I’m going to stick it in a post so I don’t forget!
Following an ICT session run over the last two days by our ICT tutor (@orunner) there has been a crop of my fellow PGCE students trying out twitter for the first time, or refreshing old accounts. It has been lovely to chat to them online but I know it isn’t easy to get started so I put together a few links to help people find their way through the twitterverse.
- Who to follow? Try my suggestions (includes University of Leicester Primary PGCE students)
Twitter allows you to create lists, which are personal to your account, but are a way of keeping track of particular groups of people. You can just look at the tweets from that list if you want to filter out the other noise on your account (perhaps sorting the educational people from the celebrities or non-teaching friends you follow). Another useful feature is that other people can see who is on my list, and once signed into their own twitter account, pick people from the list to follow. Pick them all, or pick a few. It is up to you. Try some, if they are too noisy, annoying or boring, unfollow them (they won’t mind, and if they do, then definitely unfollow them !).
2. Making the most of your twitter account
Tom Barrett (@tombarrett) has some great advice on how to kick start your account. Tom was teaching in Nottinghamshire until Easter 2011 and is now working freelance. He instigated the first Google Certified Teacher Academy in the UK, began the crowdsourced Interesting Ways series of presentations, among many other projects, which you can check out on his blog.
3. Join the wider community – follow a hashtag
Tom suggests using hashtags as a way to find people to follow and get a flavour of the community available to you on twitter. One way to do this is to join in #ukedchat which takes palce each week on a Thursday night. There is a wiki that supports (and is edited by) the community that tells you what it is all about and how to join in. You don’t have to join in the live sessions, you can just ‘listen in ‘ by searching for tweets using the hashtag #ukedchat and see what people are talking about.
As we all depart the safety of the University for our first teaching placements, I hope that twitter will be a supportive place to chat, where we can help each other and just be there to say hello at the end of a long day. Hopefully, the wonderful teaching community will also support us and remind us of some the great advice in Tim Handley’s (@tomhenzley) excellent PGCE Survival Guide (which was made by contributions from the twitter community).
Whilst my kids have been on half term this week, I’ve been in University working on a cross-curriculum project on water with a small group of my talented colleagues (one of them reworked Cliff’s summer holiday to hilarious effect). The timetable has been a little different this week to enable us to work in small groups, so we have had some study and been able to work remotely on a simple VLE-type system (Honeycomb – not the Android OS). Consequently, I found myself in the library on Tuesday for an hour before lunch doing some reading. Fortunately twitter was keeping me company and I saw that the first PedR meeting of the season was about to start, so off I went to join my former colleagues and eat my lunch. It was wonderful to take part in a discussion about pedagogy in publishing and pick up some information about eBooks from a Jon Crowe of OUP.
I do miss my colleagues in the College but I am having such a great time with my PGCE peers that I didn’t even mind missing the PedR cake to get back to them. Must be good, eh?
Following a science audit (a series of multiple choice questions on primary science topics) I discovered I didn’t know as much about the Earth and Moon as I thought I did (and yes, before you ask I *did* get the biology, chemistry and genetics all right – phew). To get us to act on our areas of weakness, we need to give a 15 minute presentation to our peers on a topic in that area.
Why does the moon appear to change its shape at different times in the month?
Here are some slides summarising what I did – I didn’t use them, as this was a hands on exercise.
Reflection on the exercise:
Research: the motivation to research the topic was definitely helped by knowing I would be sharing what I learnt with others (made sure I really understood it to be able to answer questions).
I found some great information online, including some nice youtube videos that showed demonstrations of setting up a ‘sun’ (torch), ‘earth’ (basketball) and ‘moon’ (ping pong ball on a stick), and showing how the shadow and the reflected light of the phases of the moon are created. Links bookmarked on delicious.
However that led me to a major problem. I got stuck from the flat diagrams showing this type of demonstration – how when we are on Earth do we see the Moon when it is on the side between the Sun and the Earth? Surely the Moon is on the sunny side of the Earth – you know – the part in the sunshine i.e. during the DAY time. Isn’t it night when we see the Moon?
Fortunately I have an incredible PLN and so tweeted my frustration after a sleepless night worrying about the state of the moon phases. Within a few minutes I had a link from Tony Hirst to a brilliant interactive demonstration that showed me exactly what I needed. I could sleep easy !
Organising the presentation: Once I had got the topic straight in my head I started thinking about how to demonstrate this in easy steps. I wanted to turn this into an activity if possible. Twitter came to the rescue yet again…
Thanks to @audm, a PGCE student elsewhere in the country, who had seen her PGCE colleagues showing this demonstration, I had the outline of a great activity ready to use. I loved the idea of getting my peers to draw the phases themselves, I could see that it was a great way to answer the questions I had had about viewing the moon from different places too.
