Twitter Chats and Webinars

Part of the assignments for the past couple weeks has been to participate in Twitter Chats and Webinars.  This assignment was particularly challenging for me because my 2-month old daughter wants my attention all day and doesn’t care if I’m trying to attend a webinar or participate in a chat 🙂  Despite real life getting in the way, I was able to complete the assignment and I learned some interesting and valuable things.  Below are descriptions of the sessions I attended and screen shots of some of the ways I contributed.

Twitter Chat #1 Sunday at 9EST, #blogchat

It took me a couple tries to find a chat that was actually happening. I wanted to participate in #probchat, but nobody was saying anything, so I tried #ccsschat and same thing there. I tried #blogchat and that was the complete opposite! incredibly active. It was a challenging first chat to try to participate in because I could barely read the tweets they were coming in so fast. The topic was on personalities and how it affects your blog. Very interesting, but would have been better if I could keep up!

Twitter Chat #2 Tuesday at 12pm EST, #edchat

This twitter chat was about authentic learning and how it fits into a 21st Century school system. This chat was just as fast paced as the first one I attended, but I felt a little more comfortable with it. Having never used twitter before this course I’m learning how it works as I go, but I’m still so slow. I felt like anytime I saw something I wanted to respond to or retweet it took me so long to do it that there were so many other tweets that came in that mine was irrelevant. I’m sure it’ll be easier each time, practice makes perfect!

Twitter Chat #3 (4, and 5), #teacherfriends

I started out trying to participate in #mdedchat, but nobody was participating. So then I tried #STEMchat, and same thing there, during the next hour I decided to try #teacherfriends and this chat was incredibly busy! The topic was writing and there were lots of teachers sharing strategies and resources for writing. The tweets were coming in so fast I couldn’t read them all, but I didn’t see much as far as writing in the math classroom, but there were lots of great strategies I could try to adapt.

Twitter Chat #4 Wednesday 1pm EST #ipadchat

At first it looked like this chat was going to be another dud like a few I’ve tried to participate in, but there were several people interested in participating (including some from our class!) so we had an impromptu chat. Someone asked about formative assessment apps and the chat took off from there. Lots of people sharing apps and ideas, it was very useful! I don’t have much experience using ipads in the classroom, right now I only have one, but within the next few years my school district is implementing a 1:1 ipad program so I definitely need to learn. I’ll keep #ipadchat in mind in the future to learn from other people and hear suggestions/tools for using ipads in the classroom.

teacherfriends chat3 teacherfriends chat2 teacherfriends chat ipadchat2 ipadchat1 ipadchat edchat3 edchat2 edchat blogchat2 blogchat

The four webinars that I chose to participate in are listed below.

The first Webinar I attended was through edWeb.net on Adaptive Math Learning, called Using Data to Support Teaching and Learning in a Blended Learning Math Program. The three presenters were all from an elementary school. They discussed Dreambox and MobyMax, but focused mostly on Dreambox. This program allows students to work at their own pace and ability and based on performance Dreambox generates appropriate questions/content. The teacher has access to real-time data to use for flexible grouping, which the program will do for you. The presenters discussed the process they went through to implement this blended learning approach as well. This was my first webinar so it was interesting to see how a webinar worked. It was also interesting to participate by asking a few questions in the live chat. I also saw my PLN group member Darin Gray asking questions, which was pretty cool!

The second webinar I attended was called Contemporary Technology for the Autism Classroom. While I am not a special education teacher, almost every year I have had at least one student on the Autism spectrum in one of my classes, so I thought this might be beneficial. They discussed SMARTBoards (the projection system) with the Smart notebook software, SmartResponse system and SmartDocument reader, Gazepoint GP3 Eye Tracker, and software including TeachTown, Zac Browser, Boardmaker, Vizzle, video editing software (iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas 13), and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices such as Dynavox, tablets, many apps, and finished with emerging technologies (wearables).

The 3rd webinar I attended was on Strategies and Tips for Getting Started with Digital Storytelling. This webinar provided some tools, ideas and techniques for using digital storytelling with students. The presenter discussed giving students a picture and a sentence to go along with it, then changing the sentence to see how the story changes, “Storytelling Speed Bump” (new character, change setting, etc.), giving them a sentence that has to be in the story somewhere. This webinar was not very helpful to me professionally because as a high school math teacher we don’t write stories or have time to do things like this, and most of the ideas seemed geared more toward elementary grades. I also preferred the format of the other webinars I attended more as they did not require a paid subscription to obtain a certificate of completion.

The 4th webinar I attended was called Minds and Hearts Together – Essential Tools for Learning: Nurturing social-emotional learning in the early years. Even though I am a high school teacher I thought this might be a beneficial webinar because my school has recently started to emphasize relationship driven classrooms and making sure we are meeting students social-emotional needs. Also, as a new mom Iam interested on a personal level. The presenter discussed how to connect mind and heart in education. “Brains are built, not born”. She discussed SEL and the five domains of heart-mind well-being from www.heartmind.org as well as the importance of circle time. She also talked about the 7 C’s.

