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Creativity, Education, Teaching, Technology

Twitter: A Virtual Documentary

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope… and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.  ~Robert F. Kennedy

I follow Andy Carvin (@acarvin) on Twitter.  Andy is a senior strategist at NPR, and over the past several weeks his tweets (and re-tweets) have been largely dedicated to the revolutions taking place in the Middle East.  As I have read his postings — frequently direct observations from Egypt and Libya — I have been struck by the power of technology and social media.  Twitter has provided a nearly instantaneous stream of news, observations and opinions on these truly “world-changing” events. A virtual documentary.

Vintage Pyramids

flickr photo by modenadude

As these events have unfolded on my Twitter feed, I can’t help but imagine the powerful, and engaging, educational applications of social media.  For example, students utilizing Twitter to follow real-time events, Google Earth to gain a better understanding of specific regions, and Skype to connect and discuss these issues with students in other parts of the world.  I have been on Twitter (and participated in #edchat) long enough to know that many teachers, and schools, are taking advantage of these opportunities, but I also know that the majority are not.  Opportunities lost.

Incorporating technology to provide students with a meaningful and relevant awareness of the world around them is no longer an option–it is an obligation. Many of our students carry smart phones and iPods — a means of world communication — in their pockets.  They live in a world where connectivity is a reality.  Their ability to effectively participate and communicate in this shrinking world is every bit as important as the core content standards we discuss ad nausea. Do what you can–use the tools available to engage students in meaningful discussions about what is going on in the world so that they are prepared to be difference makers.  Create your own virtual documentaries…tweet on!

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About azjd

K-12 administrator, sports fanatic, bicycling enthusiast, and jedi in my own mind.

Discussion

One thought on “Twitter: A Virtual Documentary

  1. Nice post, Jeff.

    You’re ‘dead on’ when you write of “opportunities lost.”

    As educators, we need to positively resocialize deeply rooted behaviours that do not see the link between social media/technology and professional or organizational growth. I try to model for my staff and my administrative colleagues the powerful ways networking can change how education is viewed and delivered.

    I think that we need to reframe social networking as academic networking.

    We need to understand the needs of specific schools (diverse as they are) and through this understanding, offer educational leaders radically new ways to learn and connect through social media.

    In saying this, however, we also need to do the same with our students (i.e. take a look at Chris Kennedy’s post, “Kids Report School is Just Fine (sort of)” http://bit.ly/ezs1cpHw

    Posted by Gino Bondi | March 2, 2011, 11:34 am

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