Final Networked Learning Post

“How have you contributed to the learning of others?”

One of the things I struggled with this semester was having to maintain a Twitter account. I didn’t have Twitter at all before the semester and I struggled to maintain the routine of Tweeting retweeting. But I also appreciated that I was pushed out of my comfort zone this semester. By having to maintain a Twitter account I had the chance to interact with my colleagues and my learning was enriched by them. It also made me take charge of my own learning as I had to read articles and watch videos to Tweet. Although I was quite opposed to Twitter, in the beginning, I have come to see that it is actually a useful platform for collaborating with and learning from others in the education community.

That being said, the biggest way that I contributed to the learning of others was through my presence on Twitter. I attempted to tweet twice a day this semester (some weeks went better than others). I tweeted and retweeted resources that I found using Feedly. And as I was selecting my resources I made a concerted effort to share resources that could actually have some practical application for my peers. Instead of scrolling through Feedly and simply posting the first article that had “Education” and “Technology” (or some variation of that) in the title and posting it, I combed through the articles on my feed and shared the ones that I thought my peers would find the most helpful. I also tried to share a variety of resources. Instead of just sharing articles all the time I also shared infographics and other visual aids that could be used in the classroom and I also shared a few Ted Talks that could be used in different classroom settings and for different purposes. I also tried to find articles from authors that I felt were worth following, Terry Heick and Brian Aspinall were two that I found and shared their work multiple times because they had valuable thoughts to share.

Another way that I contributed to my classmate’s learning this semester was through commenting on their blogs. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s blogs. I especially enjoyed getting to read people’s learning project posts because it was so fun to see their progress as the weeks went on. Their personalities really came through in these posts and I often found myself laughing out loud reading about their adventures. But I am going, to be honest, I was quite diligent about commenting at the start of the course but as the semester progressed and my life got increasingly busy my commenting trickled off until I wasn’t doing it anymore.  I missed reading about my colleagues’ blogs but it was just unsustainable in the hectic last few weeks of the semester.

The Google+ Community was a great resource to support us through the semester. I really appreciated reading others’ posts in the community and being able to access all the class materials in one space. While I appreciated the resource I didn’t contribute to it much. I was a bit of a Google+ lurker this semester. I mostly used it as a place to find the links to the course material and never had burning questions to put in the community. I did contribute once however because once this semester I was miraculously on the community at the same time that Losa posted a question and so I had the opportunity to respond.

Otherwise, I found that by the time I made my way to the community the questions that had been posted had been addressed already. Overall, I really appreciated other peoples discussions but I was more satisfied to lurk rather than post in it.

via GIPHY

I have truly appreciated participating in and learning from all of my amazing colleagues this semester. I wish you all the best of luck in your futures!

 

 

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Just the Beginning: Summary of Learning

This class has been one of the most practical classes that I have taken at the university. Before entering this class my knowledge of the tools available to use in the classroom and how to approach topics of digital citizenship in the class was limited. There were aspects of the course that I struggled with but there were also skills I learned that will equip me for the future. Now that we have reached week 13 I feel like I have a whole new knowledge base that I can take into my future classroom to prepare my students and to enrich their learning through the use of technology in the classroom.

This course not only allowed me to develop my skills with implementing technology effectively in the classroom but it gave me an opportunity to develop a creative skill as well through my Learning Project. I chose to learn how to do hand-lettering as my learning project and it provided a great break from the stresses of the semester.

I teamed up with Kayci Henderson to create our Summary of Learning video artifact. In the video, we review the main takeaways from the course, discuss some of our struggles and successes, and make fools of ourselves. So sit back and enjoy!

I would like to take a moment to thank Katia Hildebrandt for all her help this semester. From the WordPress screencasts to the content of each class, I really appreciated your passion for the subject of technology in the classroom and your willingness to help us with any issues we came across this semester. I would also like to thank all of my colleagues in the class for their encouragement through blog comments and tweets. I appreciate all of the resources that were shared this year and I have learned so much from each and every one of you.

 

An Ode to Code

Before this year I had no understanding of coding. I knew that programmers wrote code to make websites run and function properly but I didn’t understand the way it worked and I had no appreciation for the intricacies and complexity of coding. That all changed this year though.  My sister is studying Creative Technologies at the University and so I have got to watch her create all kinds of interesting things using code. It literally is like learning another language and there are lots of little rules to know. You can write lines and lines of code and if you have just one misplaced semicolon or space the entire thing fails to run. For one of her projects she created a record player that plays music when you click it, a clip of it can be found here.  The code she works with is long and makes little to no sense to me and so when I heard we had to code this week I was a little nervous.

