How Have I Contributed to the Learning of Others?

From the very beginning of the class it was very clear to see that I was going to be learning so much from others.  There were so many ways to communicate with my classmates, and I loved exploring all of these platforms. In the beginning I was very hesitant, but became more comfortable by the end of the class. I can say that everyone helped me, and I hope that I helped them learn too!

Twitter

I can say with confidence that at the beginning of this class I was against Twitter. As it turns out, I should not have been so stubborn. I turned into an obsessive Twitter using, and spent a crazy amount of time scrolling through and sharing resources. It allowed me to connect with the people in my class, but I also found myself connecting to so many other educators beyond this.

  • My favourite part about Twitter is all of the valuable resources I found. I think that I contributed to the learning of my classmates through all of the resources that I shared almost daily. #feedly I was also able to share my blog posts in order for others to see.

  • I loved how I was able to retweet and reply to the resources that other people shared. They also help me discover new topics that I am interested in, and new hashtags that I could implement into my Tweets.

  • I was able to take part in 2 #saskedchats through this semester. At first I was very nervous, but with the help of Tweetdeck, I found them to be super engaging. I was able to learn from others, gain valuable resources, and share my resources. I will definitely be taking part in more of these chats on Thursday nights.

Blogs

I loved looking at the creativity in my classmates blog posts every week. I don’t want to admit how much time I spent creeping on other peoples blogs. I tended to comment on others blog posts when I was interested in it, and wanted to learn more about. I know that I could have commented more, but think I did the best as I could with the time I had. Here are some examples of the comments I made this semester.

Google Community

Overall I think the google community is something that I enjoyed exploring, however I did not choose to communicate and contribute to the learning of others through this tool. I checked the weekly plans and stayed up to date on what was being posted, however

Thank you all for helping me learn!

– Ms. S

How does one Code?

Photo Credit: Q Academy

Well, I am going into this blog post with very little knowledge on this topic! Before this class I had never really heard of  the concept of coding. So I first have to answer the question… What is Coding? 

In order to show how I understood the process of coding, I have decided to use a series of “The Office” gifs. Only because it’s an awesome show, they make me laugh, and they really show how I felt when learning how to code.

Credit: giphy.com

I decided to jump right in and look at Scratch in hopes that I could figure out how to use it. I was able to download this app from the App Store directly to my computer, and was good to go! I decided to play around with the Scratch cat at first, but got no where! I turned to my trusty friend Youtube in search of another video to find out what Scratch really is.

This was all fine and dandy, but I still wasn’t convinced that I could do it. I then found a Youtube tutorial that taught you how to make a PacMan game. “I need to make this” was the first thing that came to my mind. I tried to follow the mans instructions but quickly hit a dead end because I could not find a specific block. I then discovered that I was working with an newer version of the app and was the least bit happy. Following this attempt, I found a tutorial of creating your name on Scratch. I inserted all of my letters and then had no idea what to do after. It looked like someone had taken my name, threw it in a blender, and dumped it on my computer screen. I was left at square one once again.

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I revisited the scratch website in search of some sort of guidance or clarity. I stumbled upon a list of starter projects. I immediately new that this was more my style and that I could complete this. I scrolled through the lists of starter projects and chose to create a maze. These starter packs allow you to look inside and see the steps the person took in order to create the Scratch, from there you can change and add anything you like. I decided to start from the beginning and use the maze as a guide to follow. I went back and forth between my maze, and the maze starter project and screen casted as I went along. It took me a total of 20 minutes, however I edited parts of my video out in order post a shorter video. Enjoy!

It was a very long process, and I need to spend more time figuring out what each block does. I know that I have only seen the beginning of what Scratch is capable of! Below is a screencast of my final maze! 🙂

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Click HERE to try my maze!

Overall I think that my scratch project was a success! It took a lot of trial and error, but I will definitely try to create another project in the future!

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Should you teach coding in the classroom?

