Final Day of Ed Tech

I was born in the end of the 20th century and grew up in the 21st. I was practically born with a cell phone in my hand and with a vast knowledge of technology and how to operate technological devices. However, before this class, I never knew how to IMPLEMENT this technology. Before, technology was all about personal gain and entertainment. Now, the information I have about technology will help me to use it in order to benefit others and myself. I now have an extensive knowledge of how to use technology in the classroom. I know how to operate a SMARTBoard, how to edit images in PhotoShop, how to create my own website, and how to appropriately use Twitter. This has been one of those college classes that would do you well to remember, seeing as the knowledge gained in this course is unlike that of any other class. The lessons learned have real-world applications, and I can’t wait to see what great new apps I can suggest to my students to download. 

As a side note, I plan on keeping the Twitter account we made in this class for professional use and I plan to maintain the Personal Learning Network we created in this class.

Final Twitter Chat – #tlap

I had to do it. I just had to. I NEEDED to see what #tlap was all about. For those who do not know, tlap stands for Teaching Like A Pirate. When I went to sit in on the chat on Wednesday the 25th, I was shocked. The chat wasn’t at all what I expected. I honestly did not expect anyone to show up, and I thought it was a hashtag people would not take seriously. Boy, was I mistaken. This hashtag is very much alive, and no, it isn’t exactly what you think it is. They are not discussing how to search for buried treasure or to teach your parrot how to talk. Instead, #tlap is about acting as a pirate in the sense that pirates are free spirited and loyal to each other. These are not your normal, blundering, pillaging pirates, but your cartoon pirates or your Muppets Treasure Island pirates.

The chat has the standard Question-Answer format to it. The theme of the night was, of course, Thanksgiving and gratitude. I think since it was so close to the Holidays, the chat wasn’t exactly supposed to be informative. Throughout the night, the questions were all along the lines of “What are you thankful for?” “What, as educators, keeps us filled with gratitude?” “How can we inspire students to do good in the school/community/world?”. This was a nice break from hard-edged and focused questions. It was amazing to see how inspired the teachers are because of their students. I almost teared up reading some of the tweets that night because I couldn’t help but think that I will someday be in a place where I am constantly being a role model to my students. So, since I am not yet a teacher, I will say that I am thankful for Albright College for giving me the opportunity and the means to do what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Here are the people I followed from the chat:

1. @HalLRoberts – Hal Roberts. The moderator of the chat. I like to imagine that he formulated this idea of Thanksgiving and gratitude, so I needed to follow him for giving the participants the opportunity to reflect on their achievements and to truly be thankful for what they have in their lives.

2. @bkuhl2you – Ben Kuhlman. The co-moderator of the chat. See above for why I followed him.

3. @MadDawgMisty – Misty White. I know, the twitter handle is a little suspicious. But, she is a 7th grade chemistry teachers and her responses made me tear up the most. I didn’t cry, I swear! She is very passionate about what she does, and I hope to be as passionate as her when I get into the classroom.

4. @TheMsOBSI – Jenn Oramous. She is a science teacher, and she too was extremely passionate in her answers during the chat.

5. @smussle – Sydney Musslewhite. To be honest, her profile picture got my attention. But it turns out she had lots of good things to say and will prove a valuable part of my twitter feed.

Twitter Chat 6 – #njed

For my penultimate twitter chat, I chose to observe #njed on November 24th, which is the hashtag used for new jersey educators. This was one of those hashtags that didn’t use the expected Answer-Question format like most of the others. Instead, this was a hashtag to be used any day of the week at any time, though it seems like there is more traffic on the specific day (Tuesday) that it appears on the chat guide. As a New Jersian, I looked forward to seeing what kind of great information I could find from my fellow statesmen (and women).

Though they really had nothing to do with New Jersey, I found two links that were very intriguing. Throughout the night, one user posted links that were about apps and programs teachers can use in the classroom. The one that caught my eye was a Top 25 Most Recommended Android Apps for Educators. I’ve actually heard of a few of these apps and actually came across a few of them the day we went over iPad apps in class (some of the apps are for both Android and iOS). The link can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/ngjbmeb

The other link that instantly grabbed my attention was how to incorporate Instagram as a learning tool. The article was written by a teacher who first thought about incorporating texting in the class, but went against it at the thought of students sharing personal phone numbers. Instead, she decided to use Instagram. As a biology/chemistry teacher, she uses Instagram for students to answer Essential Questions, to provide updates on projects or homework, for students to peer review or critique each other’s work, and more. Even though I don’t use Instagram, I thought this was such a neat idea and plans are racing through my head for how I can incorporate technology into my classroom. You can read the full explanation and see pictures of examples here: http://tinyurl.com/p3v8rz4

Because this was not a question-answer formatted chat, I followed these five people mainly because I found their contributions useful. 

