This week is parent teacher conferences. My new plan for this year is to use my laptop to show parents the student blogs and our class wiki. We have our conferences in the gym so I had our IT department get me a 25 foot cable to connect to the internet through the gym closet. I am excited to try this format for conferences.
My gut feeling is that many of the parents do not know or have not looked at their student’s blogs. The other thing that all teachers are doing is passing out “business cards.” The cards are color printouts of our names, e-mails, and class blogs or wikis. Again we are trying to get parents to visit the sites since this is the first year that we have all created them.
Has anyone else done this or something similar? How did it go for you?
With my recent posts about the challenges of getting connected in the ed-tech community, I was very happy to see a twitter mentor project on the twitter4teachers wiki. This is what I could have used in March when I signed up for twitter.
First, the story of my decision to use twitter. I had to learn about twitter as part of my “23 Things” class. It was Thing#21 and I did not like twitter. Re-reading my post is funny as it is obvious like many people I did not “get it” or as I recall I did not spend much time trying to “get it.” So I had no use for twitter and focused on reading blogs.
In March I attended my first MACUL conference. The first session I attended after the keynote was by Steve Dembo in the main ballroom. There were screens on the ends of the room that were very hard to see. I missed a link that I wanted so during the session I quickly joined twitter and asked for the link using a conference hashtag. I got an immediate response from Kevin Galbraith. After the presentation I went up and asked Steve (who I had never heard of by the way) about how to actually be heard and have conversations on twitter. I remember he explained that it was a catch-22 that no one was listening until you built relationships with people and that took time.
Well I think the time it has taken me is what led to my frustration blog about NECC and the difficulties of engaging the edu-blog community. The reality for me is that I personally knew no one on twitter or using any social media for that matter. I had no idea who to follow or how to build a PLN. I could have desperately used a guide to get me started on worthwhile blogs and tweets to follow. I since have worked hard to find some great educators to engage with. I now consider myself slightly beyond “newbie” stage with some great twitter friends who share and stretch my thinking.
But this wiki is exactly what teachers new to twitter could use. This is a great way for tech-ed leaders to mentor other teachers. A big part of my frustration with growing my twitter PLN is how hard I had to work to build it, not because I am lazy. My family would say I am addicted to twitter.
My real concern is that I want to share all of the great things that I am learning with the other teachers in my building and district. I do not think that the majority of teachers will work as hard to build a PLN. I reference Scott Mcleod’s excellent post today about enabling teachers by too much handholding when introducing technology to teachers. For better or worse, I agree with the comments that I would rather enable than to have teachers never try to use it at all. So I commend this wiki and hope that mentees will find it and use it.