Tag Archives: Twitter

Wrangling and Managing a Personal Learning Network


flickr photo shared by Mathias.Pastwa under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

Note: This post is an extended reflection from the EdTech Team’s Teacher Leader Certification Program. I am participating in the initial cohort.

Organizing a PLN is a kind of continual chase. I try just about everything if I have heard of it. I am always investigating tools to see what they do, if I will like them, how they might make things easier or a better experience.

If I just focus on Twitter, there is a constellation of Twitter apps that I tend to use. I like Tweetdeck for certain kinds of tasks. For instance, if I am at an event and live tweeting Tweetdeck is definitely a tool of choice. I like to keep those streams flowing fast.

Sometimes, I may even have a separate tab open with a single Twitter open if I want to track something like a separate tag or person and keep the flow slow and manageable. It all kind of depends on the need or specific use.

I also like to occasionally use Storify to assemble streams of tweets for a specific event in a more formal, presentational way, whether I am physically present at an event or not.

For managing multiple accounts, something  I do lot less than I once did, I like HootSuite more. I also like to keep fewer streams moving slower in HootSuite. It just seems to work best that way. I particularly like the AutoScheduling feature and wish I used it more. Yet, I tend to use the constellation of Twitter tools more on the hoof. So I don’t spend an immense amount of time strategically planning a lot of tweets, although I have tinkered about with it occasionally.

Yet, I tend to use Twitter and associated tools more on the hoof. So I don’t spend an immense amount of time strategically planning a lot of tweets, although I have tinkered about with it occasionally.

I have used Buffer to schedule tweets too but have never latched onto it with the same interest as some of these other tools mentioned.

I have been using Pocket for a couple of years now and like it. I tend to use it most in conjunction with Twitter. I have to admit though that I do not go back to a lot of things I mark in Pocket as much as I ever thought I would. Instead, it becomes a bit like a filtered database of material that I might search, a bit like Diigo or Delicious. I still use those too.

I will also mention Itsy. It is a downloadable Twitter app that runs locally and is visually very simple and clean. I like the look of it more than anything. Sometimes, I will keep it open along the left side of my desktop, alongside other windows I have open and doing other things. It blends in nicely and allows me to monitor Twitter loosely without it being quite as distracting.

Actually, I like to use different tools for different purposes. I tend to favor a set of simpler tools that do one or two things elegantly over a single one that tries to do everything. Plus, I periodically tinker around with a handful of recipes in IFTT tweaking how I track, collect, and share resources. It is a never ending process, for me. I try to take time to just play occasionally.

Periodically, I tinker around with a handful of recipes in IFTT, tweaking how I track, collect, and share resources. For example, if I save something to Pocket I automatically tweet it. Messing about with PLN organization and using a tool loke IFTT is a never ending process, for me. I try to make time to just play occasionally.

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On the Origins of a Personal Learning Network


flickr photo shared by Cea. under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Note: This post is an extended reflection from the EdTech Team’s Teacher Leader Certification Program. I am participating in the initial cohort.

General Thoughts

Early in my teaching career, I was fortunate enough to get involved in with the National Writing Project. Becoming part of that network of K-U educators, kind of kickstarted the development of my own personal learning network as an educator on a digital front. Of course, I “followed” other educators prior to attending a summer institute, but NWP influenced me in countless ways, leading to a number of unanticipated branches and interesting additions to my PLN.

Apart from that, I have been cultivating my PLN through all my other experiences, both analog and online. I still use a few different RSS readers, following a fair amount of blogs, as well as Twitter and other social media tools. I even subscribe to a fair number of old-time email newsletters. In fact, I have been thinking I may produce one myself.

On the sharing front, I still have this personal blog, although I do not update it often enough. There was a time when I was on a genuine tear and posting every day. Then changes at work took time away from that endeavor for awhile and I have never completely recovered to that level of production.

As it is, I write regularly about edtech related items for HPS Digital, a work-related endeavor.

Currently, I share most items I am reading or grab my interest on Twitter. I still occasionally add items to my Flipboard magazine, but that was highly tied to my more productive blogging period.

I am always kind of tweaking my workflow around how to share with greater ease. It is a perpetual project.

Value & Benefits

A good, well-tended PLN can proved immeasurable value. On a basic level, a PLN offers a highly effective filter. There is so much content generated on a daily basis that it can easily overwhelm anyone.