I decided to try the One Hour of Code on Code.org because it seemed like the most fun, more like playing a game than actually doing programming. I decided to try doing the Classic Maze option because I loved doing mazes as a kid and figured it would be fun to try. I was expecting the coding to be incredibly easy but I was actually surprised by how much it made me think. It wasn’t necessarily difficult to build the code strands to make a little character navigate the maze but it forced me to think differently than I normally do.  I took a few videos of my attempts at coding, using Screencastify, to demonstrate how the program worked and to show my struggles with coding.

Classic Maze #4: Early attempt at coding.

Classic Maze #20: By the time you get to this point in the little game it gives you tips and tricks for simplifying the code. At this point, I was really glad that they had presented the code as blocks instead of just senseless lines of code because placing commands within other strings of codes would have been confusing.

While I found this to be a fun experience, when I was doing it I kept thinking “Yeah this is fun and good practice problem solving but what really is the value of teaching it in schools?” Unless students plan on pursuing a future in computer science or graphic design I didn’t really see the value in teaching it in schools, except to develop digital literacy. But of all the things teachers are asked to teach students is that really a high priority in comparison to getting them to read and write?

So after doing my hour of coding, I looked up articles about the value of coding in the classroom. I found this awesome article that broadened my understanding of why coding is important in classrooms. I especially appreciated the point it raised about coding creating inclusion for those students who may be gifted in areas that are not normally acknowledged by traditional schooling methods. The article talks about how programs that offer coding allow students with ASD to see themselves as successful in the classroom and the impact these classes can have on these students’ futures. By training in software development courses students with ASD are given the chance to hone skills that will open doors for future employment in an increasingly digital world.

I also follow Brian Aspinall on Twitter and he is a huge advocate for the use of coding in the classroom. He created this infographic about the benefits of coding in the classroom:

I think that coding can teach students valuable problem solving and thinking skills but we need to make sure that we don’t simply teach our students to apply these skills to work with computers. The focus needs to be less on learning the skills to code a computer and more on how those thinking skills can be applied to larger real world problems.

via Brian Aspinall’s Twitter

 

 

 

Lightshot: Review and Possible Classroom Uses

Lightshot is an extension that you can add to your google chrome browser that allows you to take screenshots, edit them, and save them in one location. When you want to take a screenshot you click the little purple feather in the top right corner of your browser. When you click it it will pop you out to a different tab and you are able to select the area you would like to capture. Once the area has been determined there are two pop up menus, one is for editing the image and the other one is to determine what to do with the image.

Editing tools include:

  • Pen- writing on the image
  • Line tool- to underline text on the image
  • Arrow tool- to emphasize a certain section of the image
  • Rectangle- useful for highlighting an entire paragraph of text or emphasizing a certain post in a continuous feed
  • Marker- allows you to highlight sections of the image
  • Text- there is a textbox option that you can layer on top of your image
  • Colour- the colour square allows you to change the colour of the pen, highlighter, and text colour

Then the toolbar across the bottom allows you to:

  • Save the image to your computer
  • Print the image
  • Search visually similar images on google
  • Share on social networks
  • Upload to the Lightshot website to your own personal gallery

My screenshot gallery so far.

While this is a versatile tool it also has its limitations. The pen tool is generally useful but you aren’t able to change the size of the pen (fine tip-wide). You have to use the stock size and if your image is fairly small it can be difficult to use the tool on that image.Similarly, it is not possible to change the font or the size of the text on the image.  The tool does allow you to share the image immediately on social media sites but the platforms it links to are limited. The only options the tool presents from that toolbar are Twitter, Facebook, VK, and Pinterest. I think it is a serious downfall of the tool that it doesn’t link automatically to Instagram which is a site designed to share images. Also it is only available in the Google Chrome browser which may be limiting for students who aren’t used to using that browser.

While the tool does have some room for improvement it could be a very useful tool in the classroom. This tool could be great for annotating larger pieces of text. You could use it to highlight important passages or use the rectangle function to emphasize the most important portions of the text. In an ELA classroom, it would be a great tool for engaging in poetry analysis or finding the different parts of a short story. Students would be able to analyze and mark up their texts and then post it to a class social media site or on a classroom blog. It would also be a great tool to visually supplement a discussion forum like Padlet moving it from a text-based activity to a more visual activity.

