Author Archives: lawz500

About lawz500

I'm an Australian aspiring writer, living in Melbourne. I love getting completely absorbed in a story, whether that be in print or on the screen. I am genuine and honest with a passion for Comic book films, the Backstreet Boys and Michael Buble. My family, friends and pets are the most important aspects of my life. As a born-again Christian, I strive to draw closer to the Lord each day of my life. I'm unabashedly seeking representation for my completed historical romance manuscript, Fallen Blade.

Using Twitter in the Classroom – Justification: Part 2

Just a reminder, this blog post is a continuation of the previous one entitled: “Using Twitter in the Classroom – Outlining the Issue: Part 1.”  

I am currently completing my Masters in Secondary Teaching and will be posting my current assignment to this blog in order to demonstrate how 21st century technology can be used in the classroom. This is the second part of my assessment task, where I will attempt to justify the use of Twitter, drawing on how it can be used in the learning. I created my own hashtag for each post relating to this assessment task (#MTeachWWIIyr10) on my own personal Twitter account. The link for this thread is as follows: https://mobile.twitter.com/search?q=MTeachWWIIyr10&s=typd or by typing in the hashtag into the search button.

So the question to be addressed here is why a teacher might choose to use Twitter. It is a way for students to:

  1. Link their learning in the virtual world for easy reference at a later date;
  2. Collaborate with each other remotely and with their teacher;
  3. Gain access to a wide range of resources;
  4. Share their resources efficiently with their peers through re-tweeting and sharing posts;
  5. Link with professionals and the wider community with knowledge and skills in that field of expertise; and
  6. Generate their own peer discussion (Miller; GDC Team, 2014);

This is by no means an exhaustive list. In the comments section of this blog, I invite you to include any other ways you think Twitter might be useful in a classroom context.

There is an excellent article by Samantha Miller setting out 50 ways Twitter can be used on the classroom. You can access this article at this address: http://www.teachhub.com/50-ways-use-twitter-classroom. I actually shared this article on my Twitter feed with the hashtag #MTeachWWIIyr10. Miller begins by using a couple of classroom housekeeping examples like tweeting about upcoming assignment due dates or providing a running news feed to show how Twitter can be useful in the classroom. Some of the other examples she uses are particularly novel and innovative like having English students attempt to write a poem in 140-character format or teaching probability. Miller’s article has a wealth of inspiration which really highlights that the application of Twitter is really only limited by the teacher’s imagination. It particularly lends itself to the Humanities area because it has so many applications like tracking weather patterns or connecting with Google Earth (both examples are from Miller’s blog post). I particularly liked her idea of having the students summarize each lesson in a 140-character tweet. This encourages the students to individually process the teaching and learning and engage in higher order thinking to summarize the content. The students would need to stick to the 140-character format unique to Twitter, which in itself is a challenge.

Another interesting article on using Twitter in the classroom is found on the Global Digital Citizen Foundation’s website at https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/60-inspiring-examples-of-twitter-in-the-classroom, which I also shared under the #MTeachWWIIyr10 hashtag. There are some fantastic Easter Eggs here. I liked the suggestion about allowing students who have trouble with ‘disruptive blurting’ to tweet their impromptu comments instead. This is a way of managing a particular behavior in a non-threatening way.

I have also shared two other resources about how to use Twitter on my feed. Dailygenius suggests using Twitter to hold a discussion with the class for 30 minutes outside of school hours at http://dailygenius.com/use-twitter-in-the-classroom/. This might be a great way to keep the class focused and connected on school holidays. If used effectively, it could even foster a virtual community for the classroom. Virtual communities or networks are second nature to the digital native student. However, by incorporating this virtual community into the classroom, the teaching and learning will not feel outdated and irrelevant to the students. This is particularly helpful when the individual student is taking a required subject without any personal interest in the teaching and learning.