1. @kcalderw – Kyle Calderwood. He is a Technology Coordinator at Tuckerton Elementary, and has his MA in Instructional Technology. He is also the one to post the receommended Android apps link.

2. @bcurrie5 – Brad Currie. He is a school administrator in Chester, New Jersey and is the cofounder of the #satchat hashtag.

3. @DrSpikeCook – Spike Cook. He is an elementary principal in New Jersey and is very passionate about incorporating tech into the class.

4. @NMHS_Principal – Eric Sheninger. He is a principal in New Milford, New Jersey and is an author and award winner. His achievements are impressive. Check out his website, ericsheninger.com if you are interested.

5. @TeacherCast – Jefferey Bradbury. Throughout the night, this account posted links to a website he created, and acts much like a pinterest page (though not as pretty).

 

Twitter Chat 5 – #21stEdChat

On Sunday, November 10th, I observed the #21stedchat, and this chat was unlike any I’ve observed thus far. There didn’t seem to be a moderator, though people were still answering questions that were never asked. My guess is that the moderator forgot to put the #21stedchat in the questions, and only those who were following the moderator saw them. I was not the only one who was confused, but most people took this as an opportunity to openly share their advice and to share anything they thought was relevant. At any rate, without knowing the exact questions that were asked, I was still able to retain a lot of useful information

As the tag suggests, the chat is centered around how we can start bringing education into the 21st century. The thought is that education is still stuck in the 1800s style of teaching, so we should try to change that by using technology in the classroom. One of the major topics was Lecturing and how we need to get away from lecturing AT the students, but rather lecture with the students, or not at all. One link I found particularly interesting was a link to how to make lectures more like “TED Talks” lectures. You can find the link here: http://tinyurl.com/puwe2p

It seemed like there weren’t many people contributing, because the same 4 people (who seemed to be the ones following the moderator and therefore receiving the questions) kept posting. So, I decided to only follow 4 people from this session. I didn’t want to follow someone who would just end up clogging my twitter feed just because I had to follow exactly 5 people. Maybe I’m just a rebel, who knows? Anyway, the five people I chose to follow are:

1. @ScottRRocco- Scott Rocco. He is a superintendent and an adjunct professor at TCNJ. Aside from answering the questions (which I didn’t know) he didn’t really post much. But his input on delivering lectures in the classroom was spot-on with how we’ve been taught in Secondary Methods, so I know this guy is well-versed in education.

2. @millerg6 – Greg Miller. He is an assistant superintendent and he was all over the chat. He seemed to post the most frequently, and his answers, insights, and his advice to others participating in the chat were all well thought out and helpful.

3. @JudyArzt – Judy Arzt. She is an associate professor who teaches educators how to use technology in the classroom (much like the course we are currently enrolled in!). She did not post much during the night, but she was the one who posted the TED talks link I mentioned before. That alone was worth a follow.

4. @EDU_Thompson – Jill Thompson. She calls herself an instructional tech specialist, and she is the CEO of Edulum, which is an organization to teach educators to use new, technologically based teaching styles in the classroom. She had a lot of good insight and advice, much like Greg and Scott.

Twitter Chat 4 – #PTChat

On Wednesday, November 6th I observed the hashtag #PTChat, which stands for Parent-Teacher Chat. Much to my merriment, this chat was alive and well and had a great turn out. I was relieved to step out of the academic playing field for just a bit, because the theme of the night was about bullying. Instead of focusing on academic achievement or learning INSIDE the classroom, this topic introduces one of the major parts of teaching OUTSIDE the classroom. As teachers, we will face situations in which a kid who is bullied comes to us for help, so I was very interested in seeing what this chat had to offer. Unfortunately, there were no links shared throughout the night because the questions were opinion-based, so instead I will try to give a brief overview of the questions asked and the most popular responses.

