Luke, use the force.. er, I mean the privilege of education

In our daily consumption of mainstream and social media, we can find blatant examples of privilege – white, class, gender, and so on. We also hear about the importance of education, and that it is one of the 14 social determinants of health. However, it was a quiet conversation this weekend that has me reflecting on my own privilege of education.

After recently writing a University mid-term exam paper, I ran into a few classmates and the talk naturally turned towards how we did on the exam. I shared that I had done well, but I knew I could have done better. After a few minutes of conversation, it was clear that I had done much better than they had.

I have thought about my own privilege, and yes, there are the obvious examples; I am white and middle class, with all the advantages they bring. But this conversation got me thinking about the actual effect that these privileges have on my successes in education.

I had never really given much thought to education and what it means to come from a family of educated people that prioritize education. But I can recognize that I have skills that continue to make me successful in the Canadian school system. Here are three contributing factors to my academic success:

  1. First and foremost, I know how to write well. Do I have a natural affinity for language? Well, if finding a typo in a billboard while driving 100 km/h down the road is any indication, then yes. I memorize letter and language patterns and enjoy playing with them. But my family enjoyed language, modeled it for me, taught me and celebrated my written work. My grandfather would dictate letters to me and I would type them. He knew how to write, as did my grandmother, my mother, my father, and my extended family.
  2. Secondly, I know how to think critically. This is a complex set of skills, but in a nutshell, this means I can read a question, research ideas, points of view and information, and be confident in sharing my own conclusions about the topic. To learn more, here is an article that explains critical thinking. But more than this, I feel justified in speaking up because I believe my opinion is valuable and has merit. I have been taught this since I was small, and have never known any different.critical_thinking
  3. Lastly, I know how to manage my time effectively in an exam. I strategize. In writing this exam, I saw the first question was worth 60% and the 2nd question was worth 40%. Therefore I divided my time accordingly. I also broke down the process in steps; choosing to first read the articles, find the quotes that I felt would be most significant in my essay, and write them down. Finally, I wrote the essay based on that structure of ideas that I had already created.

My own focus during the exam had been on the quality of my answers. I do care more about my growth and understanding. However, it was obvious afterward and during this conversation that it was about the grades. And I felt bad for having shared my mark.

We often learn more from mistakes than when we get things right. As I unearth my own privilege and biases, it is more uncomfortable to make these mistakes than when I was ignorant. Much like a snake sheds a skin that it has outgrown, being comfortable with being uncomfortable makes room for real growth. Learning from these mistakes is worth more to me than any mark.

So how about you? How has the value your family places (or not) on education impacted your own success in the school system? In life?

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Reconcilation is… giving a voice to ALL Canadians

This past June,  I had the honour of volunteering at the inaugural event – a graduation Pow Wow at the First Nations University. Some schools were represented in great numbers, others only had a few graduates. Regardless of numbers, they all had reason to be proud of their accomplishments. As I made sure that every school represented had their banner, it was wonderful to witness the pride of the graduates as they were announced by the MC.

Afterwards, myself and the other UR S.T.A.R.S. volunteers manned activity stations for children inside the University. There were many children that participated, and it was packed! Many more adults and teenagers sat a nearby tables, mostly talking in small groups. We had lots of colouring pages available for younger children, and I thought, “Why should the kids have all the fun?” This is exactly what I said to everyone as I circulated and offered the colouring pages to families and friends, grandparents and graduates alike.

It was a joyful day, and sometimes we laughed together. Other times we discussed “To me, reconciliation is…”, as they completed the thought. As one woman wrote, “reconcilation is getting together and having respect.” For me, that’s what this experience allowed us to do, and we need more of this! We should all provide a safe place to hear our FNMI voices in Canada.

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This Pow Wow was an important celebration of success and achievement, one that needs to spread exponentially across the country – with more graduates and more ceremonies. Respecting these traditions and restoring the balance of voice and presence of our FNMI in Canada is a necessary step in moving towards full reconciliation.

As we head into a new school year, I will strive to celebrate Canada’s diversity, honour our First Peoples, and foster empathy and understanding in my students.  If you have any experiences, stories, or suggestions, please share them below!

 

You can read the full article of this event, with my photo credit, here: Treaty Four grads celebrate at powwow | Communications and Marketing, University of Regina

Bye bye, Karaoke!