Pamela DeLoatch suggests publicly acknowledging a student’s good behavior on Twitter at http://www.edudemic.com/the-30-newest-ways-to-use-twitter-in-the-classroom/. This could be a useful tool for managing behavior, specifically encouraging positive behaviors. Of course, a teacher should never publicly name and shame a student for inappropriate behavior on Twitter. Most of my examples in my hashtag feed are limited to posting a question, which my here-to-fore non-existent students would answer. Much of the suggestions contained in these blogs are difficult to demonstrate without a live class of students to participate. However, there is no question that these suggestions are innovative and completely in step with educating the Neo-millennial learner or digital native (Prensky, 2001). Through most of these examples, students become active participants in the learning. Activating the students as participants is important in developing their neural network (Foreman, 2003) as well as for student engagement.

Potential Problems?

A point that I failed to consider when I started posting under the hashtag #MTeachWWIIyr10 is whether all tweets should contain correct spelling and grammar. I alternated between using the correctly spelled “you” and the twitter favorite “u.” Other abbreviations crept in, especially when I was attempting to re-tweet an interesting tweet with my #MTeachWWIIyr10 hashtag. In the future, I would carefully consider whether correct spelling is important for the class. Perhaps I could even invite the students to contribute their own opinions on this. I think a teacher’s tweets should probably meet the correct spelling and grammar requirements, although you will notice that mine do not. Whether or not the students should be required as well, might need to be decided by consensus with the whole class contributing to the discussion and casting their vote.

Choosing to present this assessment task through the microblogging site Twitter has presented some difficulties. For instance, I cannot post this entire blog post in one post on Twitter due to the 140-character format. However, the functionality of Twitter makes it a good one-stop-shop for accessing information. I can post this task elsewhere and then share the link via my twitter account. It works the same if I wanted to upload a screenshot of the homework I had set for the class. I would be able to share the screenshot via Twitter under the hashtag for the class. I could ask the students to perform a Twitter search and find a Twitter user with knowledge about our topic and their own website. The class could perform a search on the Second World War and begin following users like @RealTimeWWII, @OZatwar or @WWIImuseum. They might be asked to present what they learned about the teaching and learning from accessing this site in the next class. The students could be encouraged to put these users in a list so that they can access their tweets in a single feed. These users post regularly about World War II and their tweets would help bring history to life for the students. This in itself will facilitate student engagement for subjects like History that has a reputation of being dry for students.

Another potential downside to implementing the use of Twitter in the classroom is the additional work required for the teacher. If the teacher is not completely comfortable with using the site, the requirement to keep up with it will become more onerous than intended.  If each student in the class engages with Twitter at once, that is between 25 and 30 posts that the teacher needs to have at least read and checked so that he or she can be sure that it does not contain anything inappropriate. In addition to this, if each student tweets questions to the teacher, they may expect instant responses, resulting in next-to-no down time for the teacher. The concept of set contact hours could potentially address this issue. The contact hours could be set at the beginning of the year or they could be set at the beginning of each week for the class. The teacher would therefore monitor all tweets at a time to be determined at his or her discretion but would only be required to be on-hand for direct answers during set times. This needs to be carefully considered by the teacher and assessed critically against the already present constraints on their time. Alternatively, rather than using Twitter for the whole year, the teacher could set it up for Term 1 only and decide whether to continue with it for the rest of the year at the conclusion of the Term 1. Students might be allowed to expect to access their teacher outside of school hours in today’s digital age but this expectation needs to be managed so that the teacher does not end up becoming burnt out. 

Conclusion

Despite the potential problems raised herein, I remain excited about the applications of Twitter in the classroom. It is obvious from the type of posts that I put under the #MTeachWWIIyr10 hashtag that I enjoy the idea that students and teachers alike can share pictures of historical events. The teacher can also invite students to undertake their own research into questions and share the link to the information that they find. These examples provide opportunities for the students to engage both with the teaching and learning but also with current events. This can be invaluable in stimulating discussion, analysis and exploration of the teaching and learning. Inferential thinking needs to be prompted but remains invaluable for a student’s grasp of the material (Lamb, 2006). When used effectively and within set parameters, Twitter can be an invaluable 21st century tool in combatting student engagement.

