Please Give Me Something To Learn About

Cross posted at LeaderTalk

When we ask the interview question of “what are your thoughts on the uses of technology in education?”, I have a preconceived notion of what I want to hear that is never met. I’m happy if the candidate even talks about it from a general point of view on the uses in instruction or adding to the curriculum. I’m unhappy when they say they like technology, or power point, or palm pilots and that it’s the wave of the future. Tell me what you’re going to use, where and how, and let it be something new, maybe even something I’ve never heard of before. It’s not the wave of the future, unless of course, I’ve regressed and it’s actually 1985 again. It’s today.

Which leads me to this post by Will Richardson about twitter. I don’t get it, I’m trying to get it, and I doubt I’ll actually go give it a try. I’m clueless about twitter, but NOT completely clueless because of Will’s post and the other tidbits I’ve been reading through my RSS feeds. What I’m loving is that I can read about something entirely foreign and new to me and that I can begin to ponder the implications it may have for my own learning and for education. This is what I need my teachers to be doing–reading the ideas of others and challenging their own ideas–LEARNING.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  1. Kimberly,
    It took me some time to understand Twitter. It took me three days to figure out if it would be useful or not. After day three, I must declare, like Corporal Klinger holding up his section 8, I got it. I am following people who have the same interest as I. Twitter really answers just one question, “What are you doing?” The real power comes when people tell you what they are doing in their professional lives. When people tweet to you that they posted to their blog, found a great ed tech website or you must read this PDF article the power of Twitter comes to life. We all know that good blogging starts with reading. With reading anything, and maybe especially on the Internet, we must be very discerning. Twitter is becoming part of my pre-blog reading. I’m a new blogger and I’m not trying to fish for more comments on my blog, but I talk more about Twitter on my blog.

  2. Hi Kimberly – I’m a high school English teacher who’s been “twittering” for the last week or so (last eight years if you ask some of my students, but I digress), and while I was at first in the “no, not for me” camp, I’m slowly crossing over.

    I can’t quite articulate why, but I feel there’s some definite metacognitive value to it. Perhaps the “bite-sizedness” of tweets might appeal to students – I’ve always found it a valuable exercise to impose limits on students from time to time (e.g., summarize Act I of Hamlet in a haiku) in order to get them to flex their creative muscles a bit. I’m wondering if there’s something to this Twitter that can combine that limiting aspect with the metacognitive aspect for something positive.

    It’s been said elsewhere that Twitter probably works best for people with an established community of fellow Twitterers (Tweeters? Twits?), so I’m wondering if there’s something to having a class all sign up for Twitter accounts and tweet from the perspective of a character in a story. Perhaps having students maintain a Twitter log for a week (Twitter archives all your posts, much like a blog) and require responses between Twitterers to foster that metacognitive thinking along with communication.

    The facelessness of it all may also help break down some social barriers; I found this to be the case when I moved some assignments online in one of my courses this past year. From a counseling/social skills standpoint, could this be helpful to institute at the middle school level, when cliques seem to rule some schools’ social scene? It’s nothing that couldn’t be done in other mediums, of course, but it’s something novel that may engage kids. I’m just thinking out loud here; it won’t change the world, but could there be value to it? Sure.

    Oh, and I heartily second Melanie’s advice to check out . Inexplicably fascinating in its banality – I watched those tweets pop up from all over the world for far longer than I care to admit.

  3. Melanie–thanks so much for sharing your great thoughts! I think twitter just might not be my style and blogging is. I hope as a staff developer, you’ll offer your learners options. Twitter is coming at me in shorter parts than my learning style accepts where blogging hits me just like I want it, time to read and reflect. You ask some terrific questions. Kim

  4. Ugh. I swear I read over my comment 3 times before sending it. Apparently, I missed the fragmented sentence (that came from a correction to that sentence). My apologies to all of the cringing teachers.

  5. I agree–we need to see new innovative ways to use technology. While I love to see how people can use data, I want to see them looking for the newest thing out there–for the sake of learning!

  6. I’m not sure about this one (twitter), but I’ve been wrong before. Someone said on Wil’s blog that he decided to try it for 30 days. I thought that was a good idea–it makes me not feel so committed to everything. I feel like I’m always trying some new web 2.0 trick, but they usually don’t stick. Not to mention that when I walked into the district today and tested it, it’s blocked. (I’ve already sent around the link from your “Educating Trumps Blocking” post.)

    So, Kim, you said that you doubt you’ll give a try. Please understand that I admire you for your well written and inspiring blog (and you are my new hero), but I wonder what turned you off from actually trying it? As a staff developer, I hear from teachers “that’s cool, but I doubt I’ll use it”. Maybe they aren’t seeing the educational impact? That could be my fault. Maybe they aren’t getting the importance? I often think that if it is important to administrators, it will be important to teachers–whether they like it or not. Most times I hear, “I just don’t have the time”. We’ve been there, teaching took all of my time and all of my energy, but I think it came down to what was important to me. I noticed that when I used technology with my students they were more engaged and actually wanted to do their school work. Years ago, a student emailed me on a Saturday night to ask a question about inserting music in a PowerPoint. That spoke volumes to me. I’ve recently gotten in touch with some of my ex-students who are on Facebook now. They say that they can’t believe their 7th grade teacher is on Facebook. I say, why not?

    So, I have the same question as you. I am teaching the classes, offering the tech support, but the success rate of integration is not satisfying me. What can I do to help teachers “get it”?

    One thing that has helped. I try to keep it all in perspective and remember that teachers are my students now. They all have a starting point. What’s important is that they are growing from that baseline and learning. It’s not enough to say that they have had a great website for 3 years. What have you done lately to further your learning? I use this chart from ACOT:

    to help teachers gauge where they are and where they are going. Note: I got this from Wesley Fryer’s blog “Moving at the Speed of Creativity”:

    Back to twitter, I found this: and it shows all of the “tweets” on a map as they are coming in. It was pretty cool to watch, but I doubt I’ll use it….just kidding.

    Lastly, on a personal note, sorry I wasn’t there the last day of HSNF to help you with your blog and iPod. I hear Andy was quite helpful and see you got help from someone else for the blog. Drop me an email if you have anymore questions!

  7. You absolutely almost used the same words I used last week when I was trying to explain to a job candidate and the rest of the interview team why using the calendar feature in Outlook is not what I mean what I ask for advanced computer skills. Neither is sorting data in Excel or entering data into a already well developed Access database. Scary thing is not many got my point. What did I get? Many confused, perplexed looks. Let’s widen the perspective just a little 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *