In August I was talking with another teacher about Twitter and she asked if I had a Twitter account. I told her that I did not and she commented that her children each had their own Twitter accounts, but she did not have one either. At that time I was not sure about Twitter and I thought that I would never create a Twitter account. I did not understand what it meant to follow other people and since I already had Facebook I felt at that time that I did not need another Social Media account. I was also unsure about following people I did not know and having people follow me that I never met before. Then I got an email from my professor Alec and Katia about our Social Media class and that we needed to create a Twitter account if we did not have one already. So I created a Twitter account for the first time ever in September when our first Social Media 831 class began on Tuesday, September 9th. Here just a few weeks before I told a fellow teacher that I was never going to get Twitter and then found out that I needed to create an account. I was beginning to wonder more about Twitter and how I would use it has an educator. There were so many things I did not know about Twitter and what Twitter has to offer.
For example I never knew about the different types of chats that can happen through Twitter. A fellow student in my Social Media class Kelly Christopherson (@kwhobbes) tweeted a lot about #saskedchat. On his Twitter feed he would retweet lots of people’s tweets that came from the chats on Thursday night. They really intrigued me and I wanted to check it out. This past Thursday at 8:00pm I joined in the #saskedchat on Twitter and the discussion focused on homework, redos, and feedback. Throughout the hour chat questions were asked around those topics for that evening. It was very interesting to read what fellow Saskatchewan teachers tweeted in the response to each of the questions. I am now following educators right from my own province that share similar ideas and other teachers who challenge my thinking. It is important to hear a variety of opinions and perspectives about the different topics. I encourage everyone to try to participate in a #saskedchat one Thursday evening when you are available!! I know I am going to try to participate in more chats on the nights that I am available.
On Thursday night I also participated in the #IRAchat at 6:00pm for the hour. I have my membership in the Saskatchewan Reading Council so I also get information about the International Reading Council. When I saw that the International Reading Council had a Twitter account (@IRAToday) I knew that I wanted to be one of their followers. I was very excited to see that the sisters Joan and Gail (@gailandjoan) were being guests on the #IRAchat for the evening so I decided to join in. The two sisters are the authors of the books The Daily Five and The Café Book. I am so glad that I was introduced to the Daily Five at the beginning of my teaching career. It has allowed me to teach my students independence and provided me with a structure in how I can set up my classroom. My students know why they need to practice their reading, writing, listening, etc. skills and what it should look like when they are working in each of the learning stations. In the afternoon for math and other subject areas I create charts with my students about what their role is as a student and what my role as a teacher is. In the #IRAchat the focus of the discussion was on student choice and independent learning. I enjoyed reading what other educators from not only in Canada, but in the United States believed in and what they were doing in their classrooms in terms of literacy and student independent learning. I was also fascinated in what Joan and Gail were tweeting. It was an amazing feeling that they retweeted some of the comments that I made to the questions that were asked in the chat. It proved to me that my voice does matter. That experience also made me reflect about our class when we were discussing blogging and the power of having your blog public. When other people comment on your blog or about your tweets it is a powerful feeling knowing that your voice is being heard by others. It can be a little scary at first because as people we are always worried about if other people with agree or disagree with you. But, I think most people are very professional and know how to state their opinion without being negative and putting the opinions of others down. The IRA is going to have another chat on November 13th and the chat will focus on literacy’s role in project-based learning. I highly recommend to check it out!
I have learned a lot about Twitter and I am beginning to feel more comfortable in posting Tweets. In the short time that I have had Twitter I have tweeted seventy-four times, I am following one hundred and eleven people, and sixty people are now following me. I am looking forward to continue to learn more about Twitter and finding out other ways it can help me as a teacher! I encourage everyone to find a chat on Twitter that will interest them and try it out at least once!!