Wednesday, September 17, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver: Why I (Now) Tweet

Evolution of the cell phone
Technology these days is moving at a break-neck speed. Just in my lifetime we've gone from the original Nintendo System to Play Station 4; we've gone from dial-up Internet to Wi-Fi in every public location (or most!); we've gone from cell phones as a novelty to everyone needing one to survive. What a crazy ride technology has been these past 20 years. Heck, what a ride it's been the last 5! I have a love/hate relationship with technology and it's related devices. I love what technology can do, but hate how it has disconnected us from real interaction. I love how it connects me to family and friends separated by states and oceans, but I hate how people misuse it and hurt each
other with it.

As a conscious decision, I stayed as far from Twitter as possible. I had gotten on the Facebook bandwagon early on, but decided to put my foot down on all the rest. Then, when I started this fellowship, I was forced encouraged to get myself involved in the social media world. I begrudgingly joined twitter, started to learn Google+ and began blogging!

As much as it hurts me to admit this, I'm glad I was thrust into the newest realms of social media. And here's why:

IT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD! 

Once I joined Twitter, I began to follow groups like Global Teacher Edu (@GTEorg), and TeachUNICEF (@TeachUNICEF) and began to find links to articles, contests and scholarships for students, curriculum for teachers, and so many things that I never though Twitter could provide. I realized that it's not Twitter that I resisted, it's how some choose to use it! But, the reality is that any social media is merely a conduit for how you want to experience the online community. I choose to use Twitter to connect me to people, programs and groups that support and create global learning. Now Twitter is yet another resource in my teaching arsenal. 

When I return to the classroom, I fully intend to continue using Twitter for two major reasons; 1. I can use it to enhance my classroom and help my students learn and question at a higher level; 2. As teachers it's our job to model to our students responsible and effective use of the power of the internet. 

Here are some ideas on how to use technology to engage your students:
  1. Facebook - Humans of New York (HONY) if you have not yet started following this page, do it today! This young man began a project to document the faces and stories of his fellow New Yorkers, but has since been invited by the UN to complete a 50 day world tour to take photos of people all over the globe and document the stories of all people. His photos and interviews are endearing, thought-provoking, saddening, and inspiring. Photos have come in from Sudan, Vietnam, Ukraine and many other countries. Imagine having your students study a certain country and then using the interviews from this page to learn more about how they live. Maybe start a dialogue with the owner of this page. Have students read over some of the comments (there are thousands for each) and start a discussion on perceptions of Americans.
  2. Twitter
    1. To Follow:
      1. US Department of Education (@usedgov)
      2. Huff Post Education (@HuffPostEdu)
      3. Fulbright (@FulbrightPrgrm, @FulbrightSchlrs)
      4. TeachUNICEF (@TeachUNICEF)
      5. TeachAgPSU (@TeachAgPSU)
      6. Global Teacher Edu (@GTEorg)
      7. World Food Programme (@WFP)
      8. World Food Prize (WorldFoodPrize)
      9. Nicole Weaver (@TeamWeaverFever) :)
    2. To Utilize
      1. Create a class and/or FFA Twitter page to allow your students and members to follow the latest happenings. It's a great way to connect with students outside of class and keep them updated on what you're doing. Got a test on Friday? Tweet it!
      2. Connect with other programs. As a class, follow the Twitter page of a school in some other state or even some other country! See if you can start an open dialogue. Who knows what amazing sharing can come from this!
      3. Current Events. Have your students search for current events in science, agriculture, and global issues. Great way to start class discussion
  3. YouTube
    1. TED Talks. The subjects are diverse and so are the presenters. I've found some great ones to share with my classes and, even better, I've had students come to me and ask if I'd seen a certain presentation. What a way to connect to the world, be inspired by new ideas, and encourage your students to become lifelong learners!
To summarize - technology is only as good as the person who uses it! Yes, the internet is full of crap, but as learners and leaders, we have the power to dictate how we use it, how our students and peers use it, and how it impacts us. Use it to make the world a better place, not just a place that loses hours watching funny cat videos or scrutinizing selfies. 

Oh, and can someone explain to me the point of hashtags?! #whatdoesthisreallydo?!

Agriculturally Yours,
Nicole Weaver
PSU Global TeachAg! Fellow
Agricultural Science Teacher
@TeamWeaverFever

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the mentioning Global Teacher Education. I am so pleased that you find it a valuable resource via Twitter. You may also be interested in this article on Global Education "Twitterati." http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2013/07/the_global_learning_twitterati.html

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  2. Caitlin, Thanks! I LOVE GTE. I think it's absolutely a valuable feed to follow on Twitter and I recommend it to my colleagues wholeheartedly. It's asking all the right questions about how we prepare students to be global citizens. Thanks for the article link, I will check it out!

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