A few other areas where it could be useful:

For students

  • Interactive note taking- give the powerpoint to students ahead of time and then they create notes on it
  • Creating study notes
  • Creating multimedia collages- mixes visual and textual elements
  • Digital brainstorming- stores images all in one place
  • Mock Snapchat: have students take on the persona of a character from a classic novel and summarise sections of the text as though the characters are using Snapchat.

For teachers

  • As a record keeping tool- documenting conversations between school and home over email
  • Celebrating student success through email with parents- showing them examples of student work
  • Adds a visual element to classroom blog- show discussions you’ve had using Menti-meter, Socrative, etc

This is a tool that can be useful for both teachers and students and when used in conjunction with other digital tools to expand students’ digital literacy, research and organization skills.

Here’s a link to the extension in the chrome store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/lightshot?hl=en 

The Power of Speaking out with Intention and Empathy

The internet presents us with countless opportunities. With just the click of a mouse, we can participate in larger global communities online. We can find belonging, connection, and support. But if it is used incorrectly the internet can become a tool to ostracize, ridicule, and humiliate. It can no longer be acceptable to ignore the suffering that takes place at the hand of cowards behind computer screens. Thankfully there are brave advocates who are spreading awareness about these issues. Last week we had the opportunity to watch a series of Ted Talks on the subject of internet shaming and we had the privilege of having Carol Todd (@c_todd) speak to our class about the importance of teaching digital citizenship to our students.

I found Carol Todd’s talk powerful not simply because of what she was speaking about but because she was speaking out at all. She has gone through a tragic experience with her daughter, Amanda Todd, and yet she has chosen to be an advocate for digital citizenship education. I think it is powerful that she is using the grief that she experienced through losing her daughter to raise awareness and create a positive impact in her daughter’s memory through public speaking and the Amanda Todd Legacy.

In her talk, Carol used the metaphor of students learning to drive being like learning to use technology. She reminded us that when we turned sixteen we weren’t simply handed the keys and told “Here you go. Hope you don’t crash”. Before anyone was licensed to drive they had to take drivers ed, you had to practice in the car with an experienced driver. We need to think about our student’s internet use similarly. Handing them a device when they are twelve or thirteen and giving them free reign is not going to turn out well. She specifically emphasized that “it is the behaviour, not the tool that is the problem”. If we teach students to use the tools effectively they will be much more successful and safe in the digital world.

In the article,  The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers, the authors explore how teenagers who spend “around nine hours using some form of digital media every day” run the increased risk of making poor decisions online. Prolonged exposure is not the only reason that teens are more susceptible to be influenced by the “get likes” mentality of the internet, it is also related to brain development. Teenagers’ brains aren’t wired to handle online pressures. The article highlights ways parents can monitor their child’s presence online but those options may not be the most proactive and may actually create more issues. Instead, I think it is important to examine why they need the external affirmation they are so eagerly seeking. Through positive discussions around digital citizenship, teenagers can become empowered instead of oppressed in their online lives.  Susan Knight offers some great strategies for proactive parental approaches to teen digital media usage in her article, “Technology Trends: When Teens Turn to Social Media for Validation” including modelling positive internet usage.

We also had the chance to watch two Ted Talks this week. The first one was given by Monica Lewinsky and was titled The Price of Shame.  She focused on how the internet facilitates platforms for public shaming and humiliation. Her talk was moving as she talked about her experience in the late 90s and tied it to the experience of a young man named Tyler who was exploited by his roommate, which led to him committing suicide. The line from her talk that stood out to me was the importance of using our digital platforms to speak up with intention instead of for attention. We also watched One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life, a Ted Talk given by Jon Ronson, which talked about Justine Sacco and how her one tweet made her a figure of ridicule. At the beginning of the talk though he mentioned that originally, Twitter was a place where people could admit their faults to one another instead of a place to shame each other and take people down.

What if we reconceptualized the purpose of these digital spaces and acted as encouragers instead of as vigilantes. Near the beginning of her talk, Monica Lewkinsky referred to the internet and social media as “brave new technology”. What if we took up that title as a call to action? It is our job as educators to give our students the tools they need to navigate the world, digital or not. Let’s give them the most powerful tools they need. Let’s teach them to practice kindness and empathy because “shame cannot survive empathy“.

