Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Social Networking: Live Virtual Professional Development

After completing the Twitter chats and webinars, I can really see how they both are a beneficial tool for professional development. Personally, I feel I enjoyed the Twitter chats the most. I enjoyed the webinars too, but I really liked how within the Twitter chats it was more of an open conversation between everyone involved. On the other hand, the webinars had a chat box, but it was more for introducing yourself and questions it seemed than anything else. What I found really neat though was how a lot of them tied in technology. Some of the Twitter chats I attended's main question was technology based and a couple of the webinars brought it up as well. 

Throughout doing both Twitter chats and webinars, I found myself getting more confident in my participation. It never hurts to ask a question or include your thoughts and most of the time, you'll find multiple people who agree with you. I also really enjoyed how on the Twitter chats people would reply to other peoples' tweets that they agreed with or thought were great ideas. It was encouraging when people would do that for me and then allowed me to feel confident and reply to others as well.

Overall, I felt encouraged and got some great ideas through both types and I'm excited to take some of it back into my classroom. I feel I found the most encouragement in trying more project based learning (PBL) within my classroom as well as using technology for a purpose and not just to say you've used it.

Below you will be able to see my summaries for all of the sessions I attended as well as a Google Slide presentation on my involvement within the sessions.

Twitter Live Chats

#edchat – June 13th – 7 pm EST
The first twitter chat I attended was the #edchat where the topic was “Considering the recent negative spin social media is getting, has it been a positive/ negative experience in education?” I really enjoyed this chat and the outlook each individual had on the topic. I enjoyed how people would reply to my tweets asking me to go further in what I meant or stating they agreed with me. I was not only able to contribute my thoughts, but also easily see everyone else’s. I also enjoyed how everyone was going into both the positive and negative sides of social media versus just choosing one.

I personally contributed that I believe that social media can have a positive impact in education as long as it is done properly. I also stated that as teachers we should be examples to our students of what is acceptable social media use and to hold them accountable as much as we possibly can. Others agreed with me and some even explained how social media was fully blocked by their districts which I found quite interesting.

#plearnchat – June 19th – 8 pm EST
The second twitter chat I attended was the #plearnchat where the topic was “How can a maker mindset help create an environment that encourages deeper learning for STEM and STEAM?” I really enjoyed this chat and the multiple resources shared by others throughout. It was a very smooth transition from question to question and it was great balance of involvement that helped it not move too fast so I could read others’ responses as well.

I was able to contribute my thoughts for each question that was given. There were six questions total. I loved how this chat was very student based and how we should encourage students within their learning. It was also great to reflect on not only the role us as teachers play, but also the role our classroom and environment play in the students’ learning process.  I also expressed how feedback from other teachers and school leaders can play a beneficial role in the process. A little while after the chat, I also found out that I was the chosen participant to win a signed copy of the moderator’s book! Along with the book, I was told I’d get a somewhat of a “shout out” I guess you could say on the website. 

#edtechchat – June 19th – 8 pm EST
The third twitter chat that I attended was the #edtechchat. The topic of this chat was “How can technology support the transformation?” This chat was probably the fastest paced one yet as there were a whole lot of people involved. I found it a little overwhelming at first, but got the hang of it! In this chat, there were six questions we were asked to give feedback on. With this being my third chat, I was able to start recognizing some of the others involved in this chat from previous ones as well. Also, the moderator this time happened to also be the moderator of a webinar I participated in last week which I found really cool!

As far as my actual involvement within the chat, I was able to give feedback on all of the questions. Some of the questions I even tweeted multiple answers for as all of my thoughts couldn’t just fit into one! One thing I was able to reflect on through this chat was how fortunate I am to have a great group of school leaders who back me. From this chat, I was able to see that unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

#gtchat – June 20th – 8pm EST                           
This was my fourth twitter chat and the topic was “Education Options for Gifted Students Acceleration.” The whole chat was based around what options gifted students really have and how skipping a grade level isn’t the only one to consider. The options, fears/worries, and outcomes were all discussed within this chat through a total of six different questions. Specifically, I really liked how in this chat, the moderator also gave multiple answers themselves to the questions being asked as well as shared multiple resources for most questions.

I was able to answer all of the questions within this chat. I also commented on another person’s response that I really agreed with. I hadn’t thought to bring up that perspective myself within this chat so was glad to see it show up and stick out to me. Another person also commented on one of my answers agreeing with me and I was able to also reply back to them within the chat. Overall, this chat was really interesting and I really liked how it was catered to a more specific student, the gifted one. I feel sometimes those students can be overlooked and this chat helped remind me that they are just as important as the struggling ones.


