The Power of Twitter for Teacher Resources

 

With every passing day it becomes more and more of a no-brainer that it is in the best interest of one’s students, and the teacher, to embed technology within conventional instruction in education. What is less widely accepted is the incorporation of social media, and popular ones at that, into the lesson plans and homework assignments. The reasons for and against are numerous in both regards, but what cannot be argued is the power that social media has. Through social media, the average child has the ability to access more information at the push of a button than an encyclopedia could hold in one volume- a bit of an exaggeration, but you understand my point. There are valuable tools for teachers to utilize in their instruction that can be found on social media, and we should not be blind to this; as a future teacher, it will be my job to teach my students how to discern an appropriate source from an inappropriate one.

The first tweet that I would like to highlight is from @coolcatteacher. Thanks to her tweet I have now been exposed to something new today that I never expected to: Google for kids. Google Kiddle is a visual search engine, powered by editors and Google safe search. This quite possibly might be one of the most ingenious things I have ever seen in my life. Every teacher and parent can attest to a promotion of safe searches within schools; we do not want to limit the sources that our students have access to, but to put no restrictions on a search engine is risky in terms of inappropriate results. Through Google Kiddle, students are able to search freely on any topic of their choosing, and Google guarantees that the results are age appropriate- talk about worry and carefree for parents and teachers! Not only is it incredible that you are able to make an entire search engine age-appropriate, without compromising the integrity of the search results, but the complete layout of the page is different! Children are enticed by pictures, not long, descriptive phrases, and each search result is accompanied by an eye-grabbing picture- truly innovative for the classroom.

The next tweet is made possible thanks to @web20classroom. This tweet is linked to an article that describes four habits for people to take up in order to become more digitally creative. I was initially intrigued by this tweet because it talks about a topic that has a healthy amount of stigma associated, in my opinion. Many people believe that, thanks to technology, millennials especially are less creative, communicative, etc. I agree that the opportunity to have infinite amounts of information at your fingertips comes with adverse outcomes, such as a loss of innovative thinking and self-reliance on the surface, the opportunity to dive deeply into a specific topic or to explore an unknown content area does exist. The four pillars of this article are: capturing new ideas, engaging in challenging tasks, broadening knowledge, and interacting with stimulating people. Based on these tenants the author is able to explore and expand on ways to use digital software beyond their basic purposes- to think with out-of-the-box creativity. It is important to always be grounded by a combination of intuition and imagination, and this article outlines tips to help grow one’s digital creativity in ways that will only benefit students.

The final tweet that I chose to highlight is from @shannonmmiller. Her tweet links to a webpage that highlights the new Glowforge 3D laser printer. With the Glowforge laser printer, there are seemingly no limits to the things you are able to create. Just imagining the power to enhance classroom lessons that this printer has excites the future teacher in me. Lessons that only involved visualizing or conceptualizing a final product that was either created virtually or on paper can now be created in front of our student’s eyes. Under its 12 revolutionary features tab, one that is highlighted is that it is safe for schools: under the United States F.D.A. regulations, Glowforge Basic is categorized as a Class 1 laser, the same as a DVD player. No special precautions are required to use it, and if you are concerned that Glowforge Basic might not meet your curriculum needs, the Pro Model can be purchased too, but it is a class 4 laser requiring special precautions for operation. Could the future see no more woodshop courses, but 3D printing courses instead? It is hard to say for certain right now, but there seemingly is no limit for the number of applications that this printer could have in schools.

Overall, it is clear to me after another week of analyzing twitter’s impact on education, that I am becoming more exposed to beneficial resources that I never would have noticed had I not been paying attention. To blindly group all social media services as adverse to learning and inappropriate in a classroom setting seems foolish, as there are many invaluable services that you will only be able to experience if you are in tune with social media and the like. As Brian Solis once said, “Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology,” and likewise with David Alston who said that “Social media is not media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” I know that we are able to listen, engage, and build relationships through social media, meaning the stigma from society is unmerited at best.

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