I have been wanting to use the power and simplicity of Twitter for a professional development session with my teachers. However, I also want to keep the session private and unique to our site without the rest of my PLN jumping in on the conversation. I explored hashtags and using other programs like Edmodo. Then I stumbled upon a web app called GroupTweet, which allows you to create a private conversation on Twitter without broadcasting to the rest of your PLN. In order to create a private conversation, you will need to create a new separate account dedicated to the private conversation. For example, I created an account named after my professional development group at my school. This is the account you register with GroupTweet for all conversations to take place. Once the account has been registered, the teacher must follow and be followed by the new Twitter group account. After the initial setup, teachers can now start conversing by sending Direct Messages (DM’s) to the new group account. The group account in return will then broadcast the message to you via @account (i.e. via @socratech) and to everyone else in the group. It is also important to protect the tweets from the group account if you want to maintain the privacy. It may not be the ideal configuration, but it does provide a solution for conversations catered to your particular site of teachers.
This is a continuation of my notes from the MacArthur Foundation report from their Digital Youth Project. This section focuses on “Messing Around.”
- “Messing Around” – involves experimentation and exploration with relatively low investment, where there are few consequences to trial, error, and even failure. [Dream Big, and Take Risks]
- 87 percent [teens] reported using a search engine at least once a week. “lurking”
- Self-directed and the outcomes of the activity emerge through exploration.
- Youth are pursuing topics on their own.
- Exploration leads to tinkering which leads to serious engagement to perfect work.
- Games such as Neopets allow customization for youth to engage in game design.
- Peer-based learning
Since joining Twitter a few months back, I finally feel comfortable with all the lingo and vernacular of 140 character microblogging. I have joined several chats and thus far, has proven to be a hit or miss for me, as it does seem at times that if you don’t have connections with certain Twitter accounts, no one really consistently listens to you. I realize that I should not expect anything in such an anonymous environment. However, I do recall the famous words “when in need, sow a seed.” Lately, I have taken extra effort to help and answer as many questions that #edtech people post on Twitter. It has helped with people reciprocating information when I needed it. I am still trying to see the value of certain chats where I observe a hit or miss of useful and useless information. I have yet put my finger on the dynamics of Twitter chats. Maybe if I create my very own hashtag chat called #BizEdu where educators who teach financial literacy can chat, will I experience the facilitator role. I am trying to see if this form of professional development can work successfully in a structured environment, rather than a free for all (hit or miss) conversation that I seem to experience currently. Maybe facilitators or other people experience something different. Too bad real time threading didn’t have a “Facebook” or “Edmodo” type interface on Twitter.
I have been tweeting my notes for the last 15 minutes, and just realized I should just keep a blog of my thoughts rather than bombarding my Twitter with random posts. I am finally reading the Living and Learning with New Media report published by MacArthur Foundation. Here are my notes as I read:
- “Genres of participation is a set of social cultural & technological charateristics that partcipants recognize as defining set of practices”
- Friendship-driven genres of participation = MySpace & Facebook
- Peer-based learning is not “peer pressure”
- Do #teachers believe “hanging out” with teenage peers = supporting social learning or = waste time?
- “Hypersocial: young people use specific media as tokens of identity, taste, and style to negotiate their sense of self in relation to peers”
- Get the full copy of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out by Mizuko Ito & Others from MIT Press: http://ow.ly/NM5i
- “Tele-cocooning: practice of maintaining frequent and sometimes constant (if passive) contact with close friends or romantic partners”
- “controlled casualness” – teens carefully compose messages that appear to be casual
- Connecting as friends through FB changes the dynamic of that connection with someone you meet just once. Now you have to acknowledge each other more in person sometimes.
- Irony – Teenagers who put content on the public web feel their privacy has been violated when parents check their site.
Inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure, the students of MC Tech created their very own click your own adventure stories using Microsoft PowerPoint, Sliderocket, TuxPaint, and their own imagination. The students created a children’s story, where the reader can choose which path to take in the story by clicking buttons on the slides. It engaged my students to produce their own original art from TuxPaint, as well as writing their own children’s story using digital technology to enhance the experience. You can view some of the projects on our class website.