I couldn’t leave my #learningproject behind without a final reflection. Although I blogged about my overall experience in the Spring #ecmp355 course, as well as the process involved in my final Summary of Learning project, I felt that my actual learning of the guitar wasn’t covered adequately in either of those posts.

After all, my first video sounded like this:

I could barely strum a chord, could I?

And so to fill you in on my growth, I will review a few of the favorite resources that I used:

  1. http://www.Chordie.com: this is a great site which allows musicians to save their favorite songs to “My Songbook”. Even better, you can change the key, so that if the song was submitted in a key that is too low or difficult to play, it can be transposed to any other key. All my songs are saved in my preferred keys, and I can pull them up digitally or print them off. The downsides of this site are that a) Occasionally there are songs from other sites that cannot be transposed, and b) Sometimes the people that create the chords aren’t correct, and you may not agree with what is posted. There is a way to suggest edits, but I haven’t dove into that yet. Overall, this is a great site to use.
  2. http://www.andyguitar.co.uk: This was a great site that offered new guitar learners easy lessons that were simple to follow. Andy also provides a great variety of tunes to practice and learn. I really enjoyed this site!
  3. I do want to warn about some YouTube lessons. Not all instructional videos are created equal. If the video is going too fast for your current level, move on.

Lastly, and this applies to any site, or with any songbook: just because someone rates a song as “easy beginner” does not mean it is going to be easy, or is even FOR a beginner. “Easy” is relative, and an “Easy” Beetles song may actually take a lot of work and contain chord changes that are not easy. Know what you can play, and look through the songs, especially before spending money.

By comparison to those early beginnings, I wanted to offer you a sense of my improvement. My newest video was so focused on the singing, lyrics and video, that the guitar playing was a bit lost in the shuffle. Nonetheless, here is a behind the scenes look at the playing behind the video:

And just for fun, here is a final rendition of Brown Eyed Girl. I can’t think of a better baseline comparision, since I started with this song:

My strumming isn’t great, since everyone in my household had gone to bed, and I was trying to play quietly and not belting it out like my usual self. However, I think it demonstrates that I now feel more comfortable changing chords.

And do you know what that means?? Bye bye Karaoke, hello guitar! If you have a song that you think I should add to my playlist, please comment below!

 

 

 

Connecting to learn, learning to connect

#ECMP355 Technology in the Classroom was my very first experience in a modern online course, which perhaps is why I was so impressed with the overall course delivery. I am grateful to have shared the experience of this rich course content with a wonderfully diverse, inquisitive group of fellow pre-service teachers.

I had worried that I wouldn’t find an online course as interactive as a classroom IRL. I love connecting with others, hearing what they have to say, discussing different points of view. Being a bit of a gabber, my own class participation helps me to process my views on the subject material and remember content. For me, connecting through Zoom and chatting was just as interactive as an in-person class.

For my final post for ECMP355, I have reflected on the question, “How have you contributed to the learning of others?” Although I don’t think I can take credit for the learning of others, I hope that my own worldview helped my classmates to see things in a different perspective, just as theirs did for me. There are a few ways that I did this:

 

TWITTER: I really enjoy using Twitter to support my PLN. My tweets are supportive, sharing resources and news stories, and

Examples of support and encouragement for classmates’ work, learning projects, and posts:

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I also use Twitter to share ideas, news stories or resources that my classmates or PLN will appreciate. Some shared below were related to #learningprojects, topics we covered in class or pedagogical ideologies.

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My interactions on Google+ was more limited, but did consist of offering helpful replies to questions or comments by my classmates. Here are some of my contributions:

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Blogging, and reading the blogs of others, has become one of my creative spaces. I found my own reflections often took me to places I didn’t realize I was going, and I find it just as interesting to see where others’ journeys take them.

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Lastly, I applied all that I had read, heard and learned about my peers to my Summary of Learning. This process really made me appreciate their growth, and I am pleased to have them all in my PLN. To my #ecmp355 classmates; so long, stay in touch, and keep growing and sharing #edtech!

7 weeks and 13 classes in 3:46

For my summary of learning, I wanted to demonstrate not only my learning from the course, but my #learningproject as well. I watched some other past projects that had parodied songs, and I came up with the idea to use my newly developed skill of playing the guitar, rewrite the lyrics and perform a song to summarize our learning.  I chose “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel because 1) it is a favorite of mine, 2) it was already in my Chordie.com list of songs that I had been practicing, and 3) although not a melodic masterpiece, it continues to stand the test of time with numerous parodies, covers, derivations and takeoffs.

