Tag Archives: twitter

Two Unique and Innovative Ways to Use Twitter

There are tons of innovative ways of using Twitter but I am only going to touch on two ways. First is the use of hashtags. Whenever I am in a webinar talking about hashtags, I am always asked what to explain what a hashtag was. A hashtag on Twitter is a word or phrase with the # symbol in front of it. It is like a keyword to help filter Tweets. We use ‘liveclass20′ when referencing our Classroom 2.0 LIVE webinar series on Saturday mornings. If a conference is happening, people use a term to represent that conference like ‘ASCD11′ that referred to the recent ASCD conference.

I was reading a blog post by Meg Wilson about educators using Twitter. She shared this about Twitter,

If you are a new teacher, I highly recommend that you be a part of the Twitter community. If you aren’t comfortable tweeting just yet, you can still make great use of Twitter searches. You can locate some excellent resources just by searching hashtags like#EdReach#EdChat#EdTech#IEAR, or #SpEdChat (just to name a few, but there really is a search for almost every topic out there… Jerry Blumengarten has a fabulous list here). Once you experience the wealth of resources that are available on Twitter, I am positive that you too will want to be a part of the conversation.

On certain days of the week, you can participate in a group chat using the specified hashtag. #edchat occurs on Tuesdays at 12pm EST and 7pm EST. This is a great article discussing ways you can participate in a group chat on Twitter. You can use any of the desktop Twitter applications, like Tweetdeck, to follow a group chat. Tweetdeck is great because you set up different columns and follow group chats on designated days of the week.

The second use of Twitter that I think is so innovative is when teachers or students have a Twitter where they portray a fictional character, famous historical person, or trending topic from current events. Lots of people set up fake Twitter accounts trying to be celebrities so Twitter resorted to putting the label of verified informing other Tweeters that the Twitter account is actually who the bio says they are.

Civil War Sallie is actually Jim Beeghley’s daughter, Sara, who blogs and posts Tweets from the viewpoint as a traveling bear that visits classrooms. The classrooms take the bear on a variety of field trips and then mail back to the bear Civil War Sallie. The bear shares her travels with everyone via a website at Civil War Sallie. Sara was our guest on Classroom 2.0 LIVE and she shared the wonderful adventures Sallie Ann had been on that month. You can view the archived session on #liveclass20.

There is a website, and I can’t think of the name right now, where someone acts as a historical figure and answers questions from students as the historical figure is still alive around the time the person died – kind of like freezing time for the figure or someone turning ’29’ for the 12th time. Seriously though, you can do the same with Twitter. I have come across Twitter accounts that do just this and it is really interesting to see the content posted from the Tweeter.

fdfYou can follow Shakespeare and see what he has to say about the plays he wrote way back when. One really hysterical Tweeter is @BronxZoosSnake.  If you just came out from under a rock, or been away from your TV for awhile, you may have just learned that a Cobra snake from the Bronx Zoo escaped from his cage in the reptile house and is loose in the Bronx Zoo. In a few days’ time, the snake has over 111,000 followers and increases every hour – especially since the snake’s Twitter account has been shared on several television shows and newscasts.  The @BronxZoosSnake has not been found I am loving the adventures the snake has experienced and the people he/she has encountered.

Just One of My Reasons to Give Thanks

Just before Thanksgiving, we purchased a domain and year of hosting with Siteground for a grand total of $9.95 for the entire year! They are running a special right now and we couldn’t pass it up. When we first inquired, my husband was told that installing WordPress blogs and Moodle were super easy. This was far from the truth!

My husband and I installed and researched solutions as to why we were unable to create sub directories or sub domains. I forgot which. My husband is the technical guru in the house here. He consulted with tech support and tech support set up sub domains (or vice versa) and that isn’t what we wanted for the URL. We spent hours and hours and my husband gave up for the time being but I persisted! I contacted Sue Waters (@suewaters) on Skype and told her what we were trying to do and what we were actually seeing. She was super busy with Edublogger things but said when she got free she would assist me.

In the meantime, I had solicited assistance and advice on Twitter and was overwhelmed by the response I got. Several of my Twitter followers referred me to WordPress gurus. @aforgrave and @mrjarbenne was instrumental in helping us solve the problem. I don’t know exactly what the problem was but @mrjarbenne explained it to my husband. He understood but it is all Greek to me. It had something to do with the .htaccess config file or something like that. Regardless, @aforgrave and @mrjarbenne were phenomenal and I am very thankful for their efforts this Thanksgiving.

When all was said and done it was about midnight CST in San Antonio, Texas. @grade1, @aforgrave and @mrjarbenne were up in Canada. In the span of three hours, the problem was resolved. I messaged Sue on Skype and told her all was taken care of and we were all set. While this situation was very frustrating, it was interesting to me to see this unfold. There were tons of messages and DMs back and forth on Twitter.

