TweetChat #Edtechchat

I participated in my first TweetChat and actually really enjoyed it. I also collected a couple of interesting resources and followers. All in all, a worthwhile hour in the life of me. What a great way to get like-minded individuals or professionals together to discuss and share resources.


TweetChats arscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-8-06-03-pme an organized conversation around specific topics that are facilitated using Twitter. They typically feature guest presenters who pose, or answer questions that participants post to Twitter. A standard TweetChat uses a Q1 and A1 format to differentiate different questions. During the chat, the moderator or guest presenter posts a question (i.e., Q1), and participants post their responses (i.e., A1). Participants search for the relevant hashtag (#), read the questions and other participants’ responses, and contribute responses, links to resources, or related information. Participants also pick up new followers during TweetChats, and find people of interest to follow.

There are a number of popular TweetChats that focus on education and educational technology, and by mere chance, I happily landed in tonight’s #Edtechchat’s TweetChat. I knew the topic of screen time was not a consideration in my area of focus (higher educational professionals) but I found it a great opportunity to learn about the issues surrounding technology and children.

#Rethinking Screen Time

I am continuously amazed by how much technology has changed since my sons were young (they are only 19 and 21). A trip to the grocery store when they were toddlers was a thrill all around, from the ‘coloury place’ (produce) to the endless rows of bread to the ‘shivery place’ (refrigerated aisles) to the apex of the visit: the bakery section that offered free cookies to tots. Today I see babies with iPads in the Superstore and I wonder how different they will be from my own kids who themselves are digital natives. Beginning at around age 6 and until they were around 12, they, and most of their friends, had a total of one-hour per day of screen time.

I happened into a thread about recommendations on limits and uses of technology for young children, and it was an interesting and helpful conversation. I also picked up a link to the Office of Educational Technology’s (U.S.) Guiding Principles for Use of Technology with Early Learners. All in all, a very interesting experience!




21st Century Teaching: The Cracks In-Between

“Teaching in the 21st century is a thing. Teaching in the 20th century is not a thing, nor is teaching in the 19th century, unless it is in contrast to 21st century teaching. I am aware of this because I entered both terms into Google and a university library search bars and nothing came up (except for a scholarly article on the feminization of teaching in Brazil in the 19th century, which may warrant a peak). Technological advances have made 21st century teaching a thing and has led to the connectivism paradigm.

My Catholic school experience in the 70s and 80s was definitely informed by an objectivist perspective. By the time I was studying art education in the late 1980s, we were studying Piaget and Vygotsky’s views on constructivism. The art classroom was the perfect place to encourage students to construct their own learning, and to grow rather than progress. Student-created work, group projects, and critiques were the norm, with a side of slide presentations, lectures and testing. And, while my science, math, and history peers taught subjects more prone to the transmissive instruction model of my childhood, my generation of teachers had moved beyond being sages on the stage(s) and were starting to engage learning in more progressive ways. We called ourselves guides on the side.

Objectivist: An objectivist educator believes there is one true and correct reality which can be known to humans by using the objective methods of science. Generally referred to as transmissive instruction, where knowledge is transmitted from teachers to learners.

Constructivist: A constructivist educator believes knowledge is not independent of the learner, it is constructed. Knowledge can be constructed in by individual learners reorganizing their experiences and cognitive structures, or by communities of practice through social interaction.

Connectivist:  Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the www and among themselves. A connectivist teacher guides students to information and answers key questions as needed in order to support students learning and sharing on their own.