As I started writing about the different technologies and concepts that we had covered in class, various lessons and experiences came to mind. It occurred to me that our individual journeys through the course had been just as varied as our backgrounds! I considered our special edition #saskedchat, and reflected that how we each felt about the experience had ranged from comfortable to cautious to chaotic! In reality, specific aspects of the course had offered a steeper learning curve to particular students. But, our class had created a supportive learning environment for everyone. That was the purpose in “contributing to the learning of others” and I realized that it was the effort I put into my online interactions that had led me to acloser understanding of some of my fellow classmates and their #edtech journeys.

I set about writing my lyrics; concepts, technologies and ideas pummelling the screen from my keyboard. There were so many that I had to decide what was most important, how to group them, and make them rhyme!  And as these ideas flooded out, they reminded me of different classmates. I had a brainstorm and sent a quick message to McKaila:

McKaila

I once told my daughter that I really knew around 95% of the students in my Middle Years cohort. When she asked me, “What about the other 5%?” I became determined to get to know them too. It was the same with this project. I realized that it wasn’t enough to just randomly match a person to a idea, I wanted to choose something that was meaningful to that person.

I asked another classmate for a selfie, and then another. I thought of Val, and her frustrations with YouTube when uploading her videos. I remembered Brayden and his love of the Zoom Breakout rooms.  In typical “Amie” style, it became obvious that if I wanted to showcase my classmates, I would have to include them all.

So what started out as a quick video compilation turned into a long, interesting, insightful exploration into the blogs, tweets, comments and reflections of all of my classmates! I wanted to really listen/read/understand their struggles and accomplishments.  My goal was to try to capture and honour their learnings, but in the process I found myself responding to their inspirations, struggles and successes.

As my lyrics developed, I couldn’t stop there. I reached out to our guest speakers, to honour and include those who had made our class meaningful and relevant. I approached my PLN, taking to heart the idea that in life-long learning, we are both students and teachers.

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Believe it or not, all that I’ve mentioned so far was the easy part! Having never created this type of project before, I settled on Windows Movie Maker 2012. Although a steep learning curve, I found it was easy to use. While I awaited content from my peers, I borrowed a Capo from Kendra Leier and recorded my song using Zoom. Billy Joel once said, “It’s a nightmare to perform live, because if I miss one word, it’s a train wreck.” Considering his comment, I don’t feel so bad that I wasn’t able to record my version straight through. Adding all the pictures, changing the timing, and adding/merging 8 different music clips successfully all proved to be challenging tasks on their own. If I had to do one thing over, I would include subtitles because some of the lyrics aren’t as clear as I would like. However, at the end of the day, I am satisfied that it is a respectable compilation of our #ecmp355 learning experience.

So what will I take away from this experience for my future as a teacher?

  1. A big part of who I am is about making connections. Until this project, I don’t think I realised just how important it is to me to understand those around me. My favorite part was digging into my classmates’ reflections and trying to identify something that would have meaning for each of my peers. I hope I succeeded.
  2. I will definitely use Movie Maker again. I will also be looking for creative ways to incorporate technology into Grade 6, 7 and 8 Arts Ed projects in the fall. If you have ideas or lesson plans, I would love to hear them!
  3. Learning the guitar was a process! I started out very frustrated, and really thought I wouldn’t be able to reach my goals. However, I was determined, and I have developed the callouses to prove it! Learning a new skill as I head into internship is a valuable reminder of what it feels like to struggle. I will remember to treat my own students with empathy and encouragement, especially when they are learning new skills.

Finally, I am so glad that I decided to learn how to play the guitar! I set out to learn for both professional and personal reasons, and it paid off. I have improved significantly, and I know enough chords to accompany myself and others. I have found online apps like Chordie that will change the key to G or D, something easier for me to play.  Most of all, it gives me a creative outlet to express myself, which is perhaps the greatest reward of all.

HELLO {digital} WORLD!

When I was in grade 7, our Math class had one computer in the corner of the room. It mostly collected dust, but a few times a year the students would have a turn “coding” – going through a progression of instructional cards that would “teach” us how to make the computer do things. BASIC was a good word for it, because it was so directed and specific, it wasn’t even fun! Honestly, it felt like a foreign language. But, I would take my turn, follow the directions, and couldn’t care less when I successfully produced “Hello World” or this one below… (do you get it?)

