A Letter to My EDM 310 Students

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Personal Reflections on Collaboration and Twitter

Just a few minutes ago I was practicing Twitter as part of our joint effort to learn how to use Twitter and to determine whether and how Twitter might be useful to us as teachers. @teachernz asked about putting audio on a blog. His request was addressed to Mr. C (@wmchamberlain), but I responded as did @jlamshed, whom I have discovered (on Twitter) to be Mr. Lamshed, a teacher in Adelaide, Australia. More about him and his class later in this post.

Mr. Michael Fawcett (@teachernz) teaches Year 4 in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has had a class blog (Room 9) since 2005 and he also has a class wiki (9lenview).

I especially urge you to read his personal blog (What Now? What Next? So What?". In it he makes several important points (directly and indirectly):
1. We need to continually reflect on our professional practice (teaching). I hope I have started you on that path with your Professional Blog.
2. Collaboration pays off. If you follow Mr. Fawcett on Twitter (@teachernz), you will see that he frequently exchanges ideas, tips, questions and requests for help from Mr. C (@wmchamberlain) and Mr. Lamshed (@jlamshed). This is exactly what I want you to do as a teacher - collaborate with other teachers around the world, not just your school. My first efforts in Project 6 will be greatly expanded and improved upon next semester, primarily because we connected with Mr. C - and a lot of other teachers!
3. In Mr. Fawcett's post on EtherPad, he describes another innovative way for teachers (and students) to collaborate, especially on writing projects. When you become a teacher, explore the possibility of having your students interact with Mr. Fawcett's students, or another teacher and class somewhere else in the world! Read Mr. Fawcett's entire post on EtherPad. I had never heard of EtherPad until I found it on Mr. Fawcett's blog. And I found him on Twitter and he found the EtherPad discussion on Twitter. Note the very interesting ideas for using EtherPad in the classroom that these teachers, from many parts of the world, generated. You might want to follow the two participants in the EtherPad discussion on Tweeter that Mr. Fawcett thanked: Mrs. Banjer, a primary school teacher in Brisbane, Australia (@Mrs_Banjer) and Mandy Barrow (@mbarrow), a primary school teacher in Kent, United Kingdom. Another score for Twitter. And you can be sure that EtherPad will be part of EDM310 next semester!
4. We all must be learning all the time, not just to set a good example for our students, but because the world is constantly changing! I have a poster in my office which says "Learning Never Ends!" As a teacher, you must also be a learner - all the time! And note that in Mandy Barrow's profile on Twitter she includes this "Still have a thirst for learning."

Now let me turn to Mr. Lamshed's Class blog.
The very first thing I saw on Mr. Lamshed's blog was Mr. Lamshed Visits the USA. This post was posted today (April 15). Tomorrow the two classes (Australia and US) will have a video conference using Skype. It will be recorded. The intention is to have it on Mr. Lamshed's Class blog soon. When it is there I will ask you to watch it.

I am learning from Twitter by using it, following leads from tweets, and examining the information in the profiles!

So I ask you ... Are you collaborating effectively (Project 6)? Are you learning about Twitter and how to use it effectively (Project 7)? Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Fawcett and Mr. Lamshed certainly are! You can too, if you try!


Wm Chamberlain said...

Good post. I think it is important for new teacher to know that they have to make a priority to continue to learn. Tools like twitter not only make it possible, but extremely beneficial. BTW The skype session was recorded today. Australia is a day ahead of us.
Mr. C

Jarrod Lamshed said...

You are exactly right. The need for collaboration is so important. You can't teach inside your own little box. The ability to share ideas and learning around the world is still fairly new, so your students are the ones who can begin to make it standard practice.

Our skype call went really well, but we had some technical issues with video from the USA end and unfortunately the sound on my recording wasn't as strong as I'd hoped. I will try and put something together from it and post it on our class blog soon.