Twitter Tuesday: Students Finding Their Voice

In case you don’t know this already, today is Tuesday.  Twitter Tuesday, that is.

In our AP United States Government and Politics class, also known as #arapgov12, every Tuesday is Twitter Tuesday.

Every Tuesday, at the beginning of class, the students Tweet in response to a prompt.  It’s the warm up assignment, but really it’s much more than that.

It’s about students finding their voice online.  Students who find a voice that is public and transparent.  Students who grow in confidence to us that voice again and again and again.

At times, I hear people lament about the “youth of today.”  Apathetic. Lazy.  Selfish.  Inappropriate. Self-interested.  I hear that lament, but I respectfully disagree.   To those who worry about the youth of today, I invite them to follow the conversations generated by #arapgov12.

In these conversations, I see students who are finding their voice.  I see students who care.  I see students who get involved in the conversation.  I see students who are far from perfect but who are eager to contribute.  I see students who have a sense of humor and know how to use it (most of the time).  I see students who are Tweeting seven days a week, not just on Tuesday.  I see hope.

In an age where social media use by our young is pervasive and growing, why not use a medium like Twitter to grow positive student involvement online?  Why not help our students build their digital footprint?  Instead of blasting the web as a cultural wasteland, why not direct students in a way that provides genuine and real contributions to the conversation?   If this where our students are anyway, let’s show the way.

It’s Twitter Tuesday, after all.

Predictions for 2012

Everyone else seems to post their prediction for 2012, so I might as well, too.  I hope January 2 is not too late for predictions.  I’m not sure if I really went out on a limb, but, oh well.  I avoided education predictions because I have hopes for education that I will share later.  This time next year, all six of my readers can take me to task for my incorrect choices.

Iowa caucus winner:  Rick Santorum

New Hampshire primary winner:  Mitt Romney

Republican presidential nominee:  Mitt Romney

Republican vice presidential nominee:  Marco Rubio

Does Joe Biden remain on the Democratic ticket?  Yes

Does Donald Trump run for president as a minor party candidate?  No

Is “America Elects” a factor in the presidential race?  Not this year

Presidential Election Winner:  Barack Obama, in a squeaker

Who wins the House?  Republicans

Who wins the Senate?  A tie

Biggest International Troublemaker for US:  Iran

Academy Award, Best Picture:  War Horse

Academy Award, Best Actress:  Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Academy Award, Best Actor:  George Clooney, The Descendants

Professional Sports Champions:  Saints (NFL),  Canucks (NHL),  Heat (NBA), Phillies (MLB)

NCAA National Champions: Alabama (football), Kentucky (basketball – men), Baylor (basketball – women; because my wife and daughter are going to the Final Four in Denver)

Biggest Tech Disappointment:  iPad 3

Newest Talk Show Host: Herman Cain

And one more thing… The Mayans are wrong.

Be a Connected Educator

For teachers, at times, the classroom can be a lonely place.  In an effort to bring teachers out of isolation, schools and districts have brought teachers together in one venue for professional development.  PD, at its best can be exciting and inspiring, allowing teachers to interact, collaborate, and arm them with new and innovative ideas.  At its worst, PD can be boring; a time waster, where teachers are spoken at in a warehouse setting, with little hope of collaboration or inspiration.

In their recently published book, The Connected Educator: Leading and Learning in a Digital Age, authors and educators Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall provide a road map to guide teachers to connectivity in the ever-changing world. Nussbaum-Beach and Hall use their years of practical experience and unique understanding of our changing times to give teachers powerful ways to break through the isolation of a solitary classroom to use powerful resources: one another through powerful technological tools.

The authors recognize that teachers are at different places with their own teaching, learning, and comfort with technology.  To meet teachers where they are during their own individual journies, each chapter is systematic in its approach and provides three common sections:

-Where Are We?

-Where to Now?

-Get Connected

To engage the reader, the chapters also present the authors’ personal stories and “Think About” boxes.  This approach enables the reader to learn and grow through a conversation yet professional style with the authors.  This book truly provides professional development that is interactive and engaging.  It gives the teachers the tools to travel down their best avenue for PD.

As we begin 2012 and want to learn and grow as educators and learners, The Connected Educator, is a necessary “How to Guide” and a must have for our personal and professional libraries, Kindles or iPads.  Be a connected educator!