The first question asked was “Why don’t kids step in during a bullying situation?” Most of the replies were along the lines of “They are scared the bullying might come to them next”. I thought that was absolutely true, and, having been in that situation myself, I can attest to it. The best part about these responses is that the answers were coming from both teachers and parents who participated in the chat. It was great to see that parents are getting involved in their children’s school life.

The second question was “What do adults need to do to help encourage more student bystanders to ‘step up’ during these situations?” The majority of the replies said that adults need to model the behavior they expect from their students/children. This is great advice and it’s something I can take into the school setting with me when I teach. Hall monitoring is a part of the teacher’s criteria, so I should plan to model the “superhero” persona kids would expect of me.

The third question was about what the KIDS say about how to stop bullying. The responses most people gave were that children really need adult feedback and instruction. We not only need to model, but give specific directions and advice. They also suggested forming focus groups to tackle these sorts of issues. Most kids know to stop bullying, but they don’t know HOW to stop bullying, so that is something I can hope to personify with my time as a teacher.

The fourth question asked What strategies actually worked to help prevent bullying. All of the answers had to do with “climate” or overall school awareness of bullying. Creating a sense of community in the school can help to make sure every student and faculty members know that everyone is on each other’s side. I sincerely hope I get to teach in a school with that mindset.

The last question of the evening was, “How can we switch the norms so kids know it’s better to be kind than cruel?”. The answers came around full-circle, since the majority of the people went back to modeling. Therefore, the overall theme of the chat was to model the behavior you wish to see out of your children and students, and we can have a healthy school community.

These are the five people I chose to follow:

1. @Joe_Mazza – Joe Mazza. He was the head moderator of the chat and had so many great, reassuring responses to people’s answers.

2. @TonySinanis – Tony Sinanis. He was the moderator’s assistant during the chat, and he too was giving positive responses to everything people had to say. The two moderators worked very hard to make sure everyone felt involved in the chat.

3. @micheleborba – Dr. Michele Borba. She was present at the chat and she is an author and a keynote speaker, and has been on various TV programs such as CNN and The View to discuss her feelings on bully prevention.

4. @rggillespie – Reed Gillespie. He is an assistant principal in Virginia, so he deals with bullying situations all of the time, I’m sure. His answers and contributions were very insightful and helpful.

5. @JoyWright91 – Joy Wright. She is a middle school principal and spent the chat answering questions and giving her feedback on other’s responses.

Twitter Chat 3 – #EdLeaders

On Tuesday, November 5th I planned to watch the #EdLeaders chat. However, much like my first twitter chat experience, no one seemed to be there. I didn’t let that stop me this time. I decided to just go through the hashtag and see what good information I could find. The hashtag isn’t used like the rest of them since there is no Question-Answer based discussion. Rather, it is used randomly throughout the week for people to post helpful links and give advice. There is no “theme” per say, but the hashtag implies that the information shared with the hashtag should be relevant to the idea of educators being leaders.

That said, there was still plenty of good information to be found. One such source is the website of Dr. Kimberly Tyson (more on her in a second). She posted a link ( http://www.learningunlimitedllc.com/2013/04/common-language/ ) to the chat about the importance of creating a common language between teacher and student/administrator/parent. This was very good insight and I’m glad she shared this to the hashtag.

Finding five people to follow did not prove difficult seeing as there wasn’t much competition. But, they are 5 great selections so I’m not complaining.

1. @tysonkimberly – Kimberly Tyson. She is a K-12 literacy consultant and she is the founder and lead consultant for Learning Unlimited, which provides literacy services for schools and school districts.

2. @tsbray – His about.me page says he hails from Seoul Korea, but an educator is an educator, no matter where they are from. I followed TS Bray because of one post he made that day. I will let you read the link for yourself if you feel so inclined: http://tinyurl.com/plxsbcj

3. @APINsight – Nancy Herr. She only posted once as well, but it was enough to get my attention. She posted a link that made a strong case for music education, and, being the musical type, I felt this on a personal level. She is also a former principal, so I feel like she will be a good source of information.

4. @aks_dan – Dan Aks. He posted a couple of useful links near the end of the chat time, but they were useful and interesting, so I decided to give him a follow. He has a lot of titles, so he seems to know what he is doing.

5. @tvanderark – Tom Vander Ark. He is the CEO of Getting Smart, a learning advocacy firm. He has lots of great information and even has a book titled Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World.