Cultivating a strong PLN is the first level of defense from becoming overwhelmed. Since no one can drink from a firehose, my PLN can reduce the stream to a more manageable flow. It requires effort, but it is well worth it.

As an educator recognizing this aspect of a PLN is a not just valuable to me, but it is something that I can share with other educators and students. A strong PLN can trump Google every time. It privileges humans over machines and taps the collective intelligence and wisdom of people I have selected on purpose.

That human element can make all the difference. For example, what students often do not understand is that people might be the most valuable resource in almost any kind of research. Plus, relationships improve our lives.

In terms of my goals in building my PLN, I am always on the lookout for people that have expertise in areas of my interest. Consequently, I am always trying to identify the important players in a field. I am always adding, in that sense. However, think I may need to sharpen my focus a bit more to increase its effectiveness. That requires a bit more tending than I necessarily do.

However, think I may need to sharpen my focus a bit more to increase its effectiveness. That requires a bit more tending than I necessarily do. There is no magic vetted list. It is in the creation and curation of that makes it personal.

Getting Serious as a #SEACCR – Week 3 Reflections

Photo: Reflections

Reflections – cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Dead Habits

Use these guiding questions as you consider how you contributed to the learning of others:

Sharing Resources & Ideas

I have not been the best sharer of curated sources for this course, thus far. However, I suspect that may change in the coming weeks. There are a few projects that I might be able to offer assistance by sharing some known resources. So I suspect that I may be adding tot he Diigo group. Apart from the articles included in my annotated bibliography, I don’t believe I shared a lot of other resources. I have had my hands full trying to pursue my own line of inquiry.

Image: #SEACCR Tweeted Times newspaper

#SEACCR Tweeted Times newspaper – aggregating course activity

Still, I have been trying to continue to model different ways of archiving a lot of the Twitter chatter associated with class.  I do think that more frequent Twitter updates of the SEACCR Tweeted Times newspaper that I created a couple of weeks ago, from the list I created, might be useful. It is a much cleaner way to read the latest activity from the course. Plus, assigns a ranking of top tweets, based in part on retweeting. I have now automated a tweet promoting the page of collected #SEACCR tweets to be published daily at 4:00 PM Alaskan Time. This should anticipate our weekly Twitter chats, which is an active period for fellow classmates. I may need to adjust the time. That is another item on which I need to solicit some feedback.

I am not sure how much use others will find the Tweeted Times paper, but it is more an experiment. I will try to solicit some more feedback in the next Twitter chat. I think not publishing regular updates very likely left it a forgotten resource by many. Plus, it may have been just a bit too much for anyone new to Twitter. However, by now most of the participants have been tweeting with much greater regularity.

Impact

It is pretty difficult to discern the impact I have made by participating in this course and community. I like to think that I am having some, but I am definitely removed from the Alaskan cohort, no matter how much I might try to stay connected.

In some ways, I have had to begin burrowing in my own head a bit more, as I suspect many other participants, trying to fashion a path that I will begin to take for my own inquiry. Narrowing and focusing a question, while investigating what is already out there in the research community is time consuming. Focusing on my own concerns necessarily cuts into the time for sharing, exchanging, and engaging with the community. Similarly, contributions from others become less visible and harder to track. Again, as everyone begins to emerge with a clearer vision of what they are pursuing and where they are headed, I imagine opportunities will arise where a greater impact can be made.

One area that I continue to try and make an impact is through commenting and encouraging colleagues by reading and responding to their blog posts. I have also been tweeting when I comment, in hopes of encouraging others to read and comment on those posts as well. I am not sure that it is working, but it also serves as a record of my own activity for myself, which has been useful. That is a tip I would encourage others to consider doing too.

It is really interesting and informative to read others’ blogposts. Of course there is the benefit of reading about their evolving project, which should reassure anyone that they are not alone. Yet, I find there is a lot to be gleaned from how individuals go about posting, including content, structure, and style. My observations make me think more about how I blog, something I have been giving a lot of thought for the last few months, as I have been making a concerted effort to post daily during the work week and at least once over the weekend.

