Thoughts on Twitter

Today I read a post by Pernille Ripp explaining why she unfollowed everyone on her Twitter account. You can find it here.

To be honest, I haven’t been on Twitter as much as I probably should be. And I think a big part of that is the superficial engagement she talks about. We see something we like – we follow without a second thought.

How many people on Twitter do we actually engage with regularly? How many of the people we follow have we actually taken the time to engage with more than a simple ‘like’ or retweet?

I think part of the problem is that we are trying to make up for the fact that Twitter is such a brief platform (with only 140 characters allowed) by being sneaky. We post elsewhere and provide links to content 10,000 times the size. We make use of URL shorteners to squeeze more content in. So we as consumers are forced to spend at least 2-3 mins per tweet with the linked content if we are to truly engage with the content available to us.

Some might argue that is the point. We follow others to have content streamed to our feed that we want to see. Or is it? Isn’t Twitter meant to be a communication channel? Or perhaps that is our choice.

Treat it as your NewsFeed, or your own personal broadcaster, or as a way to chat and build relationships with people all over the world who you otherwise would never have met. That is the beauty of it I suppose – it is what you make of it.

As for me, I think I need to go through my ever expanding ‘following’ list and make sure I am making the best use of the platform at my fingertips.

Maths Presentations

This semester we are doing ‘class-based assessment’ as one of our tasks with the junior classes (Year 8 – 10). Basically, they were given either an equation to solve or a simple interest problem and they had overnight to prepare. It was one lesson out from their test (on those topics) so it doubled as a revision task. I didn’t make the questions too difficult and I told the girls that in order to get an A or a B, the explanation they gave to the class would be what would get them over the line.

At first I was worried I made the task too easy, as all the kids seemed to be doing well (including the weaker ones). But I had allocated the questions specifically to ensure they all experienced an element of success, and even if they all did well I don’t mind because they would at least do well on their type of question on the test. So all good.

And it wasn’t perfect – but some were truly outstanding, including checking their answers by substitution (finally they are listening!!)

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Digital Survival

Stumbled on a fantastic resource on digital citizenship – very practical approach to use in my classroom next year!

edtechdigest.com

Addressing digital citizenship with the “Digital Citizenship Survival Kit”. 

GUEST COLUMN | by Craig Badura

Badura kitIt’s a simple little prop I use when teaching Digital Citizenship to our pK-12 Aurora Huskies students, but I think it sends a powerful message. I love utilizing props to try to get my point across to students and thought that creating a kit full of props would be a great way to reinforce a very important topic in our schools. Let me introduce you to Mr. Badura’s “Digital Citizenship Survival Kit.”  Each of the items has a purpose and I go through each item with students when teaching. Below are the items I have in my “Digital Citizenship Survival Kit” and what each item represents. I encourage you to copy, modify my kit and create your own kit when addressing the issue of Digital Citizenship with your students!

Padlock. The padlock is to remind…

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Best Present for a Teacher EVER!!!

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I always knew I had the most fabulous students ever, but when I got the following from one of my students, I was completely blown away. Make sure to read the spelling of ‘beliebing’ lol

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I am the eternal cat lady – pictures of my cats have been known to find their way into my slides…

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This one is for the day I completely fainted from heat exhaustion before 9:30am – luckily my fabulous students more more than keen to try out their first aid qualifications!

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I am still blown away by these gifts. Most thoughtful gift ever, I think!

Probability problem of the day

Fantastic probability problem – as told by a genius colleague!

100 patient people are standing in line waiting to get on a plane. All of them have their tickets – except the first person, who has left theirs at home. They board the plane in the order in which they have lined up.

The first person boards the plane, and since they don’t know which seat is theirs, they choose any seat. There are exactly 100 seats, so they have a 1/100 chance of getting their own seat.

The next person boards the plane, and if the first person is sitting in their seat, they randomly choose another seat. The person after that boards the plane, and if their seat is already taken, they also choose another seat.

When the final person boards the plane, what is the probability that they will be sitting in their own seat as assigned to them on their ticket?

Think about it…then give it to your maths classes!

Red Tape – Technology in Teaching

I am working on creating an assignment for one of my maths classes. It’s pretty good, even if I did find the initial idea for it on the internet. My issue is – I think it would work really well as an interactive website, but the amount of red tape I would have to go through to make that happen – in a school that says they are forward thinking with technology – is just not worth the struggle. I think I’m going to have to go back to the trusty pen and paper for this one.

Someone told me a few months ago was that the online world and the ‘real’ world are not seperate – they are in fact one and the same. If this is the case, then we should really be breaking down the barriers to functioning in an online space, whether it be as a business, a professional, a school, or a student. The earlier that kids learn how to safely function online the better, as that is the world that they will be living in when they graduate. If they are prevented from interacting online in a supportive environment throughout their schooling years, what are they going to do when they are suddenly in the ‘real world?’

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As for me and my assignment, I’ve decided to go with pen and paper for the time being. I have suggested to my colleagues that we work towards having an interactive space in the future where students are able to collaborate both with their teachers and each other online, however the amount of paperwork and meetings and permission and red tape that would be involved for that to happen at the moment is just too much.

We know we are going through an educational revolution. We are no longer churning out industrial workers, and because of this, chairs and tables in rows and the teacher at the front of the room isn’t going to cut it anymore. If we are trying to make big changes to the way education is taught and the way schools function, we can’t just wave a magic wand and let it happen overnight. Big change requires time, as well as a shift in culture and in attitudes.

The content and way the material is presented is already a shift – I am trying to encourage my students to apply their knowledge and thinking to real world situations, and to integrate their knowledge over a number of curriculum areas. This will already be a big shift for them. Remember, students expect school to be the same as the way their parents have experienced it, and vice versa. The same applies to teachers too – but that is a subject for another day.

Baby steps.