8 Scientific Ways To Improve & Increase Your Empathy

Retrieved from Adam Eason

 

Conversations on Digital Games in the Classroom: Kahoot

Retrieved from: https://sites.google.com/site/technicallymiddle/kahoot

This week we were asked to conduct a theoretical conversation between two parties regarding technology use in the classroom. So my partner Kayci and I invented a conversation around the use of Kahoot as a learning tool in the classroom. The conversation was instigated by a seasoned, old fashion teacher named Mrs. Crumplebottom who is questioning the effectiveness of Kahoot. Ms. Kipps is a newer teacher who is enthusiastic about integrating technology into her classroom to up engagement.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: I think we need to have a conversation about what is going on in your classroom. Now I know that you have only been teaching for a few years and you still have some of that bright-eyed optimism but honestly, I don’t think the students in your room are taking their learning seriously. They come into my room every day talking about some gibberish sounding game you let them play. Smaboot…. Flabroot… What’s it called?

Ms. Kipps: I think you are perhaps meaning Kahoot? I’d be happy to help if you have questions about it!

Mrs. Crumplebottom- Yes! That one! I truly wonder what they are teaching you youngsters at that university. Back in my day students took their learning seriously with good old sobering exams to show what they had learned.

Ms. K: While I appreciate your experience, something to consider is that the students are really enjoying this type of learning! It’s less stressful and more like a game to them! It makes for a very exciting class!

Mrs. Crumplebottom: And how exactly does playing childish games help them to learn?

Ms. Kipps: I think one of the greatest benefits is that they are engaged! While it appears to be a game, it’s sneakily forcing them to think back to what they know and have learned in the class! And if by chance they get it wrong, it provides them with some immediate feedback to correct the misinformation.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: But they keep coming into my room talking about points and code names. How does that relate to learning?

Ms. Kipps: Well, the points are sort of like an incentive for the students. It gives them something to strive for in the platform and increases the buy-in for it. No different than the points given on a test, really! And the code names are generally just for fun but also allow for some anonymity for the students who worry about being embarrassed for getting answers wrong. If you want to know more about the research behind using games in the classroom to facilitate learning you could read this article. I know how much you love to read.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: Interesting! So what would you use it for? You wouldn’t use this to teach a new topic right?

Ms. Kipps: Definitely not to teach something brand new. It’s more of a simple review tool! I am able to take the information that we have learned already, whether that be from the class that day, the day before, or over the course of a unit, turn it into engaging questions, and then have the students review it in real time so that I can see how much they have retained and maybe where I need to go back over with some additional teaching! Super helpful!

Mrs. Crumplebottom: So are these Kafloots pre-made or do you get to tailor them completely to what you have been teaching?

Ms. Kipps: While there are some stock games just for fun, I can actually create my own Kahoots with specifically tailored questions about whatever it is we are working on! That way there are no surprises for students (unless I want there to be, of course). If you want to check it out, here is a little explanatory video:

Mrs. Crumplebottom: Hhhmmm. I see. So what if a student comes to class and for whatever reason, they don’t have access to a mobile phone or other devices?

Ms. Kipps: Well, one option is to de-techify it and have them respond on paper first, like a quiz. However, another option that I recommend would be to use the team option! That way not everyone needs a device and it encourages students to collaborate with one another rather than compete.

Taken from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QsjJPENK78

Mrs. Crumplebottom: That is a lovely feature. When I watched the video from the Youtubes it appeared that there are time limits on how quickly the students need to answer. Doesn’t that reduce the learning to just focusing on speed? And what if a student gets anxious in timed settings, doesn’t that agitate them?

Ms. Kipps: It is true that sometimes it can feel like a pressured situation for some students. I think that is why it is better used as a formative assessment tool rather than anything summative. Part of reducing the anxiety that students may feel comes from the environment that is created in the situation. If students are aware that it is low stakes and we emphasize the game aspect of the tool, then it becomes easier for them to find a level of comfort in engaging with the technology. This is also where the team aspect is useful because we can use a more gradual release into the individual engagement.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: So what would you do if there was a student in your room that had a visual impairment. They have to be able to see the board as well as their own device in order to respond effectively don’t they?

Ms. Kipps: For more advanced exceptionalities such as visual impairments and perhaps even reading difficulties, there is always the option of reading the prompt out loud. I would agree that this is perhaps not the best platform for all students, but you do your best to include and involve everyone. For those who have less severe visual impairments, I like to plan ahead and make sure that they are situated in a place that gives them the best opportunity to be able to see the board.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: I can see that I may have been a bit hasty in my judgement of this tool. The students do truly seem to be enjoying and learning in your classes in a way that they don’t seem to be in mine. I still have a few questions about it but would you be willing to show me how to set it up sometime next week? Or could I at least come in and observe one day when the kids are using it?

