Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Sticky Notes

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Charts have always confused and alienated me– I really struggle with creating them. Charts in English, especially, never made any sense to me; visually structuring words that way into bubbles and columns really bamboozled me. To be honest, it still does. In my writing process, I have never benefited from structural charts, so I never made them. However, now that I will teaching others, who really would/could benefit from such structural aids, I realized that I really need to start trying to understand and build them. Here’s my attempt to create a diagram of writing an essay. Although there is room for improvement, I must say I feel accomplished in wrapping my brain around creating one without the aid of found-examples (I resisted that urge!). This was a good experience because it made me aware that my weaknesses are not everyone’s weaknesses, which is to say: I will not be teaching myself.

I had fun fiddling around with Padlet. My wall is a silly, non-academic topic, but I can see how it could be used in the classroom. In my fake-classroom, I would use Padlet as a sounding-board for students to post their “personal opinions” of the books we read. Not only would this be a creative and non-graded outlet for students to express their (strong) opinions, but this could also serve a classroom management purpose; if a student yells out, “Ugh! This book sucks!” (which happens), then at least I could redirect him/her to the proper and appropriate avenue for them to express such a thought (but let’s find a better word for “sucks,” please.). I could also see myself using Padlet as a “democratic space” to make classroom decisions, this way students could think and express themselves in an individual space, but then see the collective feedback of their classmates. OR (I have one more) Padlet could also be used at the beginning of the school year; I think it’s a neat idea to have students find the kinds of projects they would like to do, and then you take those projects and apply them to your content. This way, the students have ownership over what is expected of them.

Needless to say, I liked the Padlet thing. The reason I like it so much is because it’s simple, easy to use, but gets the job done. These are also the reasons I like Twitter. I believe it a valuable skill to be able to get to the point, to fit more meaning into less space. Not only is this a critical thinking skill, it’s also just a practical one; in an interview, how successful would a rambling applicant be? Besides, this is how our Digital Natives are communicating already– short and sweet– we might as well meet them halfway. School is boring enough, and these are simple, fun things that would really make school a little more bearable for students.

Creating a Video

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

I am currently in the process of creating my Animoto curricular music video (just about halfway done), and here is my predominant thought while finding usable images, documenting them, and uploading them onto Animoto: I will never do this again. Right now I work part-time (about 25 hours a week), and I feel like I barely have time for this, so I can’t imagine that I’ll have time to fiddle around with Animoto when I’m working 40+ hours a week teaching full time. HOWEVER, I do think it has instructional merit, especially in terms of allowing students to express themselves creatively, so I would absolutely have my students use this program to make 30 sec videos (for free!).

Honestly, if I didn’t have to find copyright-friendly images and document them, which we all know can be monotonous and time-consuming, I would be having an absolute blast creating this video (being responsible can be such a bummer, right?). I would love to have students use this tool to respond to major themes in novels, I think the visual and textual connection lends itself well to a summation project like that. From the instructional perspective, I’m using Animoto to create a video to generate interest in a book that the students are about to read (in this case Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451). I figured if I was going to take the time to make this video, I would do something that I could actually re-use in the future, and Fahrenheit 451 is unquestionably part of my student reading list. So, frustrations aside, I really see the value of Animoto (perhaps a bit more so than Scratch).

I also took the opportunity to re-vamp my LinkedIn page this week. As silly as it sounds, fiddling around with LinkedIn really made me self-reflect; I already had a LinkedIn account, but I had previously used it when I was working full time as head trainer at a personal training studio. My picture was one of me in fitness clothes, and all my skills and experience were fitness training related. Going through and changing that picture and adding skills and experience made me feel good– certain and satisfied and mature. I’m still a little skeptical about the effectiveness of LinkedIn, but then again, I’m skeptical about most things.

Lastly, I love Twitter. I love Twitter because it requires skill to do it well. Sure, you can tweet “I love puppies,” but that’s not a very good tweet and not many people will follow you. However, if you really take the time to consider your tweets (question to yourself, “what is tweetable?”) and make your message clear and concise, then the people will follow. Some argue that tweeting encourages bad writing skills– using text-speak, emoticons, etc.– but I actually disagree. I think all writing practice is good writing practice, regardless of spelling, because the first (and most important) step in writing is thinking. Twitter lends itself well to responding to the process of something– long-term projects, road trips, even watching a movie. What if instead of having students fill out boring worksheets about in-class movies, we just allowed them to “live-tweet” the movie? Assuming the tweets are school-appropriate, I think the students would get a lot more out of it and maybe even pay attention! Trust me, I’m an expert on students watching movies in class… I’m a substitute. More than anything else we have experienced throughout this course so far, I am most certain that I will be using Twitter in my future classroom.