Saturday, February 02, 2019

Leveling up on our Digital Literacy skills with Twitter

Walking along the Riverbank in Austin during SxSw

Using Twitter is like taking a walk by a river
Sometimes you walk by and hardly notice the river 
Sometimes you walk by and notice the river, but keep on walking
Sometimes you walk by and dip your toe in
Sometimes you jump in and take a deep dive
You might even play hooky from work, rent a kayak or paddleboard and come back even more productive than ever from having refueled

I still remember that Twitter/River metaphor from  Sheryl NussbaumBeach . @snbeach  many moons ago. I might have added the playing hooky part. ;-) 

I must confess that lately I've been the person who dips their toe in every once in a while.
Every time I do, I  feel refreshed and yearn for more time to dive in. 
However this  month, I'm experiencing a deep dive into my Twitter stream

Part of that is because I'm trying to create an experience for my #EDCI325 Technology and Leadership grad students  that leaves them more fluent with using technology to help them grow as emerging leaders in their school.  And of course I want that experience to be authentic and I certainly want to model how to make the most our of Twitter and other social media tools in your leadership role.   I was an early adopter of Twitter, and also an evangelist in my edtech circles.  The conversations felt both authentic and manageable.  Twitter certainly grew my PLN in rich and helpful ways.  

But Twitter has changed and I can understand that for new teachers or leaders onboarding now, it's NOT the same experience I had.  My entry point yielded rich resources everywhere I looked.  For today's new Twitter user, it probably feels more like entering a jungle, where the rich fruit is in there but buried in the dense vegetation.    

I think that those of us who find value in Twitter need to do more than evangelize it and tell educators to be patient and they too will eventually curate just the right blend of followers and people to follow resulting in helpful resources or answers to our questions.  We need to mentor our newbies and guide them through  helpful ways to leverage Twitter and other social media tools.   

The topic in our class this week is digital citizenship.  As I was planning the prompts that might guide our discussion on this topic, I noticed that we had just missed a #digchat Twitter chat.  Since the chat was just last night, it was easy to read through.  It was like listening to a conversation of educators talk about the very things we would be discussing this week.

  At that moment I was nostalgic for Storify and all the valuable Twitter chats I had curated.

Not long after the sunset of Storify, I had heard about Wakelet, as a digital tool from @bonniebird   I had even  played around with it some and then stuck it in my digital toolbox.  But today I reached back into that toolbox and blew off the dust, and found it to be the PERFECT tool 
to mentor my grad students through an authentic experience where they could see the benefits of Twitter and other social media tools.   

The first thing I did was to curate last night's #digcit Twitter Chat using Wakelet  As I read the tweets and added them to my Wakelet, I noticed that the conversation hit many of the same questions we would be talking about.
Who's accountable for Digital Citizenship at your School?
How do you find the time to add this important topic to the curriculum?
How can they as emerging leaders play a role in making the changes necessary to prepare students for today's digital world? and more. 

If only I could have assigned participation in that Twitter chat to my grad students.  But due to a tool like Wakelet,  they would now be able to eavesdrop on the conversation and listen to real educators like themselves sharing ideas about the challenges they are experiencing in their school.  The conversation itself was helpful, and every resources that was shared during that twitter chat was new to me except for one.

It was then that I decided to go back through the chat one more time and pull out all the resources and curate them using the same Wakelet.  The Wakelet now starts with twenty fresh resources that were actually suggested from educators currently using them in the field.  How great is that? If that doesn't persaude some that the hour was well spent,  I'm not sure what will.   Some of the resources from our textbook are already dated, and some  no longer exist at all.
Even the resources I've curated with  Diigo would not be as fresh and relevant. 

Yes, it took me a little extra time to organize the chat and resources using Waklet, but now it's available for each of my grad students, and hopefully some of them will be just the right tool for them to use as they navigate the world of leading change and influencing others in their school

But more importantly, I hope that I have modeled an authentic benefit to investing some time with Twitter and other social media tools and they will use this approach as they grow as leaders. 

One of the ironic things about choosing to add this story to this blog, instead of in Blackboard is that it brought me back to read my last post on this blog - which just so happened to be on the same topic!  It was great to reflect on what I was thinking a year ago.  And yes, it's been a year, since I added to this blog - but most of my blogging fits better in the Create Make Learn blog these days, except for reflections on topics like these which don't fit in on that blog.  
Hopefully, I'll revisit this blog more often in the upcoming year. 

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