Posts Tagged 'Beth Knittle'

Beth Knittle on Twitter

Last month at the MassCue conference I attended a fabulous workshop focusing on Twitter as a form of professional networking by Beth Knittle (with Wes Fryer).  Many of the themes arising from my work this semester were also ones voiced by Beth and Wes.  For example, Beth reported that she had learned more in the past 4 years involving  instructional technology than her entire career as an educator.  I can certainly understand her comment.  There is so much to learn (and it changes weekly) and so many venues for that learning to occur, that the knowledge can seem exponential. I have to say that my own learning curve has also increased significantly these past few months, and I am still a “newbie” about it all. Another remark that resonated with me was made by Wes when he said that as educators we must personally use these web-based tools before we can effectively figure out how to use them in the classroom to enhance the goals we have for our students.

His statement made me recall the initial intent of my semester-long study about Web 2.0.  I naively thought that I could study the applications of Web 2.0 in the classroom before I really understood how individual tools (and there are many) work.  After a few weeks reading about what teachers were doing in their classrooms through blogs and wikis, I quickly realized that I needed to know far more about these tools, and I could only learn about them by exploring them on my own.  This maneuver is not only new to Web 2.0 tools, but to any educational content worth teaching.  The idea of “playing” with the tools reminded me of the notion of “messing about” which Eleanor Duckworth at Harvard Graduate School of Education not only wrote about but incorporated in her assignments for graduate students.  “Messing about” is necessary to understand many concepts in math and science (before they can be taught) and it is equally necessary (if not more so) in regards to educational technology. So, even though my graduate experiences were long ago, they echoed back to me quite emphatically this semester.

Back to Twitter…Beth framed her work with Twitter within the context of creating professional learning networks.  Twitter, a site for micro-blogging, allows educators to quickly find answers to their questions or pose solutions to issues that other educators are experiencing.  Twitter (along with Plurk) are widely used by educators for a variety of reasons and content specialities – Web 2.0 among them.  This social networking tool is very effective for quick communication for specific purposes, and within a short amount of time individual educators can acquire many “followers.”  Followers are an important means of connection – connection being a recurrent theme throughout the conference.

Beth and Wes left us with some useful advice and some blogs and wikis to access for futher our learning.  Thus, I have taken their advice to “play” by signing up for a Twitter account.  I welcome some followers at http://twitter.com/slaw33.  Thanks to Beth for getting me started.

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