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Photo Credit: nichestitch via Compfight cc

Once the digital age exploded in the 90’s and 2000’s, I was actually good at coding. In 1995 my employer asked me if I could recreate a job search app using Microsoft Access 2.0 – by copying the database architecture of a similar DOS-based program. Through lots of trial and error, I did it! In later jobs, I continued to be “computer-savvy”, and I eventually learned HTML, CSS and SQL, along with hardware, many more software programs (apps) and networking. People used to ask me how a university degree in Music had led me to be in the IT field, to which I replied that Music is very logical and mathematical. In fact, over 2000 years ago music was known as one of the areas of Science. The fascination with music and its affect on our world is still alive today:

 

So why do I digress into music, when I started by discussing coding?

I recently read the article This is Why Kids Need to Learn How to Code, and the author concludes that teaching coding develops problem solving, (digital) confidence and understanding the impact any of us can have on the world. I would speculate that developing these skills has always been important, and that they are simply repurposed skills which have evolved into the digital framework that we now need them to function within. The benefits of learning an instrument, which used to be so important in school, is perhaps evolving into coding.

Now, I may get some backlash supporting the continuation of music programs. I absolutely appreciate music and believe that it, like learning an additional language, develops different, important parts of the brain. We do need these subjects in schools. Perhaps a better way to frame my proposal is that the connections between music, languages, science and coding, offer a variety of cross-curricular opportunities that can enhance learning for students.

The benefit of coding is that students love it! There are a variety of apps available that allow for exploratory, differentiated learning that can engage everyone in the classroom. I have used Hour of Code before, so today I played around with Scratch, and found the  interface, although complex, has tutorials to help students learn how to navigate the program and their code. At the same time, it is possible to just play around and discover on your own, while building on the skills that you do have.

Staying on my music theme, I started with an alternating drumbeat on counts 1 and 3 for 8 beats. Then I selected Singer1, recorded my voice singing C, D, and E notes, and assigned them to the computer keys 1, 2, and 3. Then I threw in a backup choir singing a G note, a cowbell and if I didn’t have a lawn to mow, I could have kept going! The tutorial was interactive and gave me tips that I needed as I progressed. This definitely would appeal to the creative student, while organically teaching them coding at their own rate.

Scratch screenshot

Although this is a far cry from my first “Hello World” program, much of the logic is the same. Teaching our students to code using programs like these, in whichever capacity engages them, can develop the transferable skills they will need to confidently problem solve in the evolving digital world.

The elephant in the room plays the guitar

So I wanted to give everyone an update on my #learningproject. You may have seen my last rendition of Brown Eyed Girl, recommended as an easy campfire song, courtesy of this site. I have still been practicing that one, so here’s a little update – with traditional chord fingerings, which is tricky with the C major chord:

 

Now you may be wondering, “where is the new material?” After my last post, I sent out a tweet to poll the Twitterverse as to what song I should learn next.  I was pretty excited that the winner was “Sweet Home, Alabama” by Lynard Skynard. It was listed as an easy Campfire song, however, when I went online to learn how to play it, this was the video I pulled up.

Frankly, as soon as I heard the picking, I thought, “what the heck did I get myself into!” Now, this video focused on the strumming, but to be honest, I was really overwhelmed by the speed of this video and after 20 minutes of struggling through this, and only kind of getting the strumming down, I totally bailed on this song (and hoped that no one would remember my poll!)

I went back to practicing other songs that I had been working on – mostly by the Beatles: I Want to Hold your Hand, Yellow Submarine, Let it Be and Hey Jude. It was pretty rough at first, but here’s a video of how it sounds now.

Since I was still struggling with some of my transitions, I decided to google “easy guitar chords youtube”. Much to my delight, I found Andy Guitar! Not only did he solve my transition issues, but he had a tutorial for Sweet Home Alabama! The elephant was still in the room, and he was playing a guitar! After a few minutes working through this video, I knew I would be able to tackle this song!

 

So here is my attempt, after only 1 day of practice!

So, granted, I was still super rusty, but I felt like Andy’s chord transition would help me with so many songs! I was pumped to be back on track and dying to see if it would help with my Brown Eyed Girl transitions. Here’s how it sounded, what do you think?

My next goals are to keep improving my transitions, and also finger placement. Andy has a tutorial about sore fingers caused by poor positioning, so I want to work on being more comfortable while playing.

I am building up a repertoire of songs that I practice, and I plan to keep Sweet Home Alabama in that rotation. I’m glad that I didn’t give up on it, even when it seemed impossible. Sometimes coming at things from a different angle is all that’s needed to get back on track.

