Using Twitter to enhance student learning is full of pitfalls, excitement, and learning opportunities.
My first major school project where students used Twitter was with my Grade 12 Management class to organize and promote a Leadership and Technology Conference. The project was an experiential learning project to learn the art, science, and practice of management. Many of the ideas on how to use Twitter for the conference were learned in collaboration with fellow business teacher, @LadyFitzee.
To begin, the class had to create a conference Twitter account (@stltconference) and a conference hashtag (#pcstlt). Students were then encouraged (explicit criteria on instructional rubric) to tweet promotional and educational information prior to and at the conference. During the conference, we had a separate computer and screen display the Twitter conversation using Tweetdeck. In conclusion, the Conference "story" was created using Storify.
Like any class project, many things went awry, some things were great, and I would do many things differently the next time! Here are eight ideas and tips that might be considered to improve the learning experience.
“Stir It Up” – Learning with Gill
Why Blog? I have been procrastinating about Blogging ever since I asked my students to start their own Blogs in 2010. My interest in Blogging started while preparing to teach a Marketing class and a good neighbor, Patrick Thoburn from Matchstick, suggested I read Mitch Joel’s “Six Pixels of Separation”. The following semester, my Business and Learning Strategies class students followed the book’s recipe to enter the Blogosphere. They started following blogs in a field of interest they were passionate about similar to Sir Ken Robinson’s idea and book, “The Element”. Next, they wrote a summary about one of their favorite Posts including writing an interesting comment. Finally, the students wrote a Blog proposal and then started Blogging. Meanwhile, I procrastinated.
Why 21st Century Learning? Fast forward a few years and I continued to explore various 21st Century technological tools to improve student learning and motivation. Now, all of my courses include class Wikis to allow students to collaborate in experiential team projects, and students are creating Digital Portfolios. Last semester, I embedded Twitter on my class Blog / Website and created some Flipped Classroom videos, such as Wiki Work with Gill. Yet, still no Learning with Gill, although I did save the domain name!
Why “Stir It Up”? This year, I had the opportunity to attend some professional (#ecoo13) and student (#PowerUpPeel) conferences on “21st Century Learning. I met many educators who have been stirring it up in their classes by trying new teaching strategies to motivate students. They are also sharing their experiences on, you guessed it, Blogs. However, still no Learning with Gill. I finally had my epiphany while reading the “Principal Of Change” Blog by the Principal, George Couros and loved the title. That was it, the final stumbling block solved! I, too needed a creative Blog title and Stir It Up came to mind. It combines my love of music, fighting for social justice and what is right, and my desire for disruptive innovation, a concept coined by author Clayton Christensen.
Why “Learning with Gill”? It is what we do in education. Continuous challenges, strategizing, experimentation, failures, successes, reflection, iteration (@jcasap), collaboration and finally, learning. No more procrastination – Stir It Up!
I am a Business and Learning Strategies teacher at Port Credit Secondary School. Member of OSSTF Branch Executive and Communications and Education Services Committees. I also coach Basketball and Badminton and support the Chess and Grade 9 Boys Club.