Monthly Archives: September 2015

Tweet, Tweet!

Twitter. I STILL don’t get it, but I’m going to give it yet another try ūüėČ

I literally JUST logged in to my Twitter account that I created last year. I first “tweeted” on November 16 and 17, 2014, and then that was the end of my tweets…until now.

I first learned about Twitter (and TweetDeck) back in 2012 at a summer workshop hosted by EdTechTEacher, which was AMAZING, and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for further learning opportunities related to educational technology. I was recently reintroduced to Twitter in this course via this video made by Jeff Utecht. I have to admit. Upon logging back into my Twitter account, I am still feeling a little bit lost and nervous to start tweeting again (not that I even tweeted that extensively before!). On the Twitter website, they claim,

“Twitter is your window to the world.”

WHAT? Currently, I have 5 tweets and 2 followers, which sounds pretty lame. All but the most recent one of my tweets came from a professional learning conference held at our school last year where we were strongly encouraged to tweet about what we were learning during the conference. And the 2 followers, well, they are other teachers at my school.

I know my Twitter name (is that what it’s called?) is @PamelaRampley. I also know that I definitely need an avatar, and I need to start tweeting! Maybe I should start “following” some fellow tweeters, but who? Any suggestions?¬†As I am trying (very hard!) to wrap my head around Twitter, I wondered what people typically use Twitter for, and I came across this charming, yet educational, video:

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What do YOU use Twitter for? Can or should it be personal? Professional? Or both? Does it have a place in our classrooms? I can honestly say that I think Twitter has some potential, but I still need to figure¬†it out. I need to do a bit more “messing around” with it. Do you have any tips for those of us just getting into this Twitter thing?

I warmly welcome your comments below.

#tweetalittletweet ūüôā

Doodling With A Purpose

Doodling? In the classroom?

When my students are reluctant to try something, I ask them, “Who wants to be a risk-taker?” And then, I usually get some takers ūüôā I was DEFINITELY¬†reluctant to try “doodling” in my classroom, but I can say that it might actually be worth the risk.

I first heard of doodling, also known as sketchnoting, in the classroom just this week from a colleague. She emailed me the following two articles, Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick and Keep Calm and Doodle On, which are excellent! And she asked me if I was interested. Then, I was encouraged by another colleague to try it, and so I did!

After reading the Visual Learning part of 21 Things for the 21st Century Teacher (one of the additional readings for this week), I had visual learning on my mind. I was thinking about how important visual learning is, especially in the science classroom and how I want to improve such learning in my classroom.

I am a longstanding advocate of the traditional graphic organizers, and I have more recently become an advocate of info-graphics. They seem to work for my students, and they are great examples of visual learning.

But back to doodling…I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think that doodling might have some of the same properties and therefore benefits as other visual learning tools. Can doodling keep our students focused, help them remember information, and allow¬†them to listen at a different level? I may not be completely¬†sold, but I am willing to give it a shot!

When I tried doodling with my grade 11 IB chemistry class¬†this week, I wasn’t exactly sure how to explain it them, and I wanted my students to take it somewhat seriously. I was half-expecting them to think it was a joke! So, I had them read the above article titled,¬†Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick¬†because I thought it did an excellent job of explaining the concept and benefits of doodling. After the students read the article, they were instructed to doodle their notes during student presentations. And after we finish presentations next class, I am going to ask my students to share their drawings with each other to fill in the gaps.

Here is a TED Talk from Sunni Brown titled, “Doodlers, Unite!” In less than 6 minutes, she gives a pretty convincing argument for doodling.

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I know this particular learning tool may not exactly be tech savvy, but I think it could evolve into something so. For this reason, I wasn’t sure if I should even write about it on my COETAIL blog. Then, this morning, as I was reading some recent blog posts off of my RSS reader, Digg Reader, I found this: #coetailsketch – another humble proposal. Another COETAILer is blogging about the same idea! I was stoked, and I am excited to see how¬†this learning tool is going to work for me and for my students.

What do you think about doodling? Would you be willing to take the risk of trying it out in YOUR classroom? Or even trying it out for yourself? I warmly welcome your comments below.

Break Dancing, Connectivism, and Hyperlinks

This is such an interesting concept…”our hyperlinked world.” Not only is this an interesting concept, it has become our reality. At AIS-R (the school at which I work), we recently and completely dropped using Microsoft and picked up using Google (which I LOVE). Within this very course, there is not a single page that does not have some sort of link on it. My personal email, text messages, and Facebook page all have links! EVERYTHING is linked.

A hyper hyperlinked webpage from this week’s reading

I never really thought about “our hyperlinked world” as a thing. But after reading “Messing Around” on pages 20-28 of “Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project” this week, I thought about and realized how common hyperlinks really are and that I have been taking them for granted! Maybe, sometimes, we get carried away with inserting hyperlinks, but really, hyperlinks are what have allowed connectivism to flourish¬†in a much more fluid manner.

You can teach yourself (almost) ANYTHING on the internet (see the video below if you ever wanted to learn how to break dance!), which is pretty amazing. And hyperlinks make it easy to “mess around” as the above mentioned article calls it. “Messing around” entails “experimentation and exploration with relatively low investment.” It allows people to find things they are interested in and make connections with those things, which brings me to comment on one of the other articles that we read this week, “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” by George Siemens (eLearnSpace).

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Information development WAS slow, but not anymore! We can connect to so many different “things” from just about anywhere. But sometimes I wonder if connectivism makes learners lazy or more curious. Is connectivism beneficial or detrimental (or both) for our students? It absolutely allows learners to stay current in their field more quickly than ever before, and it can magnify one’s knowledge, understanding, and learning.

With connectivim, they say that technology is rewiring our brains, but I don’t think that I quite understand this. HOW is technology rewiring our brains? And is this statement figurative? Or literal? I warmly welcome your comments below.