I have decided to work with Pinterest as my main curation tool at the moment simply because I love the visual nature of this tool. I can organise the links I have into easy to understand categories and arrange these boards in the format I want them to be. Best of all I can see at a glance what links I have filed and Pinterest even tries to remember if I have already saved that link before!
So what is Pinterest
According to Pinterest itself it is
visual bookmarks for good stuff you find anywhere around the web or right on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you
The main benefits that I see for Pinterest are:
saving links in an organised and visual way
following people of similar interests
having access to links that have already been tried and tested
I would love to share with you all about the benefits I have found from using Twitter, the connections I have made and the people I am able to learn from and share my learning with.
For me, Twitter is all about
knowing what is going on, nationally and internationally, in areas that interest me
having resources shared with me that are tried and tested by other teachers
connecting with other people who inspire me and challenge my thinking
sometimes meeting the people I tweet with in “real life”
I found this to be a great video for a quick overview as to why Twitter is great for educators
If you want to read more about how Twitter is good for educators, I suggest reading George Couros’ blog post and the comments on this post Does Twitter Improve Education?
So What is Twitter?
Officially, Twitter describes itself as:
At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can discover a lot in a little space. You can see photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place.
It is a microblogging site, which allows you to share your ideas and resources, in the form of Tweets, with your followers or people following the same #hashtag as you.
This video was a great way of describing different aspects of Tweets and Twitter
Anatomy of a Tweet
This is a great post that breaks down exactly what can be found in a tweet.
A dictionary for abbreviations and terms you might see on Twitter
Getting started on Twitter is as easy as going to the Twitter website and signing up for an accout
The way I started was to follow people who interested me and yes there were some celebrities in this mix too – I’m not all about work completely. Use the search function in Twitter to look up the person you are interested in reading about and see if they are on Twitter. Sometimes when you find someone whose Tweets you enjoy reading, it pays to look at who they follow to see if there is anyone there you might be interested in following too.
#edchat – this #hashtag ticks over incredibly fast but it is definitely worth a look as the main education # in the world
#ozedchat – the Australian version of #edchat
@EduTweetOz is a reasonably new account which has “Australian educators from all sectors share their ideas, experiences, questions & passion.”
It is amazing how quickly you grow accustomed to something and then how much you miss it when it is no longer available.
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan via Compfight
I will be the first to admit that I have not been a serious user of Twitter for very long – since July 2012 which also happened to be the date of the CEGSA 2012 conference. It was there that I was convinced by George Couros (@gcouros) that there was more to Twitter than the following of celebrities that I had been doing up until then. I was following a very standard twitter adoption path similar to the one outlined by Daniel Edwards (@syded06) here (by the way I am now somewhere between step 8 or 9)
Anyhow, it was while I was recently attending a non IT related conference ( yes I do go to PD that is related to other aspects of teaching too) that I realised how spoilt I have been in regards to the use social media as a major part of my professional learning.
When I first arrived at the conference I noticed that I was one of the few pulling out my iPad to take notes on. That was ok. I am used to this, though it is nice now in staff meetings since our staff have been given iPads to use, that I am not the only one taking digital notes.
The next major difference I discovered was the wifi. After being at many conferences/PD days where good quality wifi access is the norm, it was quite a shock to discover that at this venue the wifi was locked down and you were expected to pay quite a lot of money to access it! That was overcome too though as I just hooked the iPad up to the iPhone and voilà – internet access!
(We won’t talk about how doing this caused my phone’s battery to flatten very quickly!)
However all of these are very minor problems which, as I have said, were overcome quite easily. The biggest issue I faced at this conference was the fact that the backchannel I have become so accustomed to was missing. Compare this to when I was working for CEGSA in Perth for ACEC2012, I wasn’t even in the room for most of the keynotes or sessions but I had a great idea of what was going on because of all the people in the room who were sharing their ideas/thoughts and resources along with what the keynote/presenter was putting out there. Even when I have been in the room while a session was happening, Twitter has been an invaluable provider of extra information, understanding and resources as you are able to not only have the benefit of your own interpretation of what you are learning but also that of the rest of the backchannel!
To cut a long story short, there were two of us in the room who were tweeting – a very elite backchannel, and we did enjoy a bit of sharing and networking. But there was none of the sharing of ideas, thoughts and resources from a wide range people that I have grown accustomed to. There was also nothing to challenge what was being said or provide a different point of view to that of the one person standing before us. Even the digital resources that we were told we could access once we got home were provided to us on a piece of paper. There was no interactivity, I wanted web 2.0 and I was in a read only world. By mid morning our presenter, who had been telling us of the importance of including IT all morning, actually provided a hashtag for us to use but by then my phone had gone flat making Twitter inaccessible and I was back to taking notes by myself on the iPad, all the while wondering “Where’s my backchannel?”