

Once again, I posed the question to the group. “How do we embark on the learner centred, open style classroom when we are confined by the bricks walls surrounding one teacher and 25 kids model?” The response came from the chat from Pru “It is the learning space between the ears that makes the difference”

Thanks, I think you summed it up – but of course that leaves the question “How do change people’s thinking when they don’t see the need to change or are too restrained by fear to look around?”

PLN Final reflection

I ventured into the MacWorld at about the time I started this project, so it seemed appropriate that I learn a Mac Tool to complete my final task – My first attempt at iMovie is below – shared to YouTube and then embedded – I am exhausted. I am sure the next time it will be easier but as with all these things, you need to have a ‘purpose’ and give it a go. It is a bit rough around the edges, but the message is there I hope.

Some fellow participants have done brilliant summaries that deserve mention – have a look at Cloud 9
and Read a Good book lately?. I love how we all take away different things from this sort of PD.

Week 7 – Research tools (8/6 – 14/6)

Delicious or Diigo

I am along time user of Delicious and remain to be convinced about the benefits of Diigo over Delicious.  For the purposes of this exercise (VICpln)I have created a Diigo account and imported my bookmarks – it does not appear that my Network will flow over.  This makes sense as people do not always have accounts in both places.   This will be a big stumbling block for me as I have a great Delicious network, in fact it is one of my best sources of new sites and the people in my Delicious network are probably part of my PLN (hadn’t thought of that before).

I find social bookmarking invaluable, it saves so much time.  The key is TAGGING.  If you don’t tag with useful remarks, you may as well not bookmark!  Delicious also allows for Bundling tags, and I use that feature to combine tags for Inquiry units or into subject areas or age appropriate groups (Junior etc).  I live by the motto, the more tags, the better (as long as they are relevant of course).    The more specific you can be, the more useful they will be later when you are searching.  For example, don’t just use maths – be specific, use multiplication, year5, etc

In most cases, if I need sites for particular purposes, I will go to Delicious before Google as I know that I have already sorted out relevant sites.

Installing the applet to your browser is important in the process as it means that at a click (or two) you have a site bookmarked, catalogued and remembered forever – or certainly easy to find again.

So, can anyone tell me why I should change?  Why Diigo and not Delicious?   I cant imagine using both – one will be enough.

My Delicious tags – represented via Tagxedo below