Yes! Absolutely! I felt very challenged throughout this whole process. It allowed me to think hard, research ideas, and move outside of my comfort zone. I found articles to support my ideas including: 5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code, Coding for Kindergarteners, & 15 Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code. On the Scratch website they also include an information page for both parents and teachers (check out ScratchEd). These pages explain what Scratch is, how to use Scratch, and the benefits of this tool. Students can create animations, stories, games, and almost anything else they can imagine. While creating these they think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. This coding tool gives students skills that they can take beyond the classroom, and into the real world!

Have you used Scratch before? If not, check it out!

-Ms. S

Credit: giphy.com

When I Grow up I want to be like Ms. Frizzle

Photo credit: Clipart-library.com

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” – Ms. Frizzle

Fasten your seat belts everyone, we are about to explore The Magic School Bus! Growing up I had the privilege of learning from the one and only, Ms. Frizzle! She took me through the solar system, the world of dinosaurs, the concept of flight, how the body works and SO much more. As a die hard Magic School bus fan there are so many things that I will forever love about this show. This article lists 9 Things About “The Magic School Bus” That You’ll Always Cherish, and I can relate to it all too well! I can’t help but to sing along whenever I hear the theme song start to play!

During my Internship I created a Ms. Frizzle costume for Halloween! I went to Value Village and bought a blue dress, cut out a felt solar system, and hot glue gunned it all together. I was so happy with how it turned out, and felt like I stepped into the shoes of Ms. Frizzle for a full day! There was one downfall..  I was in a Kindergarten classroom and almost all of my students had no idea who I was! Naturally, I read them a book and showed them a few videos to give them a little bit of an idea! This broke my heart, and I am now looking forward to bringing the world of The Magic School Bus and Ms. Frizzle into my future classroom. I even have a costume to wear for the rest of my career! 🙂

The Magic School Bus originally started as a book, and came out as a TV show in 1994. They created four seasons, and a total of 52 episodes. Recently, Netflix announced that they are releasing a new and improved version known as “The Magic School Bus Rides Again.” Ms. Frizzle will be played by the one and only Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live. I found a little bit of information about her in “Kate McKinnon to Voice Ms. Frizzle in Netflix’s Magic School Bus Revival.” This new and improved show is going to include new tools and technology in order to capture the attention of todays generation. A few articles I found about this are: “Buckle Up: ‘The Magic School Bus Rides Again’ is coming to Netflix,” “When Ms. Frizzle Returns, What Will She Say About Modern Education,” and “Can A New ‘Magic School Bus’ With Help From Netflix, Make America’s Kids Love Science?.” I couldn’t find a specific date for the release of this new and modern version, however, I will patiently be waiting for this day. To say that I have high expectations would be an understatement!

This show can be incorporated into the classroom in many ways. There are shows for your students to watch and books for your students to read. There are also interactive activities online, lesson plans, science experiments, and other classroom activities.

I loved taking the time to explore the old Magic School Bus, as well as the future Magic School Bus. It took me all the way back to my childhood! The lessons that Ms. Frizzle taught her students are pretty much impossible to teach, but hey, a girl can dream!

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Have a magical week!

– Ms. S

What’s the Skitch?

Photo Credit: Imgflip

The tool that I chose to explore this week is Skitch. Skitch is a FREE user-friendly app from Evernote. This app lets users capture screens, upload images, draw, mark, annotate images and share whatever you create. I chose to teach myself how to use this tool because it looked like a fairly simple tool that I could use. In saying this, I also wanted it in order to help make my work more authentic and stand out. Turns out, it takes some time to learn how it works, and  I should not just throw around the word simple.

I first downloaded this tool from the app store and then I was ready to go. I played around with all of the fun things it has to offer, but knew that I needed some help in order to use it effectively. I found a very detailed video on Youtube that told me everything I needed to know! I will always be grateful for Youtube!

After watching this video I felt confident that I could navigate all of the things included in this app. I played around with different images, arrows, boxes, etc. until I felt ready to create my own Skitch video. I used my blog as the foundation, and showed a few things I have on my blog using Skitch. This is the final product that I created, and I know that in time, I will only get better.

How would I use Skitch in the Classroom?