Not my closet, not my skeleton!

 

It wasn’t that long ago that a whole lot of digging around was needed to find out if someone important had any ‘skeletons in the closet’. Turn on the news today, and you are guaranteed to read a story about someone getting caught making a mistake. Not only that, it is likely the proof will be uploaded, the story will have gone viral, and a stream of comments, judgments, and defamation of character will quickly flood the internet. And if the incident really picks up speed, memes and mashups may follow as people join into the fame-feeding frenzy. Sometimes our self-importance seems to be attached to making a witty, engaging comment on the shame of others. But who are any of us to throw stones, especially when they are now able to skip across states and provinces, building ripples nation-wide and beyond our borders. One little fish can be thrown into the spotlight and swallowed up very quickly in our now-global pond.

This week, I watched “The Price of Shame“, a TedTalk by Monica Lewinsky. I remember watching the case in 1998 – which involved an incredibly public shaming of her character, including an inquiry which forced her to relive her dialog and actions during an unfortunate, but not unheard of, lapse in judgement – falling in love with her boss. It wasn’t the affair, but rather the public shaming afterwards that almost killed her. As she herself says, how many of us haven’t made a bad decision when we were 22?

These days, the problem is that any of our mistakes MAY be caught on “tape”, recorded and distributed in a heartbeat. Monica’s mistake happened long before social media exploded. Now there are many examples of people whose ill-timed errors got them humiliated, bullied, ostracized or fired. And without the support systems which Monica credits her life with, many people do not make it through the dark times of these ordeals alive.

{Insert scandal of the day here}

I was going to cite a recent scandal as evidence of this, and not surprisingly, there were many to choose from this week in Canada alone.  But the fact is, I don’t need or want to air anyone’s dirty laundry. I, for one, am going to leave some of those skeletons in the closet.

So the next time we see someone struggling or even making errors in judgement let’s ask; Have I walked in their shoes? What might that person be going through? What can I do to help?

I think it’s time to rephrase the old polish adage, “Not my circus, not my monkey”, which means “not my problem.” The current culture of shaming isn’t my problem, it belongs to ALL OF US. Let’s start spreading a culture of support by

  1. saying, “Not my closet, not my skeleton“, and
  2. reaching out to lift people up, rather than take a snapshot to publicize their lows

Photo Credit: Mr_Camera71 via Compfight cc

So, tell my what you think! Do you agree with the need to fight public shaming? Do you feel a sense of responsibility? How can we help change our culture of shaming?

From Barbie Girl to Booty Call

As I watched the CBC documentary,”Sexted Up Kids“, I wasn’t really surprised. I’ve lived through my own daughters growing up in the last 20 years and have seen changes in young girls evolving first hand. I remember feeling a little uncomfortable when the song Barbie Girl by Aqua came out in 1997 and 4-7 year old girls were dancing and singing to this song.

Full lyrics here: Aqua – Barbie Girl Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Hearing little girls sing the lyrics, “You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere” and “Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky” was more than a little unnerving! However, I think most parents shrugged it off by reasoning, “they don’t understand the meaning of the lyrics, so what’s the harm?” After all, many of us had given our own parents a similar argument for listening to controversial lyrics in the 80’s (for example, by Metal Bands like  Motley Crue). Just because we sang the words, it didn’t mean we agreed with the message or professed to do those acts!  So I see this acceptance of messages like “Barbie Girl” as the beginning of the KAGOY factor in marketing. The slippery slope of “age-appropriateness” changed the offline culture of pre-adolescent girls and set the stage for an troublesome collision with the soon-to-evolve online public presence.

Amira’s blog on this same documentary (and the Amanda Todd story), also highlights the increasingly blurred lines between our public and private lives. If you have never known any difference, it is easy to accept without question that this is the world we live in, but from my perspective, there are a few subtle, and not so subtle, changes. Consider some of the societal changes over the years caused by the evolution of technology:

  • In the 70’s, we had a rotary dial home phone, with no call display, and no call waiting. If you wanted to reach someone on the phone, you had to keep calling back every 10-20 minutes to see if the line was free. Now, cell phones allow us to be available 24/7 and with texting and messaging apps, we are expected to be always connected. Kids are programmed to be online, all the time. We used to say to wait a day before you mailed a letter, just in case you might regret it. Now comments are posted instantaneously. Patience and wait-time is disappearing.
  • Technology makes it super easy to share information – with the explosion of information on the web, we are now accustomed to sharing both the mundane along with the relevant. Everything is important enough to post! Pictures of meals, duck faces and dressing room outfits need validation through likes and comments to justify self-worth. Thoughtful consideration of what is shared online isn’t always evident.