The first rule in social media is that there are no rules. That is the beauty and horror of crowdsourcing. Having said that, there are a few disclaimers one should read before entering the world of social media networking. First, when conversing in such an open forum of communication, it is important to remember the old adage of if you can’t take it, then don’t dish it. Secondly, I firmly believe karma will return to those who consistently bad mouth, talk negatively, or portray others in lesser light. Thirdly, if you are going to borrow, steal, or remix someone’s work, always give credit where it is due. Of course you cannot ignore the spammers. The more you are known in the social media scene, the more spam you will get. The anonymity yet personal web provides great opportunities to collaborate, learn, and share with others. It provides an avenue to express oneself and others in anyway possible. However, the anonymity also provides opportunities to trash others without repercussions.
Recently, I been exchanging emails with my old educational technology coordinator from my previous district. It reminded me of the wonderful lesson he had in teaching us credibility of websites. As we all know (I hope), somethings on the web are scams, misleading propaganda, and plain out right false information. It is important we provide explicit instruction to our students the validity of their content, as they more and more rely on the Internet for all their research. Below is a simple lesson with attached links (Thanks RH!) that raise the issue of fake versus credible websites.
Students will visit certain websites to determine the credibility of each website. Through research and evaluation, students will write on their blog about each website they visit. How to access your blog?
- Login to your Gaggle account.
- Go to “Jump To” and select My Blog.
- Click on Create New Blog.
- Give your blog entry a title and then begin typing your research on each website.
- Each website URL must be copied onto the blog and then a sentence or two should be written about the credibility of the website.
- Answer the following questions for each website: a) Is the information on the website real? b) What makes you believe it is real or fake? Explain.
- Please visit the following websites:
- All About Explorers
- Army’s Telepathic Ray Gun
- California’s Velcro Crop under Challenge
- Dihydrogen Monoxide
- Dog Island Free Forever
- Feline reactions to bearded men
- The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
- Victorian Robots
I am what I call a “Post-Listings” member on Twitter. Although I never experienced the traditional old school way of follow and unfollow on Twitter, I understand the dynamics of following people for various reasons. Reasons can differ from actually following someone for PLN purposes, to just following to get followed right back. However, when Twitter introduced lists, it added a third option to the mix. Now a person can just create a list for a certain group or PLN, and add them to a list rather than follow them directly. This new dynamic has some positive implications for future use of Twitter. I for one tend to follow PLN people who follow me back to create a PLN community that I can directly communicate with. I also seem to get the same response back. The addition of lists allows me to condense my following and followers to focus on my PLN of educational technology. For my other interests, such as entertainment and parenthood interests, I just simply create a list and add people who fill those needs without directly following them. I wonder if other people have migrated to this format. Using this dynamic allows me to curtail the madness of following a thousand people who are simultaneously tweeting. Now, I can see the important messages that pertain to my PLN. Once again, I am relatively new to Twitter, but this makes sense to me. Maybe there was a program that did that before (i.e. TweetDeck, HootSuite), but thank you Twitter for making lists.
It is unusual to blog about a microblogging question, but I couldn’t express it in 140 characters.
The hashtag concept on Twitter allows for PLN conversations to stay focused on a particular topic. For example, the #edtech has been a popular hashtag used by many educational technology professionals and teachers to discuss topics related on instructional technologies. I am a follower of such hashtags and enjoy exchanging dialogue with the other people in the PLN. I am also a fan of using such hashtags at conferences to further reflect and extend the conversation in real-time. For example, I followed the #dl09 hashtag for DevLearn 2009. I wasn’t present this year, but was able to get some resourceful information by simply following the conversation.
My question is related to Tweeting at a conference when using hashtags. My dilemma is that our conference is uniquely large, but also intimate to our charter school network. I want to implement a hashtag conversation for our conference, but want the dialogue to be closed to only participants in the network. I tried thinking of solutions such as asking all participants to protect their Tweets that week, but I find that too difficult to enforce. This is where I am stuck without a solution…Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The more I use Edmodo with my students, and the more I am finding new web 2.0 apps that can be embedded into Edmodo, I could envision the website as the hub for digital learning in the K12 market. As of today, I have been able to embed YouTube, MyStudiyo, SlideRocket, & Slideshare into Edmodo. The ability to embed HTML coding from other web apps really provides a unique opportunity to bring the best of the web into Edmodo. If more websites provide the embedding code such as the apps above, Edmodo could become the forum to post all my projects. My students could create and complete all their assignments with other apps such as SlideRocket, and then embed the presentation into Edmodo. The collaboration and communication provided on Edmodo could really enhance the experience of all the other apps. The combination of the private communication platform and the ability to embed third party apps into program has some interesting potential for Edmodo. Lets hope Edmodo continues the good work and more importantly, lets hope more web 2.0 companies provide their code to allow us to embed it into Edmodo.