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Learning About Cool Tools Blog

Thing #2: Online Communities & Personal Learning Networks

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Thing #2: Online Communities & Personal Learning Networks

Back to Twitter!

I joined Twitter a while ago at the urging of another school librarian who was doing some very interesting things using technology and the classroom. I was enthused when I first joined and saw the benefits of connecting with other professionals in the field of librarianship and particularly, for me, in the field of librarianship and technology. I have to admit, however, that I’ve let it slide ever since. Finishing up my graduate degree, applying for certification to extend my teaching license to include library media specialist, and beginning to work was overwhelming. Twitter was one of the things that went by the wayside for me. Again, I’d like to reiterate that choosing Tools #1 was a great choice as I had forgotten the benefits of Twitter. Just revisiting the posts of those who I am already following makes me regret letting this tool slip by for so long.

I was already following Joyce Valenza and was interested in a post she directed her followers to by Barbara Bray on the dangers of corporate driven education: http://barbarabray.net/2013/12/30/this-time-its-personal-and-dangerous/ Another librarian I’ve been following posted this interesting article about the popularity of YouTube videos, particularly focusing on the surprising rise of educational videos seen here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/12/30/257552199/hot-on-youtube-videos-about-video-games-and-science-too?sc=tw&cc=share

Since I’ve used this tool before, just getting back to it is my biggest accomplishment. I decided to explore ‘100 of the Best Twitter Tools For Teachers by Category.’ I liked the entry about TweetDeck and decided to give it a try. It is an easier visual experience for me with the columns organized already into a timeline. I like this way of experiencing Twitter and will use this for sure. Ironically, one of the people I’m following tweeted the link of a blog about student blogging, which added to my learning from the previous Cool Tool lesson! It can be found at: http://suewaters.com/2013/02/11/getting-more-out-of-student-blogging/ This blogger cautions educators to ‘Go slow to go fast’ in introducing blogging, encouraging scaffolding in introducing the experience. I find this good advice, which I will follow. I also appreciate her comment that if students don’t read and comment on each other’s posts, the blogs are basically an electronic bulletin board. I take to heart her emphasis on teaching students about their digital footprints as well as the importance of teaching quality writing.

Of the other 100 Best Twitter Tools, I quickly became overwhelmed. I tried out Twibes because I thought the name was a cute play on words. I ended up joining the Twibe Joyce Valenza recently join based on ISTE. I find myself feeling how cut off I’ve been in establishing myself with my degree and getting started. Twitter is a venue I will definitely be using on a more regular basis again to reconnect. I think this is especially essential for school librarians as we are usually the only ones in a building and as such lack a professional community on a daily basis. This tool definitely fills that gap.

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