One of the pre-course tasks we were set was to read from children’s literature, review the books and think about how we might use them in the classroom. The list reflected the multi-cultural nature of the city centre of Leicester and gave an insight in to the diverse backgrounds that some children may have experienced before coming to school. As I am taking the Upper Primary course, most of the books were for older children but there were several that I felt dealt with some complex emotional issues that were beyond primary age level.
I used Evernote on the iPad and iPod touch to take notes on each book, using a photo of the cover to remind me what it looked like. I’ve published my notes directly from Evernote, they are very much notes and thoughts rather than nicely written reviews and prose so don’t be too hard on me. The books I felt were most challenging for Upper Primary were:
- Abela, by Berlie Doherty (contained some very strong imagery, female circumcision)
- Tulip Touch, by Anne Fine (which was brilliant but very raw in places and ends in a serious case of arson).
- The Illustrated Mum, by Jacqueline Wilson (young mum suffering from manic depression and the effect this has on her daughters, very distressing at the end)
I am going to discuss them with the year 6 teacher I’ll be working with this week to seek her opinion on how she would handle these books in class.
A note to remind myself that the Book Trust provides a wealth of information about children’s books and their best book guides are a great starting place for new literature. However, I note that the review for Abela doesn’t mention the circumcision, would be useful to have a guide somewhere that gave this level of detail/ warnings for teachers (I’m sure there will be something like this somewhere!).
Those of you that read this blog will know that I am soon to leave the University of Leicester as an employee (only to return as a student in September to start a Primary School PGCE).
I will still be online in many places especially on twitter @jobadge and will keep blogging (probably here) so I know I will be in contact with most of you for a long time to come. However, I would like to mark the end of one very happy phase of my working life and the start of a new one by asking anyone that wants to come and say goodbye to a mega tweet up on my last official day, Friday 15 July 2011. It is only right and fitting that we meet in the David Wilson Library (DWL) at 10.30 am for #cake and beverages. The first University of Leicester tweet-up was back in 2009, and we’ve used the tag #cake and actual cake as the cement in our online/offline network ever since (did we have one before that? maybe it was just me and Alan and Stuart?!). I’m guessing that Alan is calling this #pumpkinday as this the day the spell wares off and I turn back into a pumpkin for the summer before hoping a magic fairy transforms me into a proto-teacher in September!
I’ve been very honoured to work with some fantastic colleagues and friends over the last 7 years and I hope you will come along so I can thank you for making my work fun, enjoyable and productive.
So join me at 10.30am Friday 15 July 2011, DWL cafe for #pumpkinday and #cake
I try to sign up to most online services when they come my way, partly to check them out but often as a land grab to keep my username of choice alive as an online identity. More often than not, after a little experimentation, my account may lay dormant and not get used again, or later develop into something else, part of the redundancy of being online in lots of spaces.
I signed up with LinkedIn what seems like ages ago and have never really understood it and certainly didn’t use it very often. I don’t find it a social space, the imported tweetstreams have always put me off, since twitter is about communication and if you aren’t there to answer, it is just about broadcasting.
LinkedIn has been hovering on my horizon for a while, a few people have mentioned it in different contexts, in particular Matt Mobbs talking about its use as a career tool. Following the Turnitin meeting last week, and prior to attending the google users group meeting, I had a couple of connection requests, so today I gave it some serious attention. There are lots of reasons for me to look at LinkedIn again, I’m going to be changing career and have already started to think about how I can consolidate the connections I’ve made and the work I’ve done over the last seven years I’ve been at Leicester. This blog has been a place for me to keep the outputs of the work I’ve done, but showing potential employers that you are a well-connected person and have a good online reputation is more difficult. The could follow me on twitter, they could ask my tweeps about me, but they aren’t likely to be that direct. They are more likely to Google me (that is what I would do!). LinkedIn struck me suddenly as a place that I can show how I am connected to those I tweet with and work with, and how important those people have been in the work that I’ve done. Everything I’ve done has always been collaboration, my work would be nothing without my colleagues there to help, comment, feedback and inspire me (gosh that sounds horribly saccharine, but unfortunately it’s true, so you’ll just have to wince and carry on!).