Despite our difficulties and struggles getting WordPress set up, we are still glad we went with Siteground as the website and Moodle set up were very easy. The initial install of WordPress was super easy but we were complicating things by wanting a distinct set up. Other than this hiccup, the installation and use of the control panel were ‘super easy’ as they claimed.

If you are interested in a bargain for a new domain and an entire year of hosting for only $9.95 as part of Siteground’s Thanksgiving special I encourage you to explore their offerings. If this is a first time purchase for you I think you will find it very easy to use if your setup is for just one person. The trouble we encountered was with the multi-site and network set up that was causing our frustration. Special thanks goes out to @jenwagner on Twitter for sharing this bargain special with me!

I knew that after this issue was resolved, I was going to write a blog post on our multi-site WordPress blog about the difficulties we encountered and how my Professional/Personal Learning Network (PLN) was responsible for assisting us with the blog setup. Aviva (@grade1) summed it up perfectly when she said, “Wow! Definitely speaks to the power of a PLN!” as shown in the Tweet above (click the image to enlarge).

I will continue with this blog and my NEW blog at our new domain of http://www.pumpuplearning.com (still under construction).  I titled it, as a result of a suggestion from my hubby, @martycaisejr. So on this day of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for everyone that contributed to this learning opportunity and hope it was a blessed day for you and your family.

‘Twitter for Beginners’ Webinar – March 17th or March 24th

Please join Lorna Costantini and myself on Wednesday, March 17th or March 24th at 7pm EST for a ‘Twitter for Beginners‘ webinar. The session will be in Elluminate and anyone new to using Twitter is invited to join us. If you are already an avid Twitter user, please invite colleagues and friends to join our session tomorrow evening or on March 24th.

Twitter

During the session, Lorna and I will walk the participants through the basics of using Twitter. Participants will sign up for a Twitter account and the use of the Tweetdeck application will be featured to demonstrate different aspects of using Twitter. Participants may already create a Twitter account and download Tweetdeck for use during and after the Elluminate session.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is a fantastic application to manage Twitter feeds but it is not required to successfully use Twitter. Tweetdeck is an easy application for beginners and helps Twitter users become more adept at using Twitter on a larger scale and for this reason we will be using this application in our sessions.

If you are new to Elluminate, you may want to join the session a bit early to make sure that you do not have difficulty accessing the session. You can use your computer microphone to ask questions or use the chat window to participate in the discussion using text only. The ‘Twitter for Beginners’ session will be offered through the ‘Host Your Own Webinars‘ group at LearnCentral.You can register for the session at the LearnCentral event page or email us at info@elearncenter.ca. This session is free and open to the public. If you are unable to register or email us prior to the start of the session, please still join us.

The “Twitter for Beginners‘ webinar will be the first session of our new venture and offerings of our innovative eLearning Center training center. Each week, Lorna and I get requests for us to create webinars on a variety of topics for beginners. Our sessions will be designed to offer support and resources to beginners just starting to use web 2.0 tools and technologies. All of our training sessions can be customized for groups of employees or faculty members.

Link to Elluminate room: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/launch/meeting.jnlp?sid=voffice&password=M.1027D079FDC581BB3B59313815ED00

Short URL to Elluminate room: http://tinyurl.com/elearncenter

Four **FREE** Must See Sites that Won’t Want to Miss – Part # 3

As I stated in the previous two parts of this four part series on instructional technology tools that can be used in the classroom to enrich learning, I actively participate in a personal professional learning network using Plurk and Twitter. Through these two web services I have learned copious amounts of information, training and resources in the past six or seven months than I have in just about all 19 years of teaching. It is amazing and I wanted to share some of the tools that I deem extremely useful to enrich learning in the classroom.

Source: Dabbleboard.com

The third tool I want to share is Dabbleboard. I have written about this unique tool before but I wanted to share it again with you. At first glance, Dabbleboard looks like a limited version of Inspiration or CMAP. While that may be partially true, the biggest asset of Dabbleboard is the ability to collaborate and share a diagram with a team of students. Students can be at different computers, different locations, and work on the diagram at different times. Dabbleboard diagrams are shared by the use of an invite via email and now a URL generated by the site. Several enhancements were made with the most recent release.

Within the Dabbleboard layout, any previous diagrams created are stored in the library and can be reused and imported into new diagrams. When I logged into Dabbleboard, the diagram that I originally created back in July was automatically loaded for me. I can continue with that or begin a new diagram.

