Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Are You Using Twitter Chats?

     Education is a life-long journey and this mindset is something that is best modelled by educators.  I mean, how can we expect our students to develop a natural love for learning if we are unwilling to continue on the journey ourselves?  School divisions regularly incorporate professional development throughout the school year but these are often sporadic and not necessarily aligned with each individual teachers' interests; rather they often centre on a general theme or a specific divisional goal.

     While there are numerous conferences, classes, programs that educators can participate in to further their own education these options usually have an associated cost and may require travel or time away from work.  These stipulations often limit the amount of personal professional development an educator undertakes, especially if they are in a rural or remote location.

     Enter the wonderful world of social media...  specifically Twitter and the use of Twitter chats.  Twitter chats are an informal way for educators to participate in professional development with their colleagues from the comfort of their own home!  If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a Twitter chat, check out the introductory video below:

Twitter Chat Basics. (2017). Uploaded to YouTube by UNMCEDU. Available online at: https://youtu.be/q0OYSwAz8J8

     Twitter chats address many of the realms of effective professional development as identified by Penuel et al (2007).

1) Duration & Time Span 

"Professional development that is of longer duration and time span is more likely to contain the kinds of learning opportunities necessary for teachers to integrate new knowledge into practice" (p. 929)

- Most Twitter chats are weekly events so educators can revisit an idea multiple times through the chat setting or continue the conversation outside of the chat network with the colleagues they connect with

2) The Role of Colleagues

"...those that make extensive use of teacher collaboration are particularly successful in promoting implementation" (p.929)

- Twitter chat extends an educators circle of colleagues or Professional Learning Network (PLN) drastically
- Many schools/divisions also have a designated hashtag for their employees to connect with one another
- This can be especially helpful in smaller settings where there may be only one educator who specializes in a particular topic and may not have any local colleagues to discuss program specifics

3) Active Learning

"Professional development that incorporates time for instructional planning, discussion, and consideration of underlying principles of curriculum may be more effective in supporting implementation of innovations" (p. 931)

- Good Twitter chats have effective moderators that will allow for a topic to develop and for participants to examine all aspects necessary for implentation
- This may be introduced in one 1-hour chat but also revisited through the chat cycle as different moderators may focus on different aspects of the same topic
- Ongoing discussion with colleagues who are at various stages of their own personal implementation can assist in sharing experiences

4) Coherence

"Coherence refers to teachers’ interpretations of how well aligned the professional development activities are with their own goals for learning and their goals for students." (p. 931)

- Since participation in a Twitter chat is a personal choice, educators can decide on the topic that best addresses their needs
- Due to their informal nature, educators can also tune in and out of the conversation as they see fit

Not Sure Where to Start??

A wonderful group of 5 educators have put together a dedicated list of Twitter chats.  Scroll through the 100s of options to find a topic that works with your interests and schedule.

twitter chats for educators, using twitter chats in education, twitter chats for teachers, twitter chat as professional development
Education Chats Screenshot. (2018). Uploaded to Google Sites. Available online at: https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-official-list
You can read more about Twitter Chats and their use as professional development at Edutopia: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/introduction-twitter-education-chats-robert-ward

Beginning next week ManACE will be starting a Twitter "slow chat" which will run for a month rather than simply 1 hour.  This is the perfect opportunity to check out a Twitter chat, join the conversation, and get used to the nature of Twitter before jumping into something faster.  Hope to see you there!

Penuel, W., Fishman, B., Yamaguchi, R., & Gallagher, L. (2007). What makes professional development effective? Strategies that foster curriculum implementation. American Educational Research Journal, 44(4), 921-958.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Whats New With ManACE

Earlier this week I headed into the city to attend the annual planning meeting for ManACE (Manitoba Association for Computing Educators)

Manitoba Association for Computing Educators

After serving on the board for the 2013/2014 school year I took a leave of absence to focus on my M.Ed journey.  Now that I've graduated and am home on maternity leave I thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with this wonderful organization.

Here are some of the awesome things you want to know about!

1 ) #MTSPDDay SAGE Sessions
- ManACE is the only SAGE group to offer PD opportunities across the province rather than centralized in Winnipeg or Brandon! In fact, this year we are offering sessions in:
     - Winnipeg
     - Mitchell
     - Oakbank
     - Dauphin
     - Ste Rose
     - Winkler
- Check out the any of the 13 session descriptions and register easily through our EventBrite listing.

* I will be offering a session in Ste Rose that builds off of a topic I explored during my M.Ed journey.

ManACE, manitoba association of computing educators, SAGE, LIFT, MTSPDDay, manitoba professional development

2 ) Technology Information Nights (TINs)
- As part of our mandate to encourage the use of informational technology ManACE offers ongoing professional development through the year in the form of informal TINs
- These events are FREE, offer up great PD, and include food! What do you have to lose?
- Our first TIN will be held in Winnipeg as a kickoff to #MTSPDDay and boasts 3 amazing presenters.
- Read more and register for a spot through our EventBrite listing.