References:

  1. (2014). “25 Top Ways Teachers Use Twitter in the Classroom.” Retrieved on September 17, 2015 at http://dailygenius.com/use-twitter-in-the-classroom/.
  2. DeLoatch, P. (2015). “30 Innovative Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.” Edudemic. Retrieved on September 17, 2015 from http://www.edudemic.com/the-30-newest-ways-to-use-twitter-in-the-classroom/.
  3. GDC Team. (2014). “60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the classroom.” Global Digital Citizen Foundation. Retrieved on September 17, 2015 from https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/60-inspiring-examples-of-twitter-in-the-classroom.
  4. Miller, S. ‘50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.’ Teach Hub. Retrieved on September 17, 2015 from http://www.teachhub.com/50-ways-use-twitter-classroom.
  5. Prensky, M. (2001). “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1.” On the Horizon. 9(5): 1-6.

Using Twitter in the Classroom – Outlining the Issue: Part 1

I am currently completing my Masters in Secondary Teaching and will be posting my current assignment to this blog in order to demonstrate how 21st century technology can be used in the classroom.   

The issue I wish to address in this assessment task is student engagement with the teaching and learning. This is a broad issue that can be addressed in a number of different ways. In order to ensure, student engagement the teaching should be student-centric (Noe et al, 2010).  It should also address three separate issues (Kahn, 1990):

  1. Relevance – the student can see that there is meaning behind what they are learning and they recognise that learning is not a waste of effort and time;
  2. Safety – the student is reassured because he or she knows that the classroom is a safe place, where his or her self-expression will not lead to negative repercussions; and
  3. Availability of resources – the required resources are accessible by the student when they are needed;

Since relevance is so important to engagement, teachers need to ensure that their lessons are not perceived as outdated. Sometimes this opinion is difficult to overcome. What students see as interesting or relevant may be affected by their own individual interests. Using 21st century technological tools can help tackle this perception of being ‘outdated.’ I propose that using a social networking site like Twitter can encourage engagement both inside and outside the classroom. When used well, it can foster peer collaboration, individual research and critical analysis.

An important distinction to point out is the fact that today’s student is growing up in a different culture than previous generations. This new generation of student has been called the Neomillennial learner (Dede, 2009; Willems, 2008) and it has been accepted that this digitally literate generation requires the following to be incorporated into the pedagogical framework employed in their classroom:

  1. Becoming fluent in multiple media;
  2. Actively learning the material through collective collaboration;
  3. Expressing themselves through non-linear webs of representations as well as linear media; and
  4. Co-designing the learning experiences with the students in order to personalise the teaching and learning to their individual needs and preferences;

The Neomillennial learner tends to gravitate to group activity; values being considered intelligent; is drawn to new developing technologies; and is, as a group, racially and ethnically diverse (Oblinger, 2004; Raines, 2002). The social aspect of learning has been widely accepted as important (Vygotsky in Deed, 2015; Smith, 1999). An effective teacher recognizes these characteristics and increases engagement by providing opportunities for the students to develop skills in these areas. They also employ multiple modes of learning like group or pair activities. There have been studies which demonstrate that applying Information and Communication Technology (“ICT”) in education positively impacts upon student engagement (McFarlane, 2003; Andretta, 2005). In order to meet the needs of a changing workforce landscape, society now requires students to be “expert learners” (Ertmer and Newby, 1996) or life-long learners, who graduate with creativity, diverse skills, ICT skills and flexibility (Darling-Hammond, 2006; Levy and Murnane, 2004).

Implementing the use of Twitter would need to be undertaken with the approval of the school’s principal, with the appropriate cyber-safety protocols implemented. This might be as simple as requiring each student to set up a school Twitter account, which is monitored both by their parents and the teacher. It might mean that the teacher sets up a class account that can be accessed by each and every student. It is highly unlikely that the students would be able to continue to use their personal Twitter pages for this exercise. The teacher may also have to spend a lesson or even multiple lessons going over the school’s ICT policy to ensure that the students are clear on the parameters of what is appropriate on a school-safe Twitter account. Through monitoring tweets, there would be potential teaching moments about digital citizenship, cyber-safety and what is safe to share online (KQED et al, 2015).

For a teacher to use Twitter effectively, he or she might wish to create an individualised hashtag for the students to use in any post related to the teaching and learning. That way all posts would appear in the same conversation thread. The hashtag system could be used to differentiate between individual topics, units or, alternatively, it could be the same hashtag the whole way through the year.