The options for using this app in the classroom seem to be limitless. Students would be able to sketch their ideas, create diagrams, label things (ex. maps), make webs, show their thinking in different and new ways, and so many other things! It seems that students are able to understand how to use apps like this so quickly, however, I would recommend taking the time and going though this app step by step. Skitch Tic-Tac-Toe is one activity I found that can be used to introduce students to everything Skitch has to offer. Once students get the hang of this app, there are so many ways they can show their learning.

The only downfall I found when using this app is that it took a long time to load what I was doing at times. The scary colourful spinning ball appeared on my screen many times when I was working in Skitch, but with just a little bit of patience, it would go away. Besides this, I seen no other negatives for using this tool.

Overall, I loved using Skitch and think that it is going to be a great tool for myself and my students! Have any of you used Skitch before? What did you create?

Happy Sunday friends! 🙂

– Ms. S

New Notification from Shayla!

Photo Credit: gpb.org

For this weeks blog post I had the pleasure of working alongside my lovely friend Shayla. We came up with this crazy idea and for some reason, Shayla didn’t talk me out of it. Together we created a text conversation between a teacher and parent about the classroom tool Remind. It was a very stressful and overwhelming experience but I am happy to say that I think we succeeded. In order to create it, we explored both the teacher and parent areas on the remind website, each chose our side and the points that we wanted to say. Following this we screen casted on my computer, and began texting away. I am confident when I say that while working on this video, we looked similar to this cat.

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My hands were shaking, I was panicking, and I have never been so self-conscious about my typing abilities. Thankfully we made it through! Once we finished all that was left was to crop the video, and speed up just a touch. This is our final product:

I hope this gave you a little idea about what Remind is all about, but I will explain it a little more in detail. I am a little bit familiar with this app, as it is something that my cooperating teacher used in her classroom during my internship. With one simple note home, we were effectively able to communicate with parents in the classroom without having to collect 24 phone numbers. There were a few parents who were hesitant at first, but were appreciative of the tool as they were able to use it more. As an intern, I was able to remind students to bring specific supplies to school, or that there was a special presentation, or that we were going on a field trip. I always found myself turning to remind whenever I needed to communicate with parents for any reason. Yes, there are still times when you need that face-to-face interaction, but I think Remind can act as a foundation in building relationships with parents!

Remind can be used for parents, teachers, students, and administrators. All you have to do is going to their website and follow the steps to create an account. It allows teachers to  schedule announcements, attach files, post office hours, collaborate with other teachers, see who has read their messages, and plan activities. Using Remind, parents can receive instant updates, use any devices to communicate with teachers, and connect with other parents. Administrators are able to send school-wide messages, schedule announcements, communicate with other school leaders, and access additional privacy settings. Lastly, students are able to receive reminders, ask their teachers questions, and communicate with other students. Here is another little video that explains how Remind really works:

Overall, I definitely think I am going to use this amazing resource in my future classroom. It will help me to stay organized, keep myself and others accountable, foster relationships, and stay active with technology.

Have any of you used Remind before? What did you like about it or what would you change?

REMIND your students today,

– Ms. S

Teach People to be Kind

Having the opportunity to listen to Carol Todd speak and tell her heartbreaking story, has helped me face the realities of what is happening online. While scrolling through Cscreen-shot-2017-02-20-at-5-17-38-pmarol’s blog posts, there was one image that popped up multiple times that I took the most from, and that I think shows her true strength. She is constantly encouraging people to “Be silly. Be fun. Be different. Be crazy. Be you, because life is too short to be anything but happy.” Before being introduced to Carol I had the opportunity to watch The Sextortion of Amanda Todd, My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm, read a few other articles, and explore what Carol has to share on her Twitter. I was inspired to find that no matter what she has been through, her overall message was to be positive, to be kind, and to stand up for others. During her time in our class, she stated that:

“It comes down to behaviours. It’s not about the tool, or the app. It’s about the behaviours of individuals. If they are respectful. If they show empathy and compassion, that is what’s going to show up on their profiles when they are using tools and devices. We need to make sure that people care about each other.” – Carol Todd

It is not possible for students to just go “offline.” I need to act as a role model and help students to realize that not everyone they meet online is going to be kind. I know that since technology is evolving so quickly, and that it is going to be very hard to stay up to date with it all. Overall, I do have one goal that I am determined to achieve. I want my students to be kind, to be respectful, and to have empathy. I can use articles such as Teacher Helpline: How can I Teach Kids to be Nice Online? or 7 Ways to be Kind Online. These skills can be displayed in the classroom, in society, and online.