* Stay tuned for TIN Week in Manitoba coming this February!
3 ) How to FOLLOW Us
- Website www.manace.ca
- Instagram @manace_manitoba
- Twitter @manace_manitoba

* We will be using these platforms to encourage ongoing PD and discussion through the school year. Follow us to be a part of the conversation!

Hello Again!

Guess who!? 
After ANOTHER hiatus I am jumping back into the blogging game :)

     My blogging adventure has undergone many different chapters in my evolution as an educator; from my exploration as an education student (in my previous blog, Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching), to getting my first teaching position and sharing the adventures of our classroom, to starting my Masters and sharing my learning, to now.... a M.Ed graduate and mommy to two!  Here are some snapshots of the amazing milestones I've experienced since my last posts earlier this year:
kirsten thompson, ste rose school, MissLwbt, manitoba teacher, brandon university master of education
Master of Education - Curriculum & Pedagogy
Brandon University Spring 2018 Convocation
Kirsten Thompson, ste rose school, manitoba teacher, MissLwbt, Manitoba association for computing educators, ManACE
ManACE 2018 Educator of the Year Award
kirsten thompson, ste rose school, MissLwbt, manitoba teacher, manitoba photography, sara taplin
18 Month Maternity Leave with this beautiful family
Photo by Sara Taplin
So now what??

     With the change in Canada's maternity leave options I asked for an 18-month leave from my position; which was accepted! Not only does this allow me to spend more time with our young family but it allows me to return to work September 2019 without having to worry about interrupting another educator's year by returning in the spring.

     I would like to spend this year connecting with other educators, reflecting on the knowledge gained during my M.Ed journey, and streamlining some of my plans for when I return to the classroom. I hope there are still some readers out there in my "blogosphere"; I look forward to sharing with anyone who is still there!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Summative Annotated Bibliography

     The following is an annotated bibliography I created as part of my Graduate Summative Seminar course (I had previously shared my Graduate Portfolio here).  This bibliography includes 20 entries that have been especially significant to me throughout my M.Ed journey.

*I apologize for some of the formatting glitches that appear below in the embedded version.  This issue should be resolved by viewing the document through Google Docs directly here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Graduate Portfolio!

     After 21 years of formal education I am reaching the end of my current learning journey: my Masters degree!  While I truly believe that education is a lifelong experience; I am very excited to celebrate this accomplishment!  I know that I will begin another degree in the future (distant future; when my babies are in high school maybe) but for the time being I am concluding my journey at B.U.  I have officially started my LAST class of my M.Ed, Graduate Summative Seminar, and have begun compiling evidence of my learning through this experience.

     This has perhaps been the MOST difficult learning experience I have undertook simply because every other experience has allowed me to have one focus: being a student.  For the first time in my academic journey I was balancing a new career, pregnancy, a new child.... a busy toddler, and then another pregnancy.  School was no longer in a classroom with students and an instructor to devote your focus to... it was online, 100% independent, and usually completed in the late evening after a full day at work and/or with a child in your lap.  When I started this journey the idea that you were limited to one class a semester seemed laughable after going from a full 5-class course load.  When balancing all of life's other priorities, however, one class was sometimes impossible. 

     With that being said, the learning that I have experienced in the last 3 years has been invaluable to me as both an educator but also a mother, wife, and community member.  This has truly been the best PD I could have ever participated in and am a better person because of it.  I am very lucky to have had a solid support network around me including my husband, parents, in-laws, colleagues, and professors who have helped me meet my goals.

     Here is a look at my M.Ed journey, including a detailed look at each of the classes I participated in. (Click on the image to take you directly to my portfolio).

Kirsten Thompson, Ste Rose School, Brandon University Masters of Education, Graduate Summative Seminar
Program Portfolio Screenshot. (2018). Uploaded by Kirsten Thompson. Available online at: https://kthompson97.wixsite.com/programportfolio 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Encouraging Student Voice Through Social Media

     The following is an IGNITE-style presentation I created for my Internet for Teachers course.  We were tasked with selecting a topic of our choice related to education and technology that could be presented within the framework of an IGNITE presentation.

     If you are not familiar with what an IGNITE presentation is, speakers are essentially asked to discuss a topic within a 5 minute time frame using a series of visuals that automatically advance every 15 seconds.  The result is fast-paced presentation that "ignites" the audiences' thinking while requiring the speaker to think critically about their topic in order to effectively summarize their thoughts. You can read more about IGNITE presentations and see some examples HERE.

     The slides showcasing my visuals are embedded below. To see a transcript of my talk you can select "Open Speaker Notes" by clicking on the cog-wheel at the far-right.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Using Social Media for Online Learning

     The following is a newsletter I created for my Introduction to Educational Administration course regarding the significance of social media and how it can be used by educators (specifically administrators) as a professional learning tool.