In my next blog post, I will attempt not only to justify the use of twitter, I will also actively demonstrate it. In order to demonstrate this, I have created my own hashtag for each post relating to this assessment task (#MTeachWWIIyr10) on my own personal Twitter account. The link for this thread is as follows: https://mobile.twitter.com/search?q=MTeachWWIIyr10&s=typd or by typing in the hashtag into the search button. I will include a copy of this thread in the hard copy, which will be submitted. I hope to show the various applications for a year 10 History class studying World War II.

References:

  1. Andretta, S. (2005). Information Literacy: A practitioner’s guide. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, Ltd.
  2. Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). “Constructing 21st-Century Teacher Education.” Journal of Teacher Education. 57(3): 300-314.
  3. Dede, C. (2009) Comparing Frameworks for “21st Century Skills.” Harvard Graduate School of Education. 1 – 16, 10. Retrieved on April 8, 2015 from https://lms.latrobe.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1841869/mod_book/chapter/41687/Comparing%20Frameworks.pdf.
  4. Deed, C. (2015). EDU5PFL Planning for learning (1st ed). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning Australia.
  5. Ertmer, P. A. & Newby, T. J. (1996). ‘The expert learner: Strategic, self-regulated and reflective.’ Instructional Science. 24: 1 – 24. Retrieved on April 8, 2015 from https://lms.latrobe.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1841869/mod_book/chapter/41687/Expert%20learner%20article.pdf.
  6. Foreman, J. (2003). “Next generation educational technology versus the lecture.” EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved June 29, 2015 from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0340.pdf.
  7. Kahn, W. A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal. 33: 692-724.
  8. KQED, Trust and Safety Team at Twitter, Levin, S., Morris, C., and Williams, B. (2015). “Guide to Using Twitter in your Teaching Practice.” KQED Education. Retrieved on September 17, 2015 from http://blogs.kqed.org/education/how-to-use-twitter-in-your-teaching-practice/.
  9. Lamb, A. (2006). Inferential Thinking Across the Curriculum. Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://eduscapes.com/sessions/pilot/pilotinference.htm.
  10. Levy, F. & Murnane, R. J. (2004). The new division of labor: How computers are creating the next job market. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  11. McFarlane, A. (2003). “Assessment for the digital age.” Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. 10:261-66.
  12. Noe, R. A., Tews, M. J. & McConnell Dachner, A. (2010). ‘Learner Engagement: A New Perspective for Enhancing Our Understanding of Learner Motivation and Workplace Learning.’ The Academy of Management Annals. 4(1): 279-315. Retrieved April 8, 2015 from https://lms.latrobe.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1841869/mod_book/chapter/41687/Learner%20Engagement%20Article.pdf.
  13. Oblinger, D. (2004). “The Next Generation of Educational Engagement.” Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 8:1-18.
  14. Raines, C. (2002). “Managing Millennials,” in Oblinger, D. (2004). “The Next Generation of Educational Engagement.” Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 8:1-18.
  15. Smith, M. K. (1999) The Social/ Situational Orientation to Learning. Retrieved March 6, 2015, from http://infed.org/mobi/the-socialsituational-orientation-to-learning/.
  16. Willems, J. (2008). “From sequential to global: Exploring the landscapes of neomillennial learners.” Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Proceedings ASCALITE Melbourne 2008, 1103-1113. Retrieved on February 28. 2015, from https://lms.latrobe.edu.au/mod/book/view.php?id=1465562&chapterid=54002.

To Grandpa, from your “No 1 Granddaughter” Possum

It’s been quite a while since my last post, I know. The reasons for that are multiple but one of the reasons is my Grandpa, Ray, passed away peacefully on 29 March 2015 after a two month stint in hospital. He was 87 years old and it has been so hard saying good-bye to someone who had such a huge impact on my life. I thought I would upload the poem that I wrote and shared at his funeral last week.

His unquenchable thirst

Pushed him to new heights.

He was my Pa Pa first

Umpiring my sister fights.

Little hands knead the dough;

Big ones made such a mess.

The flour: high and low;

Grandma sure earned her rest.

His booming laugh roared,

Around his chair, we would run.

In strong arms enfolded,

As we giggled with the fun.

The law now behind me

He allayed all my fears.

He was still proud of me

All of my days and years.