Ms. Kipps: Absolutely! Next week the students are actually going to try their hand at creating their own Kahoots to quiz each other before their unit test. You are more than welcome to come in and check it out. While I do agree with you that it has a few limitations, all around it is a very simple and engaging way to integrate technology into any classroom and the students for the most part really enjoy getting to play instead of “learn”! 

What Does the Internet Say? Cyber Sleuthing my Awesome Colleague

This week our task was to pick a colleague from our class and to conduct some cyber-sleuthing on them. We were meant to examine their online presence and to see what sort of impression they were creating for themselves on the web. I chose to find some dirt on Kayci Henderson.


via GIPHY 

After some very serious and intense digging, I found that she has a professional internet presence. I was hoping to find something more interesting but frankly, she has done an excellent job of creating a professional online presence.

The first step in my detailed sleuthing was to put her name into Google and see what came up. When I did this is what came up.

There were links to her social media accounts which are all professionally centred (like her Twitter account for example) or if they were personal accounts she had the privacy settings set so that little information was available without her allowing access to it.

Her Facebook profile is professional and it provides enough information to be able to identify her but not too much information. She has made her hometown public and that she attends the University of Regina.  A brief side note: I was also able to identify her hometown through Google because she is listed as being hired to work for the town of Carnduff as a summer student in their town council minutes which have been posted online.

Her Twitter profile also appears as private but she has chosen a professional picture and created a twitter handle that makes her easy to identify. I was also able to find a link to her Pinterest. Another thing that popped up when I googled her was that she is listed on the Rocanville School directory because that is where she interned last semester.

Kayci also represents well through her teaching blog she has provided a detailed overview of herself in a professional capacity. She has links to her philosophy, sample unit and lesson plans, and links to her blogs from the various education classes she has taken. She has done an excellent job of representing herself well online and if you aren’t already you should follow her blogs and twitter as she engages in her education journey.

Digital Citizenship and the Disconnection Dilemma

This week in class we talked about the importance of teaching our students Digital Citizenship as opposed to simply internet safety skills. As educators, it is our responsibility to provide students with the tools they need in order to be successful in the real world. With the world becoming increasingly digital and the normalization of younger and younger children accessing social media and other digital platforms, it is more important than ever for schools to respond proactively and teach students the skills they need to become an effective digital citizen. That being said I appreciated the perspectives of the articles we read this week but I do not necessarily agree 100% with the messages of the articles we read this week.

I enjoyed the practical nature of the article by Jason Ohler. The points he raised about the importance of teaching students through the “one life” perspective, where “educators to help students live one, integrated life, by inviting them to not only use their technology at school but also talk about it within the greater context of community and society”, were powerful (Ohler, 2011). We no longer live in an age where kids are not exposed to digital media. Our students live lives that are saturated by technology and as a result, it is important to use this to our advantage to make learning more authentic and engaging and to teach them the skills to handle it correctly.

That being said I didn’t agree completely with the immersion view of the article. I certainly believe that technology is an asset but in my opinion, kids should still be encouraged to be kids. It makes me mad when I see families out for supper and the kids are watching a movie on the iPad and the parents are texting or checking social media. I think that by encouraging an overconnected generation to become even more connected we are putting trusting, naive children at risk. The line that struck me the most from this article was near the end where Ohler stated: “our job is to help students not only use technology but also question it” (2011). It is our job as teachers to teach our students to be critical thinkers and I think this is especially paramount in terms of their engagement with the digital world.

I will proudly admit, even after reading “The IRL Fetish”, that I am a proud disconnection and IRL Fetishist. The article attempted to criticize those who choose to disconnect from the world of social media and technology claiming that the offline state they strive for is impossible to achieve.  I think it is a sad commentary on the human race when we believe that “the Web has everything to do with reality; it comprises real people with real bodies, histories, and politics” (Jurgenson, 2012). What people post online is not their real life, it is the highlight reel life that they want everyone to believe they are living. I absolutely love the idea of the Digital Sabbath Movement.   I think that it is important to find a balance between digital connection and disconnection. The importance of getting out in nature, of having face to face conversations, and having time alone with your own thoughts is becoming overlooked and that is to our detriment.

