Tag Archives: twitter

Roll Away Your Stone

5 Mar

Having just returned from CADA (California Association of Directors of Activities), I want to recap one of the more important themes I try to drive home with technology: social and emotional intelligence is one of the most important things we can teach. It’s not new, as activity directors we address this every day through our project planning, group communication/interaction, and mass communication with the campus. Jamie Casap – Google Education Evangelist – said it best last year during his keynote when he said, “If kids are getting hit by cars, we don’t ban automobiles. We teach kids how to cross the street.” With technology, we do the opposite, constantly banning that which wold make a great teaching tool. Continue reading

Fast Follow is more than Following Fast

5 Jan

I’m always impressed with people who feel that teenagers are the tech savvy generation. Keep in mind that teens are very good at texting and Facebook, but not much beyond that (in most cases). When I first started using cell phones in the classroom, I knew that texting was the key. However, I did not want to individually text 150 students. So, in a moment of inspiration, I started using Twitter with my students. After four days and only one student signing up I was in a jam. I took a chance on Twitter Fast Follow, a service Twitter offers that allows someone to follow a person on Twitter without even creating an account. It took me two days to get 80% of my students signed up with Twitter.

Fast follow is simple, send a text to 40404 with the phrase “Follow (username)”. For example, I had the kids text 40404 with the words “Follow Soethengclass”. This was a great way to do informal surveys, send out information, connect with kids and make myself available for questions or help.

The first thing I did to get student involvement was start some give-a-way projects. For example, I would tweet out that the first five people who replied to a tweet would get a prize. The next day, I gave out at least one king sized candy bar in each class. My goal, to create interaction in social media. I wanted the students to know they could reach out to me and to pay attention to the tweets going out.

In class, I started backing off the amount of writing the kids had to do, especially during discussions. We spent a lot of time going over class discussions and the expectations for class discussions, and I would have a student keep track on the board of the main points that we would go over. Then, at the end of class, I would take a picture with my iPhone and tweet it out to my students. Their job, make a copy for their notes. My goal, one tweet a day as I knew if I could get my text or tweet to show up on a student’s phone I could make them think about me or class. Anytime a student thinks about my class outside of school is a good thing.

Now, the evidence that supports using Twitter. About two years back I had a conversation with another teacher by the name of Corey Bess. Corey did what I did not, research. You can read Corey’s blog to get more specific info, but I will boil it down. Corey created two identitcal sets of students: grades, race, socioeconomic, and class size. At the end of one year, he found that his students who used twitter socred- overall – 8 percent better on their final grade than those who did not. This number grew significantly over the course of year as students who used Twitter scored almost 10 percent better on standardized tests than those who did not use Twitter. That gap grew over the course of the year. Corey did the same thing I did, one tweet a day. And the tweets can be specific like “HW tonight on page 29, make sure you read the paragraph first,” to the casual, “Happy Friday, remember to wear your Orange and Blue.”

I started using my Twitter for various purposes. I would do spirit updates, pictures, assignments for that day in class, or motivational items like “do your best today.” Over time, I found my students were very happy to contact me via Twitter and ask questions on assignments. In the past year, I have seen my students who use Twitter increase by fifty percent. While I used to have to explain Twitter, I am finding that less and less as kids are jumping on board and following each other or their favorite celebrities. Additionally, with only 140 characters, Twitter forces students to be concise with their communications. At the same time, the Twitter community frowns on abbreviations and misspelling, so a lot of the text speak that kids use is fairly non existent in the Twitter-verse.

One other passionate educator I know who uses fast follow is Ron Ippolito. Ron and I have had some great discussions on fast follow. On of those discussions involved using fast follow as part of a school Twitter account. Now, you have a free way to communicate with parents via text or Twitter. Granted, there are a lot of text services out there, but I don’t know too many that are free. Twitter is a great way to have a conversation with your students, parents or staff. It’s a great way to stay connected and gives your community one more option in getting their information or contacting you. That’s a great lesson in customer service for your students to take to their professional lives.

 

Cruise Control

21 May

I’m a cruise control driver.  With a forty-five minute drive, I like to get on the freeway, set my speed and go.  It’s a these time my mind tends to wander, I can prepare for the day on the way to work or reflect on my day as I drive home.  It’s a great time for me to decompress, relax, or get ready for what lies ahead.  However, I’m often impeded as I have to share the road with many other drivers.  The most frustrating, the drivers in the passing lane who are not passing anyone.  Remember, I’m using my cruise control, so I’m not speeding up or slowing down, slamming on brakes or randomly accelerating.  So, when I begin to come up on a car that does not yield, and I’m forced to slow down, or in some cases go around, I get a little frustrated as I have to engage my brake.  I feel the same way about education.  When I get in my room I can teach some amazing things and am able to go a long way to motivate and inspire my students.  Unfortunately, bureaucracy and outdated policy are often my roadblocks on the passing lane to properly prepare my students for the world beyond high school.

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iPad 2 or Laptop?

11 Apr

The debate is thick as to the type of niche that iPad fits in the technology world.  I love my laptop, I love my desktop at work, and I love my iPad.  So, which device is the correct one for a majority of my personal use? That all depends on what I will use the device for, and iPad keeps blurring that line every day. Continue reading

Taking Notes in the Digital Age

17 Mar

My note taking preferences have changed over the years.  My favorite ways of interacting with speakers and lectures is to use Evernote and Twitter.  I like being able to save, share, and then re-live the topic that was discussed.  I love the interactivity of the note-taking and the power it gives me to go back and research the topic as I lived through it at the time.  Now, how do I convince my students there is a benefit to this process? Continue reading