Becoming a Great Grandpa:

The next step for Ray.

Raising the flag to the stars,

He was fierce proud that day.

Looking at pictures of us,

He told me happily

that we were all his:

His precious family.

He got knocked down,

The Comeback King Ray.

Inner strength he found,

He did things his way.

I miss his face,

His hair needing a comb.

But he ran his race.

And now he has gone home.

His love was fierce,

I’m not me without him.

His loss does pierce

But I know I will see him.

I see him in the sun,

Young and walking tall,

Eyes sparkling with fun,

Waiting with Jesus for us all.

You’d look at me and smile,

You knew me so well.

You raised me up high,

And I never fell.

You knew how I loved you.

I knew you were never far.

So now I say thank you

For being my Grandpa.

As Shakespeare once wrote,

“Now cracks a noble heart! Good night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

My last words to Grandpa were, I love you and I’ll see you soon. Today, I want to say the same thing.

Fly away Pa Pa and until we meet again, I love you.

You’re Beautiful by Phil Wickham

Hi Everyone,
I’ve had a few changes in the last few months which is why I’ve been absent from my blog and am actually back at University to step into a new career. My nephew arrived safe and sound – he’s 2 months! My grandfather is also very sick, which has been hard and some days my heart just aches with it. When I get overwhelmed, which I have to admit has been a lot lately, I like to listen to WorshipMob’s version of this song. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JP_HLFdfok
Lyrics:
I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful

I see You there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful

I see Your face, I see Your face
I see Your face, You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful

Stay safe.

2015 – ready or not

As I write this, I’m still surprised that the New Year has come and gone. 2014 went by so fast for me that I’m not even sure I have clear memory of what happened. Perhaps everyone feels that way this time of year. I mean, if you’re anything like me, preparation for Christmas starts in November – gifts, cards, parties, catching up with friends. It goes by so quickly and then suddenly, it’s the first day of a new year.

I’m not a resolutions person. I never really bought into New Year’s Eve as an actual holiday – I’m grateful for the public holiday. I read a post by Candace Cameron Bure today that reminded me that this time of year is a great time to re-evaluate your goals. You can read her post here: http://candacecameronbure.net/practically-speaking/2015-goals/

It got me thinking about my own goals. My personal trainer likes me to think about fitness goals in the New Year period but I’ve never pushed myself to achieve them. For 2015, I’ve decided to hold myself accountable to this blog post. I’m posting this to make myself think seriously about what I want to get out of 2015.

  1. To stay fervent in prayer – I’m a Christian and I believe that prayer really helps me stay centered on the things that God has for me.
  2. Spend time studying the Bible each day, whether that is 5 minutes or an hour. This is a habit that I really need to get back into because I know from past experience that without it, I feel stressed and out of whack with myself.
  3. Prioritize myself more – I tend to drop everything for family whenever they need it but I rarely put my own needs first. This takes a toll after a prolonged period of time and I start to feel frustrated with myself. It’s my own fault though so the solution starts with me.
  4. Get in shape – I’m completely out of the habit of getting to the gym 3 times a week and this has to change. I know it’s going to kill me to start but I also know that it’s going to really help my mindset. I know intellectually that I need the physical outlet… I’m just too good at putting it off at the moment.
  5. Write every week – This one is really important. I finished my first manuscript but I owe it the proper time to edit it into a polished work. I also just started my second manuscript, which I’m really excited about so this has to be a priority in 2015.

I figure that if I can really focus on these five things, 2015 is going to be better than 2014.

What are your goals?

Today, I’m promising myself that I’m going to meet mine this year and I hope that you do too. I’m thinking of the feeling of achievement I will have when I look back on this post on 1 January 2016 and realize that I did what I set out to do.

The Magic Bank Account

Wow, thanks for sharing! This is very thought provoking. I love the picture you chose to!

Lynette Noni

My mother sent me a forwarded email the other day and something about it just stuck with me, so I wanted to share it with you. The original author isn’t known—the following text was found in the billfold of a man named Coach Paul Bear Bryant upon his death in 1982.

The Magic Bank Account

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use.  However, this prize has rules:

The set of rules:

1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.

2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

3. You may only spend it.

4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.

5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it…

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