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  • Porn used to be restricted to a couple of scrambled channels on our cable box. Most of the time the channel would be completely unwatchable and annoying, but occasionally we were ‘rewarded’ with a little peek of something remotely identifiable. Now there is a plethora of stimulation available online. I know many kids are playing M rated games with high sexual content as well as violence and profanity. It’s not just girls that are impacted by the KAGOY factor – boys are exposed to these messages, too. This is what I probably fear the most when I think about my own kids or my students navigating the internet.

 Photo Credit: Do u remember via Compfight cc

So how do we help students navigate and take ownership of this online world? As a teacher, I feel it’s important to talk and provide resources that are student-friendly. Here are some ideas:

  • Teach online and digital citizenship, including ethics and etiquette. Common Sense Media has an activity called Trillion Dollar Footprint, in which “students learn that they have a digital footprint, which can be searched, shared, and seen by a large, invisible audience. Students then learn that they can take some control over their digital footprint based on what they post online.”
  • Discuss how”online is forever.” Share various dilemmas and scenarios with students and give them the opportunity to brainstorm possible responses. This can give them some strategies for making responsible choices. One possible resource is Top Secret – a game by MediaSmarts.ca that teaches “students about the benefits and drawbacks of sharing information online.” This site has lesson plans on topics for all of the above issues and more!
  • Talk with students about relationships online. That’s Not Cool uses teen-friendly language to discuss cyber relationship do’s and don’ts and provide tools for teens, who can take a quiz on what’s Cool or Not Cool, and download memes to respond to online issues.

Finally, I recommend the blog https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting since a few of the resources above are listed, but there are many more ideas discussed there, including this Sexting Handbook. I know many of my #ECMP355 classmates were rightfully disturbed by these videos this week, and the best ammunition against fear is knowledge. All of us will be more equipped to discuss these issues in the classroom if we have resources at our fingertips!

So what do you think of the evolution from Barbie Girl to Booty Call? Do you have other tools and resources that you have used in the classroom? If so, please share them in the comments below!

When to say no to Twitter, in 140 chars or less

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Photo Credit: East Georgia State College via Compfight cc

So despite being a tech-friendly individual, I decided to consider the position of why, as a teacher, I would NOT use Twitter in my classroom. For another opposing view, head over to Amira’s blog. For a pro-Twitter point of view, you can read Fadzai’s blog.

First off, I will start by saying that to emphasize my 6 points, I have made them all 140 characters or less. I figure that if I cannot make a strong enough argument with this restriction, perhaps that will also support my position:

  1. Twitter reinforces bad grammar and spelling habits. They R vital 2 learn, & if Ss R trying to be brief, these skills go out the window.
  2. Face to face time is essential for Ss to learn communication, eye contact/body lang & conflict res. Offline skills impact online skills.
  3. Distractibility & multitasking are on the rise. Many Ss are unable to single task. Teaching singular focus is critical to productivity.
  4. Twitter can be hard to follow. Ss with different learning styles may find it frustrating or difficult.
  5. Some Ss may find Twitter is a popularity contest; focus on likes, retweets and replies. Can create divides, exclusion, or bullying of Ss.
  6. My 14 yo says Twitter (like Facebook) is old news. She doesn’t tweet. She uses Instagram, Snapchat, etc. So why force this tech on Ss?

So there you have it. While I am pro-technology, I am really thinking deeply about what makes a technology both relevant and purposeful. Surely the tech world is changing daily and there are bigger and brighter apps than Twitter on the horizon. If students are not using Twitter themselves anymore, why use it in the classroom?

The tech we introduce in the classroom cannot simply be an app we like, or “the flavour of the month”. This cannot be reason enough to use it. As a teacher, I wonder if there are other apps, or (gasp!) manipulatives, experiments and games that are better suited and engaging for teaching students. So while I started out this assignment as a Twitter supporter playing devil’s advocate, I actually have convinced myself that there are many other resources I prefer over Twitter. As much as I like it personally and professionally, my students’ learning needs must be at the centre of my teaching.

I look forward to reading my classmates’ responses to this blog. If you have any apps, games, experiments, or manipulatives that you wouldn’t teach without, please share them below!