Tracking Twitter Activity

Keeping with the tradition of using Storify to highlight contributions to the weekly Twitter chat, Here are a few tweets and exchanges that characterize some of my contributions and conversations from the week. Storify is proving to be a really useful tool, far more than I previously thought. It is perfect for collecting and curating Twitter activity in a narrative way, which is useful for an open course like this that leverages Twitter use by participants.

by  – Mon, Sep 30 2013 16:46:55

Tweets of a #SEACCR – Week 3

  1. Finally getting to read some fellow #SEACCR people’s reflections. @fadwa has solid list of differences in ELA standards…
  2. Interesting thoughts about #SEACCR action research question by @barbradonachy differentiationdiary.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/new…
  3. Here are examples of how I tweet the blogposts both to promote the work of others, as well as track my own activity. It is an easy practice that others might find worth doing, as well.
  4. BTW If anyone wants to be added to the #seaccr list I made twitter.com/akh003/lists/s… just let me know – don’t know if I missed anyone
  5. This was an effort to ensure that I have all the #SEACCRs listed in  Twitter list, which I also use to generate the SEACCR Tweeted Times newspaper. The list seems appreciated and having an impact.
  6. I am thinking my #seaccr question will give me excuse to finally get @hickstro Troy Hicks’ new book – been wanting to get it anyway
  7. @akh003 That’s great, thanks. Is #seaccr a teacher research project? That seems to be what I am getting from the tweets.
  8. @hickstro @akh003 It is – a nine week experience to help teachers conduct research in their classrooms! #seaccr
  9. @ak_leeg @akh003 Sounds great! Please let me know if I can be of help… I am always interested in teacher research. #seaccr
  10. @hickstro @akh003 #seaccr we’d love for you to come in at 4:30 AKDT on Tuesday or Thursday with us! A wonderful group of AK teachers others
  11. As it turns out, Troy Hicks’ new book may not impact my inquiry as much as I originally thought. However, mentioning him did prompt a response, which may result in his participating in one of our upcoming Twitter chats which would no doubt benefit everyone. Hicks is a great ambassador scholar.
  12. Wondering if I can find any #seaccr literature on using Google Docs with students that isn’t propaganda, plenty on reader response grps
  13. @akh003 #seaccr I wouldn’t focus on Google Docs…that won’t be the end all – it will be the way you use it – your teaching strategies & Mgmt
  14. @ak_leeg I hear you, but I am interested in how the built in digital collaboration of GDocs changes the writing process for students #seaccr
  15. @akh003 #seaccr ah – well I’ll do some looking and see if I can find…I’m sure there are articles and conf proceedings. Tried Google Scholar?
  16. @ak_leeg Will do. Just starting the #seaccr hunting and gathering
  17. @JNUrain @ak_leeg Not quite. More interested in the tool’s impact on reader response groups and the writing process. #seaccr
  18. @JNUrain @ak_leeg Wondering what the impact actually is? Does that live interactive ability record comments and such help or hinder? #seaccr
  19. Here is a longer exchange around my inquiry that helped clarify and lead to an instructional video from Dr. Lee Graham. That in turn helped me identify a number of potentially helpful sources to read.
  20. @RazorMath @BarbraDonachy @ak_teacher I’m gatherin you all know the mother of differentiation in Carol Ann Tomlinson #seaccr – met her once
  21. @akh003 @BarbraDonachy @ak_teacher #seaccr – I didn’t, but I actually haven’t looked into anything. thanks! You just gave me some good info
  22. THis exchange was all about sharing knowledge and assisting a colleague with a potential resource.
  23. @fadwaedais So I am really fascinated what you find with this. I can tip you to a bunch of stuff that they have done in Australia #seaccr
  24. @fadwaedais You might want to take a look at the work of David Rose and JR Martin from Univ. of Sydney #seaccr – fascinating stuff as alt.
  25. Similarly, continuing to pass information that may be helpful, based on prior knowledge and project.

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Final Thoughts from the Week that Was

Ultimately, I was able to get a good start on gathering up some research material and articles. I still hope to dig a bit deeper into the roots of peer response groups, since that is a considerable foundation for my line of inquiry. I know from reading and experience that quality peer response groups are predicated on explicit teaching and practice. It takes time to cultivate practices and habits that are beneficial. My hope is to find some additional methods and strategies to improve the groups as well as glean insights into how Google Docs might be better leveraged in the process.