Additionally, when Katia mentioned the danger of trolls, she talked about “not feeding the trolls.” This topic reminded me of a situation that happened a few years ago… I was messaged through Facebook by one of my mothers Facebook friend saying that something weird was happening with my mom. She stated that my mom had messaged her stating that she was on a trip to Scotland with my aunty. My mom had everything stolen from her, but she still had her passport. She was looking for money so that she could make it back home to her family. A few other people had been messaged just to make sure that should could gather up enough money in order to get a plane ticket back home to her family.

Photo Credit: @PAkDocK / www.pakdock.com Flickr via Compfight cc

THE TRUTH:

  1. I had never heard of the woman who messaged me, and my mother hadn’t spoken to her since high school
  2. My mom was at work, not in Scotland, and was in need of no money
  3. My aunty was expecting a child in a few days so there is no way she could be in Scotland
  4. This situation was impossible, and an internet troll was behind it all
  5. I am grateful for truthful people

In the end I was very thankful that the woman had messaged me in order to inform me of what was going on. After hearing of many trolls out there, I know that this situation could have been much worse. My mom had to deactivate her account, but that process wasn’t easy. Her Facebook was connect to many other accounts, so she seemed to be stuck in a never ending cycle. Eventually she did get out, but we have learned so much from this situation. I can also use this personal example to show students that it can easily happen to themselves, or to those around them.

I kept going back to the question, If I am teaching little tiny minds who don’t have cellphones yet, how does this apply to me? During my internship, I was in a Kindergarten classroom and when first thinking about, it did not think I encountered any significant teaching around technology. I decided to dig a little deeper, and really thought about it. I was fortunate enough to have a SMART Board in my classroom. After explicit instructions and modelling, when students had free time they had the opportunity to use the smart board independently. They would draw pictures, play with shapes, create lines, and be free to just explore. As the teacher, I was always there to supervise how students were interacting with the smart board. They had to treat it with respect, allow others to use the tool as well, and use the SMART Board for its intended purpose. The main rule that we had was, “if anything pops up on the smart board, you need to ask the teacher for help right away!” They followed this rule whole heartedly throughout my whole internship, in order to safely and successfully use the smart board. It may not seem like a lot, but I think having that open and trusting relationship around technology sets a good foundation around using technology beginning in Kindergarten.

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I want to end this blog post in speaking about Pink Shirt Day. For as long as I can remember, I have took part in Pink Shirt Day focused around the concept of “no bullying”. However, seeing the transition to it being a day centred around kindness is something I see as wonderful. I understand that conversations still need to be had around what bullying is, but am excited to facilitate conversations about people taking action and being kind. The only negative that I see around this, is that fact that it is only one single day. This movement should be 365 days a year, 24/7. We need to #maketodaypositive

Stay kind friends!

– Ms.S

Shout Out to Peyton Sawyer

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Photo Credit: Daily Genius

“Social media is more than something we log into; it is something we carry within us. We can’t log off.” – Nathan Jurgenson

I never realized it until now, but all of the knowledge that I  have about digital citizenship was given to me from my past teachers. They walked me through the complex, constantly changing world of technology. Although they have taught me so much, technology is evolving so fast, that it is hard to keep up with it.

I have always been aware of myself while online, however, I have never specifically heard of the term Digital Citizenship. Throughout ECMP355, I now know that it is “the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology use.” As an educator I need to go beyond this very basic definition with my students. They need to be able to use technology, but they also need to be prepared to live in a society that depends on technology every day. As they learn and move through this world I want them to be able to use it effectively, creatively, wisely, responsively, as well as reflectively. Students have to have the ability to question the technology that they are interacting with.

In using Menti, it inspired me to create a word cloud  that contains words around my new understanding of Digital Citizenship. I included words that I should be aware of as a person online, as a teacher, as well as words for my future students.