The 21st Century Teacher
Fast forwarding to the 21st century, learning can happen any time, anywhere, on any topic, and with any learning style. Technology is integrated into learning and connectivism  emerges. In his chapter on pedagogical differences between media, Bates (2015) identifies five media: text, audio, video, computing, social media. His identification of differences between the media is worth the creation of a chart to keep for posterity’s sake:


Is there anything missing from the types of technologies that Bates discusses?  With the speed of technological change, I imagine an article such as this would need to be revisited fairly frequently for tools updating, but his categories are strong. I do wonder whether the inclusion of a mobile learning category might be appropriate, as it seems to be moving towards a unique experience (m-learning) with opportunities for constant interaction, bite-sized learning, and geo-location sensitive learning. He does a great job differentiating between the five media when there are so many overlaps between them. Learning does not happen through the use of any screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-12-06-09-pmsingle media, or through any one domain. It can’t really be attributed to any one aspect of a learning environment: it happens in the cracks between these places, and the best thing that teachers can do is to provide opportunities for students to construct learning, through the deliberate choice of media. I feel like Bates is on it. He includes a scale that places media on a teacher control – learner control scale as broken down along objectivist, constructivist, and connectivist lines (see above).

Choosing Media
Deliberation in choosing media is a point Bates makes as well as the folks in COFA Online (2011).  According to them, issues to consider before choosing a technology for online teaching are:

  1. Pedagogy before technology (fit for purpose)
  2. Benefits of starting with something simple
  3. Importance of providing technical support to students

All Fun and Games?
Technology is fun and engaging. Knowing its pedagogical purpose, however, is critical when integrating it into a teaching environment. As the folks in COFA Online (2011) argue, knowing why you are going to use a technology is key to its introduction. 21st century teaching offers unique challenges and rewards thanks in part to the contribution of educational technologies. Teachers are so much more than sages on stage(s) or guides on the side. Reflecting back on a post by classmate Jim Hounslow (2016) in an earlier course about the many sides of the teacher in a connectivist environment, I illustrated the multi-faceted role of the 21st century teacher:

[Jim’s original sources were Master Artist, Seely Brown, (2006); Network Administrator, Fisher, (n.d.); Concierge, Bonk, (2007); and Curator, Siemens, (2007).]




Rahimi, A, Ebrahimi, N.A., Contemporary Online Language Education Journal, 2011, 1, 89-103. Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning2(1), 3-10

Bates, A. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning, Ch. 7

COFA Online (2011), Learning to teach online: Considerations when choosing technology for teaching.


Pinterest is one of those sites that fills up my newsfeeds and has never really piqued my interest (not interested in collecting wedding dress images or kids’ party ideas).  I created a Pinterest page a couple of years ago to access something a friend had posted on Facebook (I think), but had never ‘pinned’ a thing until I had to create an ‘Educational Technologies’ board as a class requirement.

So I added some graphics/illustrations to my Educational Technologies board. I find thoughtful, well-designed illustrations can really help me understand an issue or demographic or process. I have several  EAB  (American higher education research and consulting organization) charts hanging in my office that I consult on a regular basis to clarify such things as technological differences between various demographic audiences. A good illustration can do more to enlighten me than just about any other resource. Now that I have ‘pinned’ all of these interesting posts, I just have to find the time to review them.


Unlike most social media sites, the content stays alive on Pinterest and can be re-shared over and over again. Facebook and Twitter, in content can be buried under posts in just a few minutes. Postings can be ‘pinned’ and ‘re-pinned’ to infinity and beyond. It also appears to be growing, which would create a growing audience to share and possibly collaborate with.

I think the number of resources available for Preschool- 12 teachers must be quite staggering.


Pinterest posts that go through my newsfeeds seem to reflect people’s interests and hobbies rather than more professional or scholarly pursuits. And, it appears to a marketer’s paradise (not that there’s anything wrong with this; it just doesn’t appear to be an environment that would encourage academic content and interaction).


Twitter Chats

As part of my educational technology course, I will be required to spend time participating in an #EdTech-related open Twitter chat.  A Twitter chat, which typically lasts an hour, is a meeting of Twitter users at a pre-determined time to discuss a certain topic, using a designated hashtag (#) for each tweet contributed. Generally, a moderator will pose questions to prompt responses from participants and encourage interaction among the group. Chats typically last an hour. A step-by-step guide to joining or hosting a Twitter chat can be found here.