Dabbleboard is an excellent way to brainstorm story maps for digital storytelling, generate a hypothesis to test as part of the scientific process or create a flowchart depicting a process or steps of a group project. You can create a template for students to access with the capability of adding weblinks, images, and sharing with others in real time. New features have recently been added such as rotating or flipping images and auto detection of shapes drawn by hand to create resizable, neatly drawn objects.

Source: Dabbleboard.com

I really like that you can share diagrams via a URL instead of limited to an email from Dabbleboard. If I were having students create accounts, I would have specified usernames and use my email address for the registration process as displayed to the left. I could also set up a generic email address and add the individual student’s names to the main email address.This way I would still have access control to the students’ accounts. Diagrams can be made public or private allowing only designated students access to collaborate on a diagram. This is a great security feature when working with students.

Source: Dabbleboard.com

To the right is the original diagram I created in July. If you click on the thumbnail image, it will take you to the public link of the diagram. Take a few moments and experiment with the diagram and move items, change colors, etc. to see the full capabilities of Dabbleboard. Dabble with Dabbleboard!

GustavTracker via Twitter

Requesting help for assistance or aid from Hurricane Gustav just went high tech. If you know of someone that may be in the path of Gustav, please text or forward this information to them.

According to the GustavTracker page, tweets may be sent to request assistance or rescue and report if someone has safely escaped the destructive forces of Gustav.

All messages received at the “gustavhelp” or “gustavsafeTwitter accounts will be re-posted for public viewing here. PLEASE follow this public page if you are in a position to help. An RSS feed is forthcoming as we bring the site online.

Those affected by Gustav must first add “gustavhelp” or “gustavsafe” to their Twitter profile. This can be done using the internet or a cell phone if power or outages are in effect. The GustavTracker page continues with,

Due to Twitter’s limitations, there is no way for the public to personally respond to these messages. If a message does not have contact info, please email marina@marinamartin (dot) com and she will send a direct message back to that person.

The above may need to be explained to someone as well as how to use Twitter if the person is not familiar with the social networking tool. With the evacuation efforts and the use of Twitter, hopefully many lives will be saved. Additionally, if you are trying to locate the whereabouts of someone affected by Gustav, make sure to search the Red Cross Safe & Well site.

My Twitter Followers are Gone?

As I was ‘plurking‘ this afternoon, I soon discovered that several people were missing many of their Twitter followers. For many of us, tweeting and plurking is serious business and crucial to professional development. Through the tweets and plurks, I learn a great deal about new technology tools, if someone is streaming a workshop or session live, advice on tech strategies and tools, as well as where and what people are eating for dinner. Granted, the posts about eating dinner or going to bed are not posts that help me grow professionally but the two micro blog tools are my lifeline to what is currently happening in the ed tech world. It is live, up close, and personal with notices of all kinds of learning opportunities available for free presented from all parts of the world.
This evening I noticed on my Twitter profile page that the problem of followers ‘disappearing’ from our lists was ‘almost finished’. I took a screenshot as I found the notice interesting but I don’t have complete confidence in the efficiency of restoring the missing followers.

I haven’t found an application that has the same features of Skitch where you can highlight and draw on screenshots so I only have a plain screenshot here with a poorly handdrawn circle around the statement of ‘almost all’. The statement doesn’t cause me to have much confidence in the restoration process.

Just for kicks since I wasn’t receiving all of my Tweets, I checked out Twitter’s blog and they had a post about the problem of the missing followers. Their explanation of the process is shown below:

Where Are My Followers?

Update: This has been fixed but the actual numbers and profile pictures might not look right until tomorrow afternoon due to caching.

Recently, some people began noticing a decline in their following and follower numbers. We investigated and determined this was caused by an error during a database upgrade. We’ll be restoring followers throughout the day to those who were affected and keeping the status blog and Get Satisfaction forum updated with specifics.

So by tomorrow afternoon Twitter profiles ‘might‘ not look right due to a caching difficulty. Okay, but will all of my followers and their tweets show up en masse? I don’t think anyone really knows.
To show how important tweets are to us, a fellow edublogger Tom Barrett posted a picture to his Flickr account showing the breakdown of his Professional Learning Network (PLN). The picture was included in his post about missing his Twitter Connections and posted to Flickr. I found it extremely interesting as if I were graph my connections to learning from other ed tech colleagues the dispersion of resources would be very similar.

Notice the amount of the graph attributed to Twitter. I definitely concur that Twitter is a crucial piece of learning in my PLN. If you graphed your PLN resources how much would be allocated for learning from Twitter or Plurk? Stop and think about it – it just may surprise you the depth and volume of learning that occurs from micro blogging. So please continue to Tweet and Plurk and continue to make those networking connections.