Twitter users bring perspective to classroom activity

Last month I had the pleasure of attending at trip to Lawfield Elementary School. I wrote about some of the things I learned and observed from my visit in a earlier blog post. One of the highlights for me was meeting teacher Zoe Branigan-Pipe. We had a brief opportunity for an engaging dialogue that day about the integration of technology and social media tools into classroom activities, and since then have been following each other’s activity on Twitter.

This past week, an interesting sequence of events occurred. One of  Zoe’s students wrote a blog post about a recent assessment activity in which the students were permitted to collaborate prior to submitting their answers. The student’s blog post was considering this experience from two points of view:

1. Is this cheating?  Should we be approaching assessment in this way?
2. Is this collaborating?

You could tell from the blog post that the student was really struggling with ‘what felt right’, and was clearly surprised by the collaborating opportunity.

Later that evening, Zoe posted a comment on Twitter asking her educator based PLN group to have a look at the student’s blog post and provide some feedback (comments). Within a couple of hours, at least 12 people, myself included, read and posted comments on the student blog. The common theme of the posts were:

  • knowledge is important, but it is also important to develop other work and life skills too
  • collaboration skills are needed and used in the workplace
  • development of collaboration skills is important for future success
  • take advantage of opportunities to participate in collaboration and consensus building opportunities

I have not had an opportunity to touch base with Zoe to find out more about the student’s reaction to the comments, but I will have an opportunity to do so within the next few days. I thought this was a great example of a teacher using their PLN group to provide real life context to a classroom situation via social networking tools. Well done!

~ Mark

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