And the 723 best teachers to follow are…
I’m not going to pretend to be the expert here. There are plenty of awful “who to follow” teacher lists on Twitter (I don’t feature on any of them, which might explain my irrational bitterness towards such things) and you’ll find a whole host of useful, innovate stuff from these guys that may help you do a lot more than this post.
Just to clarify here, before I get battered; I know “follow lists” are there to help those new to Twitter, it’s just I don’t agree with stuff like that. My advice is; have a look at what people are tweeting, if its useful; follow them. If it’s not what you’re after; don’t bother.
My good friend and colleague Dave Paterson (@onet18975) will be presenting to staff at our place on the value of Twitter. He has agreed to guest-blog in the next couple of weeks so watch this space if you’re after some quality, rather than my babble.
I might not be the expert but, here goes…
It was something Jon Tait (@TeamTait) said at the CLV PE TeachMeet (let it go Chris, it was months ago now) when presenting on the value of social media. Jon raised the initially controversial-sounding point that there should not be anything wrong with using social media to communicate with kids. There was an air of apprehension from some audience members, but Jon went on to explain…
Most of us wouldn’t think twice about speaking to a kid, alone in an office. We might however think it a bit weird to communicate with a kid over social media. There is a big issue with this though.
Everything communicated digitally leaves a footprint or record. Conversations behind closed doors are open to misinterpretation. This made me realise then that using digital communication is actually safer for both staff & student in that everything that is communicated is recorded. There is no danger of someone not being able to evidence exactly what was said and to whom.
Well that again made me think: can we use Twitter to hook the kids outside of the classroom? We can’t use phones or social media in school as outlined in our related policies. Our kids do however, follow our various PE Twitter accounts & communicate with us after hours.
The problem with getting kids to engage with what we put on the twitter feeds however is, we are not kids and at times we don’t really interest them . This is something lots of staff don’t get. But the cold hard truth is that kids don’t think we’re cool. Sorry, but there it is. If we tweet an anatomy question on our @CLVAlevelPE account, kids aren’t necessarily going to respond because it just isn’t cool.
So what do you do?
As long as it retains your undoubted professionalism, you need to strike up a bit of “banter”. Without wanting to patronise anyone, kids primarily use twitter to hammer each other. I used this rather dubious hypothesis to tap into something we did in an AS lesson earlier. A bit daft, but after finishing a section of the syllabus (and before giving them their mock papers) we had a “bodybuilding pose-off”. We’ve got a pair of twin lads in the group who love a bit of competition. They’ve both been doing plenty in the gym so we had an impromptu gun-show. The kids voted for the “Inaugural Mr CLV winner” and a hearty round of applause was observed. This event then becomes a “hook”. By tweeting about the gun-show & using the @… of the lads, you generate a bit of interest. The kids then retweet stuff, you get a couple of new followers.
And then you sneak a bit of theory in there. Chat about muscles, specific vocabulary develops. Kids comment on it and add to the initial thread. Before you know it, from that one but of friendly banter, your cohort are talking online & chatting about the themes from your topic area.
Ingenious? No. Just getting the kids to learn when they least expect it.