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