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One of the ideas that stuck with me the most is the fact that with one single app, students are able to broadcast their lives for anyone to see at anytime. Live.me is an app that allows students to talk to friends, follow stars, communicate with new people, and share their broadcasts on other forms of social media. Users are now able to collect coins based on how often they broadcast, and how many live broadcasts they watch. The whole concept of live broadcasting is very interesting, however I recognize the potential dangers that it brings for my future students. When I heard of this app, the first thing I thought of is the one and only Peyton Sawyer, played by Hilarie Burton,  on One Tree Hill. I grew up watching this well known TV show and paid little attention to how Peyton had her webcam on 24/7 for anyone to see. Because I was so caught up in the show, I didn’t see it as a big deal when Peyton got into trouble because of her webcam. I now know that it is even more of a reality, because of the how advanced technology now is. It amazes me that students would want there life out there for everyone to see, and as a teacher it motivates me even more to teach them about their own digital citizenship.

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As  I was exploring the ideas of digital citizenship on Twitter. I was amazed when I came across a wonderful bulletin board that would make students very aware about what they are doing online. Even just having visuals like this up in the classroom will set a solid foundation for students to know that they need to THINK about what they are doing online. After all, “School is an excellent place to help kids become capable digital citizens who use technology not only effectively and creatively, but also responsibly and wisely

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Photo Credit: @wpsnurseleader

There are plenty of resources out there to guide me along as I teach my students. There are videos, lessons plans, and guidelines that I can always turn to. 9 Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship and an article titled Digital Citizenship are just two of the websites I found. Overall, I think the most important thing I learned is:

“Don’t just TEACH digital citizenship, MODEL digital citizenship” – ISTE

Lastly, no matter what happens, I know that I can always count on Kid President to give me good advice. When it comes to the internet, Kid President tells everyone to #MakeItHappy

I encourage you all to be a good digital citizen!

– Ms.S

Shania Sonen or Shania Twain?

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All this talk about digital identity has led me to question, “how do people see me on the internet?”I looked myself up using DuckDuckGo. The very first thing that popped up was an article about one of my country tours that was here in Regina. For those of you who attended, I hope you enjoyed the show! All kidding aside, I think it is very humorous that the very first thing that popped up was an announcement about the country icon, Shania Twain.

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Besides a whole bunch of Shania Twain articles, pretty much all that came up about myself was my Twitter, my private Instagram account, my Facebook, my Pinterest, my WordPress, and articles that I was mentioned in briefly during University and High school. All the accounts that I use for my personal life, are all locked and I intend to keep them this way, especially when entering my career as a teacher. I was very happy that there wasn’t a single negative thing, or anything that overly misrepresented who I am.

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I have recently made the transition to using my Twitter for myself as a professional. For this reason, it is my one account in which the privacy settings are turned off. All of the tweets I make relate to who I want to be as a teacher. As I slowly explore the world of Twitter, my followers and those who follow me are also people using Twitter for the same purpose as myself. I am so excited that I can already see the impact Twitter has made on me as an educator.

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I am extremely lucky that we have also been exploring how to create a blog using WordPress. I was able to put together a quick glance at who I am as a teacher, all on an online platform. The link from my blog was something that I included when I was applying for future teaching positions. I am able to connect with others, keep them up to date with my posts, and present my digital identity in a professional way.

I found a few other articles that will help me with my own digital identity. The first is “How to Improve Your Professional Digital Identity,” and the second is “8 Steps to Creating a Digital Identity.” These two articles state that I need to first understand who I am offline, in order to create who I am online. I can summarize the two articles by simply using one quote:

AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE, YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO GET GOOGLED, AND THE INFORMATION THAT PULLS UP MIGHT AFFECT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU”

-DANIEL SOLOVE

I conclude this blog post with one simple picture. I put together a Face Swap of myself and Shania Twain that, in a way, represents who I am when I google myself. I know that my identity online will not be a complete accurate representation of who I really am, however, I am going use the tools that I have in order to control it as best as I can!

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-Ms. S

Look Mom! I’m Famous!