Webinar 1 Webinar 1a Webinar 2 Webinar 4 Webinar 4a

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Twtter

The five new hashtags that I chose to follow this week are: #education, #teaching, #edtech, #mathchat, and #STEM. I’m really excited about seeing what comes across #mathchat especially. From what I’ve seen so far it looks like it’s people posting articles, pictures, problems, and a score of other things all related to math. The #education looks to be a very broad collection of anything education related. In watching the tweets just this morning I’ve seen things ranging from education related journal articles, political tweets regarding education, job postings, quotes about education and all kids of other things. Lots of great things, but if you’re interested in something specific in the education field you would definitely want to consider using a different hashtag to narrow down the tweets. The #teaching a lot like the #education, but for teaching. There are job posts, articles, advice for new teachers, requests for syllabi, and so much more. The #edtech has many of the same types of things the #education has, but the tweets are narrowed down to mostly things related to the field of educational technology. Finally, the #STEM contains things related to science, technology, engineering, and math, but not necessarily all in an educational sense.

I’ve seen lots of interesting tweets so far from #mathchat, but there were a few that stuck out to me. Being a high school math teacher I have either Algebra 1 or Algebra 2, and Geometry in my schedule almost every year. This morning I noticed a little blog post about visual patterns and find the sum of squares and sum of cubes formulas for multiplying polynomials. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I liked the visual (basically using colored algebra tiles) to show how the pattern works. I teach this concept pretty much every year and we often use algebra tiles when working with multiplying polynomials so this a good visual to use for the formulas. Another resource I found was a geometry problem I may use the next time I teach an Honors Geometry course. The problem was to find the difference between the areas of the circumcircle and the incircle of an n-sided regular polygon. In the past we’ve always constructed the circumcircle and incircle, and worked with lots of properties of regular polygons, but never really combined the two topics. The problem might be a bit too advanced for a non-honors class as far as the algebra required to solve it goes, but it would be a great extra credit problem or just challenge problem. The last resource I want to mention has nothing to do with being a math teacher, but being a mom to a now two-month old baby girl I was very interested. It’s a list of activities to support math development from ages 0-36 months, and there are some great activities and ideas that I will definitely keep in mind to use with my daughter as she gets older.

In #teaching there are lots of great resources and ideas that I found particularly interesting and relevant to me. First of all one of the resources I hadn’t expected to find was the number of job postings for teachers! Companies and school districts are tweeting available listings for all kinds of teaching or teaching related jobs. Another interesting tweet I saw was a journal article about the decline of millennials in the teaching profession. This decline is causing major teacher shortages across the country as fewer college students are enrolled in teacher preparation programs and there has been an increase in the number of people who are teaching 3 to 4 years then leaving the education profession. The article also talked about college students’ view of education as a major as well as the lack of high-achieving individuals interested in pursuing education as a major. Another resources I found was an article with 10 tips for new teachers. Even though I’ll be starting my 8th year teaching in the fall, it was an interesting read and I wish I had known some of the things mentioned when I first started teaching. If I ever have a student teacher this is definitely something I would share with them.

As a high school math teacher I’m always looking for ways to integrate curriculums to give my students a more holistic and relevant view of math, and from what I’ve seen the #STEM might help me with this. One tweet I found was a link to an article about Microsoft encouraging the use of the game Minecraft as a resources to help teach STEM subjects. I don’t know anything about Minecraft personally, but throughout the last few years I have definitely heard students talk about and seen students play it so it seems like something students might find interesting. Another good resource I found was a tweet of an article from Education Week’s blog titled “What is This Thing Called STEM?”. The article discusses what STEM is, as well as talks about some of the challenges school districts face in integrating and implementing STEM. The third resource I found from this hashtag was a YouTube video of a TEDx talk at Georgia State University about how the future of STEM depends on diversity. The speaker discusses how the majority of people working in STEM fields are white males, and she makes the case that STEM needs more diversity (people of color, women, people with disabilities, etc). This was a very interesting a thought provoking talk and is something I would definitely consider showing my math classes.

From #education and #edtech I saw a lot of similar types of tweets. With #education the three interesting resources I saw were job listings, articles on humanitarian aid for education, and an article on laptop/tablet safety in the classroom. In #edtech there was an article on how to use social media for interactive exit slips, an article on ideas for using Smartboards, and a blog post on top education apps teachers love.

Overall, in the short amount of time that I’ve been using Twitter I’ve already started seeing it’s value to me as an educator. I haven’t seen many applications for using Twitter in my classroom yet, but as far as just-in-time professional development for myself. I would definitely need to find the appropriate hashtags for the particular topic I’m looking for, but since Twitter provides immediate constantly updating information and resources it seems like an excellent way to learn professionally. The only issue I really see so far is that there may be too much to sort through to find the relevant and worthwhile resources sometimes. For example, I could almost constantly scroll through the new tweets that popped up under #education and I could never hope to look through all of them. It would be easy to miss something great or spend too much looking through things trying to find what I’m looking for. All things considered I’m excited about continuing to use Twitter to help me grow professionally!