Monday, November 15, 2010

Global Collaboration Part 2

For lack of a better way of putting it, this is basically a request for some ideas, links and suggestions about the potential of Twitter.  Over the past few weeks I have been trying to encourage staff, colleagues and members of the British Columbia Principals and Vice-Principals Association (BCPVPA) to use Twitter because it provides an effective communication and sharing tool.  The best part of it is the fact that it is free and global.  In a few weeks I will be meeting with some other members of the BCPVPA to look at effective communication between members across our province.  How is it a collaborative tool?  I guess there are many ways to try and explain it and Chris Kennedy in his post A Recipient in the Sharing Revolution summed it up really well.  A few days after I posted this blog I came across the blog of @Nunavut_Teacher who gave a great explanation of this very point in his post The Power of Twitter: My geographic location did not stop me from meeting these Tweeters!

Much of the talk about the power of Twitter centers around PLNs. Hashtags, such as #edchat, #education and #edtech are quick entries open up potential PLNs.  I am amazed at the world wide wealth of knowledge that is out there, but also the world wide wonder wonder when it comes to education.  When I wrote my post about Twitter I may have had 30-40 people following me (mainly fabulous colleagues from my school district in Coquitlam, BC), none outside of North America and yet if you look at the page views of my blog below you can see the global possibilities that are there in terms of contact with the World.  Last time I checked I know no one in South Korea, Russia, Japan nor South Africa and 1 person in Australia.

Today I had a brief Twitter chat about #Autism with @Grade1 @fiteach @MrWejr  as @MrWejr  was putting out a question about extrinsic motivation (I hear many times about using rewards 4 studnts w/ autism. I don't normally agree w/ rewards - is it diffrnt 4 stdnts w/ #autism? ) and had a number of people respond to it.  None of them live in his city and I was the only one in his province, yet we all have experience with Autistic children and are able to share our experience, strategies and thoughts.  It is amazing how many point of views and ideas that can be generated from the use of hashtags and PLNs.  A parent from his school had arranged for a video conference on Autism and @MrWejr  decided to tweet a few questions and then shared it with the staff and parents present.  They were amazed at what came out of a simple tweeted question.

@MrWejr uses his PLN very effectively.  Just today (a week later from the original post) he sent out another question.  This question was sent out to myself, a principal in China, Alberta, Pennsylvania, and Massachusettes. 5 principals working in 3 different countries discussing the same issue.  We all have different training, experience and school boards but we all work with kids.  Why limit ourselves to our neighbouring schools?  Are we ever going to get better at what we do by always conferring with the same people?

I am looking for examples of this.  If you have written a post on this topic or are able to share an experience that directly impacted your profession as a result of putting out a question via Twitter, could you please share.  I have found many great resources and fantastic articles and have my own personal experience but I am looking for other perspectives as I would like to have something more to demonstrate other than my own experience.  Any contributions would be greatly appreciated.


Below are some examples that I have picked up from an #edchat discussion:

How do we encourage other teachers not online to begin collaborating with peers? #edchat Be role models by doing it ourselves

What are the most effective tools for international collaboration projects? #Edchat wikispaces, skype, Flasmeeting, Animoto

Doing a stu twtr discussion tonite "what is the responsibility of the student" @ 7cnt time. Invite ur stu - use #ohs2010 - #edchat

You cannot understand your own culture completely without understanding it's relationships to other cultures. #edchat

show them the benefits of collab online "work smarter, not harder" #edchat


  1. Thanks Remi for the reference. I have found that a great entry point for educators is using Twitter to follow conferences. We all can't get to all the conferences we might want to attend, but we can lurk (and even particiapte) via Twitter. I am hoping to see that this week with the BCSSA Conference. It is expected that a preview of what is to come with personalized learning will be shared and if you are not there you can still participate via Twitter and the hash-tage #bcssa10. I would love to see the BCPVPA and other key organizations hastag their major events.

  2. I've converted a few of my colleagues from not using Twitter to becoming at least part time tweeps.

    The trick is to recognize what the entry point is for this particular group of people.

    For teachers, they want the ability to talk to other educators about their practice and to ask questions. This is generally where most people start. Sharing comes later.

    I assume the same is probably true of administrators, who in a lot of ways are actually MORE isolated in their practice than are teachers.

    You can also use the information gathering argument, which useful who are hoping to transform a system, but feel like they lack the information or knowledge to do so.

    I've written a post about the 2nd use of Twitter, where it becomes part of an information stream you direct.

    Post here:

    When I presented to a group of students about Twitter, I talked about the information flow, since they already connect to other students through Facebook. What surprised them was how few Google searches I do now given that I have the information I need coming to me, rather than expending so much effort finding it.