I hope this post brightens up your week! 🙂

About a year ago, a few friends and I got very into an app called Dubsmash. Rather than doing normal 19 year old things when we got together, we would create videos using this app. Dubsmash was released in 2014, and for those of you who may not know what this is, it is an application that allows you to record yourself dubbing over any audio that you choose. The Dubsmash slogan is “Be anyone you want to be,” and we sure used this to our advantage! We would spend countless hours creating these videos, sending them to friends, and laughing at how funny we thought they were. Last year on my friends birthday I decided that I would put some of these Dubsmash videos together and post it on Facebook, this was the outcome…

I hope that you found some joy in my embarrassing collection of videos. There are many Dubsmash videos that have caught the attention of many people and that have gone viral. To my pleasant surprise, the video that I posted got 2,675 views. These were some big numbers compared to the few videos I had posted that averaged maybe 7 likes. To some this may not seem like a lot, but to me, I was SHOCKED! I got a little taste of what it was of like to be an internet sensation (kind of).

When Dr. Alec Couros joined our class, I found myself super engaged and interested in many of the topics that he raised. I spend so much of my time scrolling through Facebook, Vine, and Youtube searching for the next best video. I have discovered that I particularly enjoy videos of cute little animals, clumsy children, and references about University students trying to survive the semester. These videos consume my time, but also bring so much positivity to my everyday life. I couldn’t agree more when Alec posted the quote, “We live in a world where a single post can define our lives, for better or for worse” because I see it every day.

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We were assigned to watch An Anthropological Introduction on Youtube. He raised many points throughout the video my favourite being, “the web isn’t just about information, it’s actually about linking people and it’s about linking people in ways that we’ve never been linked before.” I think this quote is something that can apply to my future. I can use social media platforms to move beyond the walls of my classroom.

I have a silly example that I have chosen to share that illustrates how “when media changes, human relationships change”- Michael Wesch

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This Is a photo of my grandfather. I FaceTimed him for his birth day and he did not know how to answer a FaceTime call. He answered the call and immediately put the phone to his ear. After a short explanation, he finally recognized that it was a video chat. That was the first step. He was so excited to be able to see my face, however, throughout the whole conversation the only thing I could see was his cute little forehead. After many lessons, my grandpa is slowly learning.
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I received a FaceTime call from an enthusiastic 6 year old yelling “NIA, I LOST A TOOTH!” This call was made with no adult guidance, just the smart mind of my little cousin. She was able to locate the FaceTime app, call me, hold the camera just right, and end the call. I thought it was the most impressive thing, until I came to the realization that so many children are able to do this.

These two photos show a very clear comparison about how as technology changes, people change as well. This makes me look forward to all of the things that my students will teach me as we explore the world of technology together.

-Ms. S

Tweet Tweet

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Photo Credit: Cuteness of the Day

One word… Twitter.

One feeling… Confused.

One lost girl… help.

According to my Twitter I have been a member since 2015, however, even though I was a member I have pretty much been non-existent in the Twitter world. I am beginning my ECMP journey with only 12 tweets. These 12 tweets only consist of retweeting things from the University of Regina’s Relay for Life as well as a few lessons from my pre-internship. The only people that I followed were friends, and very few of these people were educators who could help me to grow as a teacher. After this, I realized that I need to make the transition from a personal twitter, to one that is professional. I have so many questions running through my brain. One of these questions is: Why would I need to use Twitter to benefit myself, as well as the students ? In order to answer this question I discovered a video:

This video motivated me to follow fellow educators, experts on educational technology, school divisions, and anything else that would help me grow as a teacher.

Additionally, I wanted to find a resource that would tell me HOW to implement twitter in my classroom for my students. 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom helped me to realized that there are an abundance of ways that I can use it. Twitter can be used as a means to keep in contact with parents, to organize and coordinate assignments, to connect with experts, to stay up to date with current events, and to inspire and go beyond the walls of the classroom.

I am slowly learning how to navigate through the world of Twitter. I know that this is going to be a long process but am excited to see where it is going to take me. My next steps are going to involve finding and sharing articles that interest me, connecting with others for my learning project, communicating with others in my class and throughout the world, and using my imagination in order to see the infinite potential of Twitter.

-Ms. S