As I was reading these articles and thinking about digital citizenship I thought of this slam poem that I used in my internship. I think it is a great way to get students to think critically about their engagement as a digital citizen and I highly recommend it as a jumping off point for these sorts of discussions.

Creating Participatory Communities in the Classroom

We live in a world that is more connected than ever. Everyone is on social media. It’s become strange to meet someone who is not online and even those that are too young to use a cell-phone or a computer already have a digital footprint. In class, we looked at some staggering stats which stated things like “34% of children have a digital footprint before they are even born”. A digital identity is no longer a thing people choose, it is something we are born into.

This week we had the chance to watch the video “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” which attempted to contextualize YouTube, the content on it, and the participatory community mentality of the website. I found this video extremely interesting to watch because I am a surface level YouTube user. I mostly use YouTube to watch The Tonight Show, music videos, and the occasional web series (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was pretty awesome!) and had no idea really that people used the platform to engage with a greater community.

The most interesting part of the video to me was the section where the presenter, Michael Wesch, broke down the idea of cultural inversion, emphasizing the tensions that exist between what we value as a society and what we express. I think that this trend can be seen in every form of social media. It is why people obsess over followers and likes. It’s why everyone posts every detail of their lives from the trips they take to the food they eat. And as much as the video seemed to romanticize the community that is created via media platforms such as YouTube I think that it is a sad commentary on the state of the world. We are so concerned with being digitally connected that we overlook the relationships we should be cultivating around us. We are too afraid to be vulnerable and authentic with the people around us and so we create these online personas and pretend to be people we aren’t in order to feel valued.

The portion of the video that discussed the lonelygirl15 debacle was extremely interesting but I found it completely ridiculous that people, as members of this participatory community, were so gullible and emotionally invested in a person that they didn’t really know. They were so desperate for the digital connection that they were deceived by this campaign. As future teachers in an increasingly digital age, it is our duty to teach students the skills to be critical consumers of digital content.

I also think that as teachers we can tap into the idea of the participatory community while providing students with a more authentic space and way to engage with each other and the world around them. In the video, there was a section that talked about the masks people put online as part of their digital identity and in our classrooms, we need to make sure that we are creating spaces where students feel the sense of acceptance without having to be masked. There is a clear desire in our students to be involved in something bigger than themselves and we need to be innovative as teachers and create ways for them to engage in that in the classroom. As I watched the video I couldn’t stop thinking about the craze of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and how many people I knew that participated in that phenomena. If we as educators can get our students engaging in a larger context (whether that is on a school, provincial, national, or even global scale) through their learning then students will buy into their learning much more and then more authentic learning will occur. It will be important to present classroom sand schools not as vacant buildings to be filled by the students but as rich learning communities that they can take part in as we move forward in the digital age of teaching.

If you are interested in checking out the video the link is listed below:

People Do this for Fun?? My Thoughts on EdChats

This week we were asked to participate in an EdChat using TweetDeck. All week long I was dreading having to do this because I felt as though I had little to nothing to offer. I am a 4th year student who has had all of four months of full-time teaching experience and so I wondered what on earth I could possibly contribute to the conversation. But as much as I was dreading it at the start I was floored by the richness of knowledge the other people in the chat had to offer.

I participated in the #2ndaryELA  edchat this evening and I think there were about 12 participants in total. While that may sound small I was thankful that the group was so small because it meant that you could actually follow along with the conversation and read everyone’s responses to the questions. Earlier in the evening, I lurked on the main #edchat feed and I was so overwhelmed. I would read a tweet and by the time I came to the end of it 468 375 958 more tweets had already popped up and the topic of conversation had changed. Another thing I did not enjoy about the #edchat was that a lot of people seemed to just be tweeting random education-related stuff but there was no actual conversation going on. I would definitely recommend finding a smaller chat to partake in because then you can actually read what everyone is saying and you actually feel heard as well.

While it was a great experience, I am amazed that people schedule these things into their day for fun. There is value in hearing different perspectives though and the resource sharing was awesome. On a technical note, I wish that you could be more selective about who sees your responses to the chats as opposed to it being blanket tweets that everyone that follows you can see. It would be nice to be able to filter who sees your responses and who doesn’t. Or if your profile tweeted once to say “Sally is participating in an #edchat. Click here to see his/her contributions”.

I loved using the chat to gain some new resources and perspectives but I’m not sure it is something that I will engage with on a regular basis. But I definitely recommend trying it.