In last week’s post we were talking about the HSE Best Practice Model. There are many ways we can help our students be successful in the 21st century. Our digital world, while not the only solution, is one of the keys that can help unlock the door to that success. As an example, I’d like to share something that happened to me last spring. I was reading a book and the author made reference to a spreadsheet that she used to track data on students. While in theory I could guess what it probably looked like, I was having a hard time visualizing it. I flipped to the appendix hoping to find a version, but no luck. After rereading the passage I still had questions. I decided to look on Twitter to see if the author had an account. Sure enough, she did. I sent a tweet to her, and in a couple minutes she responded. Through a direct message I sent her my email address, and 10 minutes later I had a screen shot of the exact spreadsheet.
Who are the people you’d like to ask questions? In a less connected world, you might have been able to track down a mailing address, send a letter, and hope for a response in a couple of weeks. Today through the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other digital services, we can connect immediately. As teachers, we can leverage those connections into ways to help our students interact with the larger world. Your class is learning about space science? Have them compose a tweet to NASA or an astronaut (think about Scott Kelly on who is currently involved in the Year in Space Mission). Did your students have a question about a book? Try tweeting the author, or have your students share their reactions via your twitter account.
Personally, I look at Twitter as less of a social media site, and more at a Personal Learning Network. I have connections to resources who share their ideas, and I can communicate back and forth with them. And the best part of all of it? I can do this anytime that works for me! I don’t have to rely on anyone else’s timeframe to guide my learning.
How many of you use social media for the purpose of learning? What sites have you found successful? If you’re on Twitter, share your username so that we can follow you.