For my first twitter chat, I participated in the #edtechchat, hoping that it would relate to some similar topics that we covered in class. The chat had an overall theme regarding the use of technology in the classroom. The objective of the chat was to understand the importance of technology in education and the contributions it can bring to students, teachers, and staff. The group spoke of how teachers can use technology in their classroom to present information and share their stories to help relate and connect with their students. They also talked about how essential it is to relate and connect with colleagues, which can also be aided with the use of technology. I learned, for example, that teachers can use blogs, twitter chats, youtube, facebook live, and Instagram to connect with their students and other faculty members. Todd, one of the leaders of the chat, claimed that he finds it important to collaborate with his colleagues and learn their stories because it helps him to be a better teacher as well. By learning about the lesson plans or technological applications of other teachers, he can improve his own techniques in his classroom. He states the following: “I’m pushing myself to learn from colleagues by observing them in their classrooms, seeking feedback, and watching what they’re showing the.” Communication is key in the workplace because it builds relationships, which, in turn, builds character and success as a teacher. Several participants touched on the specific activities they done in class previously to help their students realize their agency in learning. I found this to be extremely helpful because it enabled me to see what techniques have worked for other teachers in the past to give me an idea how I want to run my classroom in the future. Elementary school teacher Cindy O’Brien notes that she reads diverse stories to help build empathy in her classroom. “It’s the perfect first step to begin to educate yourself and connect with others who aren’t like you. Our country is divided enough. We must learn more about our differences,” she says. I agree with her because I believe that it is essential to learn about all different religions, sexual orientations, racial inequalities, family orientations, gender inequalities, and foster care as it helps the teacher relate to his/her students on a deeper level. If one can relate to his/her students, then he/she will create a more trusting relationship with students and give them a higher incentive to learn if they value the one teaching them.
Likewise, a few participants made a reference to a link for Flipgrid (https://flipgrid.com/cee8f4 ) because they use it in a lot of their classrooms. The Flipgrid link shared was a video discussion on why one loves teaching because valentine’s day is around the corner. I had no idea what this was, so I did some research on the tool. Flipgrid is where students can go to share ideas and learn together. It’s video the way students use video in other social media sites. According to my research, “it is the leading video discussion platform used by tens of millions of PreK to PhD educators.” Basically, it works by having the teacher add a topic to spark a discussion. His/her students then share short video responses to start a dialogue. This is a very beneficial educational tool because it allows students, teachers, and faculty to communicate and discuss classroom lessons, enabling greater respect and rapport.
Based on the participants in the chat, I chose to follow Todd Nesloney, principal at Webb Elementary school in Texas, TEDx Speaker, NSBA 20 to Watch & Co-Author of #KidsDeserveIt & #SparksInTheDark. I also followed Susan Bearden, one of the leaders of the edtechchat. She is an edtech consultant, the Co-mod of edtechchat, and a senior of edpioneers, which “develops & connects professionals with education roles to solve problems outside the classroom so students & teachers succeed inside the classroom.” The third person I followed was Cindy O’Brien, an elementary school physical education teacher from Hueytown Elementary. She spoke about the importance of fitness to students, especially as it relates to focus and motivation in the classroom. Alex Podchaski also provided some interesting commentary on technology in the classroom. He is the director of technology for a K-12 school, also an edtech chat moderator, and CETL certified. I especially liked what he had to say about diverse methods of instruction and differentiated learning in the classroom. Last but not least, I followed Whitney La Rocca, Co-author of Patterns of Power and a K-5 Lit Coach. She emphasized how she enjoys working with and learning from other adult learners. Overall, I found my experience in my first twitter chat to be extremely welcoming and informative as it helped me to gain a greater understanding of how current teachers are implementing technology in their classrooms.