Transforming Difficult Student Conversations into Meaningful Connections
edWeb Team                    June 14th, 4:00 – 5:00pm EST
The first webinar I attended was about transforming difficult student conversations into meaningful connections. I personally really was surprised how much I enjoyed this webinar. I have never done a webinar before in my life so I really didn’t know what to expect, but this webinar definitely set the bar high for future ones. A lot of the webinar was about how social media affects ours students today. There were two polls within the webinar that asked for our feedback which was great as well. We also watched a YouTube video through it that was embedded and were able to see what students’ takes are on social media (the positives and negatives). Through the second poll, we found that Instagram seems to be the most harmful to young people and how our students strive to have a lot of followers and likes on this platform. She also brought up what students call “fomo” which is also known as the fear of missing out. This is so true and I hear my own students always talking about how they don’t want to miss out on anything.

I feel I was able to contribute to the webinar in multiple ways. They asked us at the beginning to comment and introduce ourselves and where we were from. We were then also asked to complete the poll questions. I even was able to explain one other attendee’s question through the chat of what’s the goal of the students’ ratios of followers to following. Overall, I really enjoyed this webinar and gained some great insight from it as well! Once the webinar was ending, I also went and followed the guest speaker, Rosalind Wiseman’s, twitter!

Webinar: Ethics and Communication Challenges Facing School Leaders
edWeb Team                    June 15th, 3:00 – 4:00pm EST
The second webinar that I attended was about ethics and communication challenges that school leaders face. I enjoyed how it brought up examples of situations in the past that are considered to violate the code of ethics for a teacher. It was also helpful to hear ideas to help with these types of challenges. The guest speaker, Julie Thannum, touched on what she called the “4 C’s.” These were culture, character, communication, and credibility. If we focus on those and how to set clear expectations for ourselves in situations, then it can help a lot.

Within this chat, there weren’t as many chances to bring ideas up as most people were just fully listening. However, I was able to put in my thoughts in a couple of places. I originally made sure to introduce myself again and then also made a statement in agreement when she said many teachers don’t know their district policies and that we should constantly read back over them. I think this is so true and a great idea to make sure you’re up to date with your own districts current policies. I also liked how she suggested setting your own standard or your own idea of “your 100” if you graded yourself in certain situations. This is a great way to help us think beforehand how we want to handle a situation and what we expect ourselves to do within it. 

Webinar: Hacking Project Based Learning
Alliance for Excellent Education             June 15th, 4:00 – 4:30 pm EST
The third webinar I attended was about hacking project based learning. It was lead by Thomas Murray, Ross Cooper, and Erin Murphy. This webinar was a little shorter, but I feel that I left so inspired in such a short time. I’ve always wanted to try project based learning in all of my classes, but have gotten nervous to do so especially in my Algebra 1 classes as they have a state test in May. The ideas and encouragement given in this webinar definitely encouraged me to step out and try project based learning within my classroom. Some great ideas were given such as make the project based around the students’ interests instead of your own and also to use a progress assessment tool throughout to help you individually assess each students’ progress.

The chat itself wasn’t used at all for this webinar and only a few people communicated through twitter. However, they suggested that we could submit questions through their site so I went ahead and did that. The question I submitted was “how would you suggest a teacher who has state testing to use PBL well within their class? I personally fear PBL would take so long that I would lose valuable days for other material.” To my surprise, my question was the only one brought up live on the webinar. Thomas read my name, where I was from, and then presented the two guests with my question. For this to be one of my first few webinars, I admit it was a little exciting to be the chosen question. I also really appreciated the feedback I was given. They said that it’s a fear a lot of teachers have, but they have found that it actually can save time in the end. Their answers seemed to lift a huge weight off of me and helped me to build confidence in trying it in the future! I also tweeted a little bit within the webinar, but overall I was just too busy taking it all in like everyone else seemed to be doing as well.

Webinar: Motivating and Engaging Students: Stride and the Role of Games in the Classroom
Fuel Education                                  June 20th, 3:30 – 4:30 pm EST
The fourth webinar I attended was about motivating and engaging students through an online learning tool called Stride. I actually found out about this webinar through my teacher email. I was invited to it from there. With that said, I assumed it would for sure relate to my courses, but it technically is for grades Pre – K through 8th grade. I did not find this out until during the webinar, but decided to keep watching because 9th grade Algebra 1 is pretty similar to 8th grade math in some of the main ideas. The whole webinar was about Stride and what it has to offer to a student and teacher. It allows students to do practice quizzes and problems and in return earn coins for the game arcade within it. The program seems really similar to a program the school I work at currently uses for our students.

As far as interactions within the webinar, there weren’t many opportunities to do so. There was no twitter hashtag and the chat was disabled for viewers. The only way we could “chat” was to send questions to the company over the webinar and we would get a response from them. No one else could see our questions and all we could submit was questions. Even though that was the only option, I did submit two questions. One question was about the pricing for the program and the second question was to see if they had a similar program that was meant for high school specifically. Overall, the webinar was great but I do wish it had more chat features within it. 

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