The Virtual Staffroom
Last nights class, I found, was very informative and engaging. Besides the initial frustration of logging into Blackboard Collaborate, I came away with some new found insight into the world of technology and its many programs /tools. I found TweekDeck, in particular to be fascinating; I never knew such a tool existed. The way it managed Twitter accounts kept everything organized and even allowed users to send and receive tweets and easily view profiles. Having access to all of this in one place made it surprisingly efficient enough for someone like me to use, which was nice. I found it interesting how you can customize your columns, which can be set up to display your mentions, trends, hashtags, direct messages, and your overall Twitter timeline. However, I did find that TweetDeck moved very quickly; it was hard to keep up with it especially if you have more than two columns. Nonetheless, this tool works extremely well for Twitter Chats as exemplified from last night.
After the tutorial of TweetDeck, my ECMP 455 online class took part in our first Twitter Chat as a group. The professor, Alec Couros, initiated the chat by attaching our class hashtag, #ecmp455, to the end of this tweets.It was outstanding to see not only our bravery in participating but to see the replies and feedback from individuals who are not in the class. I even got a reply from Shauna Pollock, an educator from Ottawa, acknowledging her interest in my major and minor combo (see screen shot). Continuing on from last night, I gained approximately 15 new followers from all across the globe! That’s incredible. It is truly amazing what Twitter can offer.
Overall, I find that I am not a big tweeter. I do not use Twitter that often and quite frankly I shy away from Twitter, or Tweeting in particular, because I never know what to say. However, last night, I found that I came out of my shell and just went for it by Tweeting literally 9+ times. I tweeted more last night than I did in the past six months, and it literally wasn’t that bad or as scary. Having the entire class participate with me made it easier and more comfortable as well. Furthermore, getting replies from across the global really made me feel connected in a way that I never knew. All in all, I found in amazing. The connections you can build from this simple yet complex program is definitely worth the time and effort.
The amount of teachers that are using Twitter is amazing! As exemplified last night, Twitter is a great source of professional development and collaboration to add to your personal learning network. It is a great tool to help you branch out and share/receive materials and resources from other educators and professionals. Having said that, it becomes extremely helpful for new and future teachers, like myself, especially if they are in need of extra educational guidance; it is so easy to get instance feedback. In this way, I find that Twitter becomes like a virtual staffroom for me where within literally seconds I can access new ideas, opinions, and resources that aid me in my learning (as clearly exemplified from last night). As well, it is a great place to get constructive criticism, which can also assist future teachers in many aspects. I find that self-awareness and reflective practice are very important for teachers. The other day I followed many other educators around the world as well as other teacher accounts and I found that by reading about other educators experiences on Twitter made me reflect on my own teaching and therefore, aiding in my learning as a future teacher.
Below is a perfect example of constructive criticism. I replied to my classmate Mark’s tweet and what followed was differing views, which enabled me to think twice about my initial thought.
Many people find it almost impossible to express themselves in 140 characters or less, myself included, but the whole idea is to simply communicate, communicate, communicate. I found that it is so easy to connect with people. Ultimately, Twitter is an exceptional learning tool. Learning from and seeing its benefits encourages me to definitely use Twitter once I become a full-time teacher to expand my personal learning network, share/receive resources and feedback, and with that accept constructive criticism and ultimately self-reflect.
Having said the above, my desire is to use Twitter more on a regular basis. After all, I do like to hang out in the staffroom where the sharing and communication is non-stop.
Feel free to follow or tweet me @emilycolumpsi or to use the hashtag #ecmp455, we would all love to hear from you.
Tweet ya later!