Rob Power, the course facilitator, posted a handy list of Education related Twitter chats which provides great insight into how educators are using Twitter. The chat topics appeal largely to a K-12 audience and cover just about every state, province, country, continent, and subject area you could imagine. There are support chats, as well, such as ‘Teacher Wellness’ and  ‘Parent-Teacher’. Predictably (at least for anyone who has lived in the U.S.), there is also a ‘Texas High School Football’ chat. My favorite is ‘Teaching Like a Pirate.’

Chats I may be interested in participating in are:

  • Educational Tech Chat
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Inside Online Learning
  • Web 2.0 Tools in Teaching
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Culture of Learning
  • Teaching Like a Pirate (does this one count, Rob?)

The handy list of Education Chats can be found at

Social Media and Adult Learning

Adult Learners. Non-traditional students pursuing post-secondary study or training, but who do not meet the definition of a “traditional” college student.

Social Media (SM).  A range of online tools and web based applications that enable online social interaction and the creation and sharing of user generated content. SM enables people to connect and/or collaborate through computer-facilitated communication and creation.

Best Educational Use
Once learning management systems (LMS) were introduced in the post-secondary environment,  instructors began to introduce online collaborative SM tools. SM applications can be optimally used to support learning by promoting online interaction and communication. They provide:

  • free or low cost profile space,
  • facilities for uploading content such as hyperlinks, videos, photos, etc.
  • messaging options, and
  • the ability to make connections with peers and enhance collaborative opportunities.

SM applications are best used to support learning by engaging students in informal learning opportunities.

Learning Outcomes Supported
1.   New technologies can foster communication, engagement and self-direction in learners.

2.  The development of media and information literacy skills are necessary outcomes with the utilization of SM for educational purposes.

Learner Needs
Positive Aspects. One of the strongest advantages of incorporating SM applications in the learning environment is the opportunity they provide to support student learning. They enable students to:

  • Communicate with learners they may not otherwise be able to;
  • Share ideas and develop a large repository of information created by a group of students;
  • Communicate directly and immediately with peers;
  • Engage in informal learning by posting or answering questions or soliciting help;
  • Develop critical and reflexive thinking skills and media and information literacy skills;
  • Provide and receive peer feedback;
  • Maintain relationships with larger groups of peers online than in a face-to-face setting.

Negative Effects. While SM applications do provide new opportunities, they can also create challenges for many learners.  Challenges in an adult learning context include:

  • The transition to a digital classroom may be difficult for non-natives of technology; adult learners may not be technologically savvy enough to use these sites;
  • Community-building on SM sites may extend beyond the instructor’s control and push the limits of quality and credibility;
  • SM applications can be time consuming and produce compulsive tendencies to check in and respond;
  • If time-consuming, SM applications reduce learning/teaching efficiencies.

Adult Learners and Their Use of Social Networking Sites ,Yuanqiong (Kathy) Wang and Jessica Arfaa (2013). Towson University, Dept. of Computer & Information Sciences, Towson, MD 21252.

Vilhelmina Vaičiūnienė and Viktorija Mažeikienė (2012) Social Media in Adult Education: Insights Gained from Grundtvig Learning Partnership Project “Institutional Strategies Targeting the Uptake of Social Networking in Adult Education (ISTUS)”, Technologijos Social Technologies 2012, , 2(2), p. 473–482.

Introduction via ThingLink

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I am enrolled in a course titled Using Technology for Teaching and Training. The first tool we explored was ‘ThingLink,’ a platform for creating interactive images and videos for the web. We used it as a means of introducing ourselves, but there are several other ways educators can utilize this fun (and free) tool:

  1. As a curriculum launcher.  A ThinkLink graphic can provide background and challenges to students.
  2. To introduce a technology tool. An interactive graphic can contain a large amount of multimedia content and enable students to explore different areas of interest.
  3. To publish student work. Students or teachers can create content that reflects class work using ThinkLink.
  4. To create interactive reports. ThinkLink can provide an alternative to formal reports or academic writing.
  5. For  skills development. Innovative way to package tutorials, text, podcasts, web links, etc.

I created an introduction to the class using a photograph I took on the west coast of Ireland, which is where one side of my family is from. I inserted video, text, an Instagram account, and a link to my alma mater. My ThingLink introduction can be found at