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


Education 3.0 –

I read a great article that suggests we have entered Education 3.0 – an era of resource abundance characterized by changes in the way we learn. According to C.J. Bonk, over the past 10 years, learning has changed in at least 30 different ways. Among these, learning is increasingly collaborative, global, modifiable, mobile, open, online, instantaneous, and personal. These 30 learning and technology-related changes reflect three distinct mega-trends: 

1.)  learner engagement,
the pervasive access to learning, and
3.) the customization and personalization of learning.

I illustrated the trends and changes in the table below.


Characteristics of useful edtech

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-8-44-24-pmDifferent media can promote different outcomes and help students to learn in different ways. Selecting the right medium for the job, or utilizing the unique features of different media’ or ‘affordances’ requires an understanding of its best uses. Bates identifies three characteristics that influence the usefulness of an educational technology (209): Broadcast and Communicative Media; Synchronous or Asynchronous Technologies; and Media Richness. I would like to build a framework for best practices based on the following summary of Bates’ characteristics as I have illustrated above.


Reference: Bates (2015), Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning (Chapter 6: Understanding Technology in Education).

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