I can’t say that I will be ‘resident’ in LinkedIn, but I can see that I need to work on my profile and start to pay forward some of the benefit I’ve had from my colleagues by making recommendations about how we’ve worked together. There is a problem with this, firstly, I’m not connected with all the people I follow on twitter (anyone know a neat way to make that happen?) and secondly the unsolicited recommendations I’ve sent so far have been welcomed but somewhat surprised people. I’ve changed the way I think about recommendations, I used to see them as one step away from a formal reference, but I thought today about micro-chunking them – small acknowledgements of contributions to specific projects. I wonder if this will work, or if people will automatically be suspicious and think I’m fishing for compliments?
I’d appreciate some feedback – am I being too creepy (as in -treehouse/-stalker/-brown-nosing) ? How do you use LinkedIn? Am I way off the mark?! I’m interested to know!
It’s been really great to see the tweeting community grow and make some solid links between DMU and University of Leicester, links held together by #cake, of course. I thought it was time to say hello to a few tweeps that have appeared on the scene.
If you haven’t already, can you please add yourself to the list using this google form?
Tweet up fixed for Friday 12 November 2010, 2pm in the David Wilson Library Cafe. If you haven’t come along before, we will be the ones with iPod touches, netbooks and of course #cake. We all pretty much look like our avatars, including Gareth @llordllama
I was trying to reply to Ann Marie’s question about how to tweet URLs from safari on the iPad, iTouch or iPhone, when I realised it wouldn’t fit into 140 characters. So, here is the longer version, I use several different methods:
1. Bookmarklet – This is a way to edit the bookmarks that you can save in Safari on the iTouch. The one I use came as a suggestion with the original Tweetie when I downloaded it as an app. Here is how to do it (mobile friendly page) I know you can also do this with twitterlator, but haven’t found if you can use it with Twitter for iPhone since twitter acquired tweetie as their official app. The bookmarklet is easy to use, just click on the bookmark link when you want to tweet a link and click ‘post to tweetie’.
2. Via posterous – posterous.com is great for moving between platforms. Use the ‘+’ button on the safari browser to ‘mail link to this page’ and email the link to posterous. If you set up your posterous account to tweet, then email directly to email@example.com, posterous will automatically tweet the link for you. Like this. (tip – save this email address in your iTouch contacts list to make it even quicker to email).
3. Good old copy and paste I usually use Tweetdeck or Twitter for iphone as my tweeting apps of choice, both have URL shorteners, so if you paste in a long URL, tap the shortener link, they will zap them down to size for you.
Anne Marie also asked about bookmarking – I know she is a delicious fan, and so am I. I use two methods:
1. I use the mobile site to bookmark on my iTouch. This is a regular bookmarklet on my safari that I use on my Mac and put on my iTouch by syncing my bookmarks across (no faffing involved with editing the java script here, the one on the Mac works directly on the iTouch once synced). Just like the tweetie bookmarklet, this is a simple click of the bookmarking page to push over to delicious.
2. Packrati.us is really useful for bookmarking tweets with URLs. I started collecting everything I tweeted, but found it got too messy and I ended up with a lot of untagged bookmarks. So I used the very flexible settings to only copy URLs that I add the hashtag #bm and then any other relevant delicious tags. So I usually retweet something of interest (which also serves to forward it to my network on twitter) and add the relevant tags. This works really well. See what I’ve bookmarked so far using this system. The tag ‘via:packrati.us’ is always added.
We are pleased to announce the second ESTICT event to be held in Edinburgh on Thursday 29th April 2010. The venue for the event is the centrally-located eScience Institute (NESC) at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Jim Boyle from the University of Strathclyde is presenting a keynote with the intriguing title ‘Truth, Lies and Voting Systems’ and we have invited a number of speakers to talk on a wide variety of topics relating to Electronic Voting Systems and their innovative use. A voting question design workshop will investigate writing EVS questions for different pedagogic purposes.
The agenda for the event
- Nick Bowskill (Glasgow) – ‘Shared Thinking as Group-Oriented Generative Learning’
- Martin Hawksey (JISC RSC Scotland NE) – ‘TWEVS – Twitter EVS’
- Carol Withey (Greenwich) – ‘PollEverywhere‘ (Voting by texting SMS)
- Marina Sawdon (Durham) – ‘Promoting long-term knowledge retention by use of Keepad Audience response system’
Registering for the event
Please register online at the eScience Institute’s website via: http://tinyurl.com/register-estict-edinburgh
Travel, Accommodation and Maps
It is easy to get to Edinburgh by train, by flying and by car. There is some information on this available from the registration page above. The event organisers at the eScience Institute can also personally help you find accommodation should you want to stay overnight. In addition, we have created a Google Map showing the venue location, train station, route to venue and various local places of interest, cafes, etc: