Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Abundance in ideas

My cup runneth over.

When I think of abundance in light of my masters journey, I think about the create supply of ideas we as educators have access to.  Never before have so many ideas and reflections been publicly available.  
Social media is a real treasure trove for the educator in today’s world.  In a few of my ETAD courses, we used Twitter as an informal tool to stay connected with each other.  Twitter, with it’s 140 character limit, is truly a transformative tool in education. Following classmates and collegues, and following the “tweeps” they followed, brought an abundance of ideas to my fingertips, in digestible bite sized pieces.  I would log in a few times a day, see what people were talking about, follow threads and join conversations.  It made me feel connected to world of educators, with their wealths of information.  
I teach in elementary school, where using Twitter is not feasible yet, but I can see the possibilities in older students to comment and respond in real time.  Like my experience with the discussion boards in Blackboard, Twitter allows for a richness of conversation beyond the walls of the classroom, where everyone can share their two cents, and pursue what interests them the most.
With Twitter as a starting point, I began to consider social media as an essential component of my professional practice.  Daily, I follow links to read blogs and articles that are relevant to my teaching.  I use Facebook to stay connected with the educators I know, who have moved on to other sites.  I trawl Pinterest for ideas and activities for my classroom.  The cup of knowledge and idea truly runneth over.  I am part of the global world of education. 
One way that I brought this world into my class was through pen pals.  Pen pals in education is not a new idea, but with technology we were able to modernize it, and teach new skills along the way.  In grade 2, we study different communities in Canada.  I used a website to connect with some Acadian students in Nova Scotia.  We created secure email addressees (used only for this purpose), and communicated throughout the year with our Acadian buddies.  Not only did my students learn about Acadie from the perspective of a peer, we also worked a lot with writing, creating digital text, courtesy and digital citizenship.  
Social media, used properly, is a transformative tool for students, teachers and leaders.  It can bring the world outside into the classroom, to foster understanding and respect for others.

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