Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Social Networking for Professional Educators

November 12, 2010

Looking over the 2010 update to the National Educational Technology Plan, I’m excited to see that the authors recognize and promote the value of social networking technologies in education. The community of teachers and learners that I connect with through sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In is in the thousands. The value that instant access to these folks brings is incalculable.

One of the recommendations is that professional educators

Leverage social networking technologies and platforms to create communities of
practice that provide career-long personal learning opportunities for educators within and across schools, preservice preparation and in-service educational institutions, and professional organizations.

The report goes on…

Social networks can be used to provide educators with career-long personal learning tools and resources that make professional learning timely and relevant as well as an ongoing activity that continually improves practice and evolves their skills over time. Online communities should enable educators to take online courses, tap into experts and best practices for just-in-time problem solving, and provide platforms and tools for educators to design and develop resources with and for their colleagues.

Unfortunately, my current institution is blind to the value that comes from access to such resources. Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and many other sites are blocked for employees on some network segments. Where we can reach these resources, we have been warned very sternly not to. Consider this message from my institution’s president about sites such as Facebook:

Beginning tomorrow, we are asking our IT Department to give us lists of all [college] employees who are on these and other social networks. In turn, we will contact those employees and require that they submit to their supervisors and then to their up line vice president a written justification for this use and a detailed business purpose for it. Then, by reference to this memo, we are requesting that our IT department conduct random checks each week of employees logged into social network sites and these employees will be contacted and required to submit to their supervisors and then to their up line vice president a written justification for this use and a detailed business purpose for it. Most use of social networks by employees cannot be justified by a business purpose and is classified as personal use which is prohibited.

How do your schools treat social media? What approaches have you used to soften the stance of an otherwise progressive administration on this issue? Is this a battle worth fighting?

I’d better sign off before the Gestapo find out that I’ve been blogging… If you wish to reach me at work, I’d recommend sending a fax.

PS:  This blog post came out after I wrote this entry.  It’s a perfect example of how professional educators are using social media.  Give it a read.

A Few Things

April 28, 2010

Over the years I have received more than a few emails from our principal with the ambiguous subject, “A Few Things.”  I always knew there would be at least one item in there that I didn’t want to read.  That principal is retiring this year, and I will miss working for her.  Like those “few things” messages, this post consists of some items that need to be said but don’t really warrant an entire post.

Google Workshop Registration Closing
Registration for the Go Paperless with Free Google Tools workshop closes May 1.  Participants will receive 18 technology PD hours and a chance to visit scenic Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Win-Win!  Contact Kim Singleton <> to register.

BotBall Competition in Edwardsville, IL
I traveled with a colleague and 12 students to Edwardsville, IL, last weekend to participate in the regional BotBall competition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  This is the same competition I posted about last year.  If you are unfamiliar with BotBall, you should look into it.  Students are given a kit of parts, including Lego, servos, sensors, a Roomba optimized for robotics prototyping, and a pair of programmable “brains.”  They work for several weeks to design, refine, and optimize an autonomous robot to solve a particular problem.  This year’s problem was timely:  collect and clean ducks that were contaminated in an oil spill.  The students learned a lot about team work this year and took home an award for outstanding documentation.

Academic Partnerships at Arkansas State University
I enrolled in the Curriculum and Instruction program at ASU late last year.  I am happy to report that the model this program uses works well for me, and that I’m on track to graduate in May 2011!  I’m currently finishing up School and Community Relations.  I’ve completed School Law, Elementary Curriculum, and Philosophies of Education.  I particularly enjoyed the School Law class.  Do consider this program if you’re looking to continue your education in a program that is rigorous yet manageable.

You’ve probably heard of Twitter.  You might not know about PLNs.  The “in” thing to do is to create Professional Learning Networks by following educators on Twitter who post information and links that you find valuable as a professional educator.  I have been cultivating my PLN for more than a year now. Things have gotten hectic, though, and I haven’t had a lot of time to keep up with Twitter.  Anybody have strategies for taking away the immense value found in a PLN without investing hours each day?

John’s Blog Saved Networking
Teaching students in a lab environment is so rewarding, but sometimes things go wrong.  Without getting too techie, let’s just say that the students ran a command on our pet Linux machine that prevented us from running certain administrative commands.  The only way to repair this is to run administrative commands.  A Catch-22.  Through the directions found on John’s Blog, we were able to get things going again within the period.  Teaching students “stuff” is one thing.  Teaching students how to find “stuff” is another thing.  This only works with folks like John out there creating the content.  Thank you.

Cell Phone Crack-Down
Two media outlets ran stories about the Vilonia School District‘s battle against cell phones.

“Why can’t they just understand the rule that no cell phones are allowed at school?,” [School Board president Danny] Lawrence offered. It should be no different, he said, than the acceptance of the rule regarding the possession of drugs or  tobacco products. A rule is a rule, he said, made for a reason and to be enforced.

I agree that cell phones can be a distraction.  I concede that they can be used to cheat.  I admit that students can do all sorts of unethical or illegal things with these devices.  Drugs and tobacco products have no redeeming qualities.  Cell phones do.  Students can capture images, audio, and video with even the least expensive phones.  Those lacking the funds to spend on expensive clicker systems can instead channel student passion for these devices into class participation using free services like Poll Everywhere or Twitter.  Cheating, goofing off, and other abuses with cell phones should be regulated through classroom management techniques and supporting administration rather than sweeping policies that strip schools of resources they don’t even know they have.

The EdTech Twibe

April 22, 2009

Yes, Twibe. I’ve been connecting with fellow educators on Twitter

Join or start a twibe today!