As teachers we often spend time reflecting on what works and what doesn't work. This series of posts titled "Today in Class" is an attempt to reflect on what sticks, what smells, and what ever! My students are encouraged to read and comment on and about their own shared experience. In my Teaching and Technology Course these students are typically younger, new to education courses, and consumers of technology. My goal is to make them collaborators, integrators, and producers of everything when it comes to education and tech.
Today in class was a reintroduction to Twitter. Our current text is Will Richardson's and Rob Mancabelli's Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. Chapter 2 opens with 5 tools they suggest educators and learners use to develop a PLN and one is Twitter. The video series Author Speak through the publishers Solution Tree the authors describe their philosophy behind PLN's and their book.
After reading the chapter for homework and focusing on the tool in class, I found my students more annoyed and disinterested in using Twitter. They said it was just another thing to manage, what's the big deal, who cares what a movie or sports star is doing. By the end of class, I saw students who were visibily frustrated at the day's exploration and discovery. So I knew coming back after a long weekend, I would have to readdress how and why I wanted them to use Twitter.
I started and ended the class with a modified KWL-WeL and the topic was Twitter in Education.
I added a "We Learn" section to promote our sense of community and to expand the knowledge base on Twitter in Education. I had the students work independently to document what the already know and then what they want to know. I set the limit at 5 items. Then I sent them to two websites and asked them to explore in the What I learned phase. I gave them this caveat - explore deep and look for the obscure because the next part to this activity was sharing what they learned with someone else who could only add that learning if it was different from what they already learned. During the We Learn portion students were instructed to collect 10 new and different understanding about Twitter in Education. Throughout the lesson, I used Pandora "Jason Mraz Channel" to play music. This allowed me to control and negotiate time by warning when a song was ending or if we need one more song before we moved on to the next activity.
After the first section ended, I noticed that I didn't get the conversations I really wanted. Students simply exchanged and shopped each other lists. During the second section, I changed the We Learn part by demanding that students could only collect one understanding from another and they had do document on the paper the other student's name. This not only promoted deeper conversations but it got them to share their names.
As a class at the end of the lesson, we removed the student participation filter, and I asked them what I was doing as a teacher to promote the days objectives. The conversation was rich.