Twitter to Enhance Learning & Performance

Twitter provides the opportunity to have micro-conversations in 140 characters or less. This social media platform has been repurposed by a number of educators for workplace learning. Twitter is not the only form of professional development available and you do not have to tweet to learn.  That being said, an increasing number of educators have repurposed and remixed Twitter for work learning and performance. You would be surprised what 140 characters can do to create community and interaction online. A number of grassroots initiatives have developed for educators to consider Twitter as part of their professional development plans for informal learning, scholarly development, and shared practices. For me, the last seven years spent on Twitter has been invaluable. This platform continues to provide an open, informal learning space to collaborate and banter with a community of educators. Thanks for that, Larry.

Twitter Bird in the Lattice

Flickr photo c/o Brian Kopp

Twitter is really the “water-cooler” for educators to share news, post reports/trends, read the news, review research, ask questions, gather information, and curate knowledge. Educators are increasingly expressing ideas and linking to relevant websites, videos, articles, images, etc. related the workforce.  This commentary and resources were shared for my own learners and other training participants who want to “get started” with workplace learning and performance – so I welcome your shared suggestions for helpful Twitter resources and tips in the comments below.

The Twitter Basics:

Hashtags & Backchannels

GotHashtag

Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a Tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter. Besides a current event or pop culture reference, Twitter has been an essential part of the conference tool kit to support sharing on the backchannel. You no longer have to be in-person to engage in the workshops, presented talks, or round table discussions via the live experience. There’s now a full stream of activity created around single hashtags for professional development and workplace learning events.

Here are just a few Hashtags to SEARCH and Follow:  

  • #AcWri (academic writing)
  • #highered
  • #digped
  • #edtech and #onlinelearning
  • #phdchat and #gradchat and #SAdoc
  • #Open and #OER and #openaccess
  • #acadv (academic advising)
  • #StudentAffairs and #sachat
  • And MORE!
  • P.D. hashtags related to your field and conferences, e.g. 2015 Education and Ed Tech Conferences [Psssst… you can add to it if  I’m missing any!]

What Is a Twitter Chat and How to Make the Most of ItTwitter chats are threaded discussions using a hashtag to dialogue about a specific subject.Twitter chats are linked conversations via a single hashtag that participants can search, follow, and include in their own Tweet as they respond during the Twitter chat time. Twitter chats are similar to online chats, forums, or discussion boards; however they are often synchronous and active during a designated date and time. The hashtag for many chats continue past the “live” event on Twitter for others who want to share and engage. Some Twitter chats guide the discussion or have open topics central theme, while others Twitter chats are moderated in a structured question-response format.

Other Twitter Tips & Resources:

Got Hashtag? [Gathering Edu & Ed Tech Conference Hashtags]

HashtagLauraI am wrangling up hashtags from all 2015 education and education conferences. If you know of a conference with a hashtag, let me know. ADD the conference name, hashtag, and the conference website HERE (or here http://goo.gl/6Uvlvs).

Giddy up!

#SAreads: Students, Ethics, and Online Engagement @ #ACPA15 the #ACPATrendingNow Session TODAY!

Join Courtney O’Connell and myself in a roundtable discussion about online student behavior in higher education during the #ACPATrendingNow Session (TODAY at 12:30-1:30 pm in the Marketplace):

SAreads #ACPATrendingNow Session @ #ACPA15

#SAreads: Students, Ethics and Online Engagement

campus book launch ad.003

An excerpt from the What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube book on cyberbullying:

cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is defined as teasing, insulting or making fun of another person online. The intent is often to soil the target’s reputation. If you are a cyberbully, STOP! Your bullying could be the byproduct of social anxiety or low self-esteem and it is important that you seek help. Educators, friends, parents and counselors are increasingly aware of the signs of cyberbullying and will eventually confront you.

Cyberbullying is often considered a criminal offense and offline bullying laws apply to online behavior.

  • Cyberbullies leave digital fingerprints and often are easier to prosecute than traditional bullies who do not leave as much incriminating evidence.
  • Bullying can ultimately lead to a victim’s suicide. Victims of cyberbullying are twice as likely to commit suicide as those who have not had a cyberbullying experience.
  • 1 in 4 teens report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell or on the internet
  • Over half of all teens that use social media have witnessed outright bullying online, and an astounding 95 percent of teens who witness bullying on social media have ignored the behavior
  • We all must serve as upstanders and not bystanders to cyberbullying.
  • Colleges and universities have their own rules and procedures for dealing with cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment, and cyber-stalking. If you know something that is occurring, tell a faculty or staff member. They can help and give you options.
  • Being harassed or bullied online can be mentally draining. Reach out to others to help you process through it. The counseling services on your campus can also help.

Also in a recent study on cyberbystanders, nearly 70% of respondents who noticed the cyberbullying and who didn’t respond directly to the abuser gave bad marks to the chat monitor and/or didn’t recommend use of the chat room – both of which were classified as indirect intervention. This is happening at your institution and this is an important issue that WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT NOW! 

Sneak Peak of the Book (Preview Copy Only!)

More #ACPATrendingNow Sessions to participate in TODAY from 12:30-1:30 pm (in the Marketplace).

Becoming a Leader in Professional Associations – Facilitated by Cissy Petty
Hate Speech and First Amendment Rights – Facilitated by Kathy Adams Riester
Implications of Systemic Oppression – Facilitated by Tori Svoboda
Working with Undocumented Students – Facilitated by Ray Plaza
Personal Mental Health as Professionals  – Facilitated by Kalie Mason
Media Scrutiny of Higher Education – Facilitated by Gretchen Metzelaars
Supporting Veteran Students – Facilitated by Monica Christensen
Athletes as Students – Facilitated by Markesha Henderson (U West GA)
Title IX and Transgender Protection – Facilitated by Finn Schneider
Reclaiming Language as Means of Peaceful Protest – Facilitated by Dan Sym

Using Google Apps in Higher Ed #ACPA15

Join me today (3/7) at 9 AM for my  #ACPA15 Genius Labs session on Google Apps for Education (1st Floor West Side of Tampa CC) where I’ll share how I use a few applications to make my workflow more productive and how I’ve used a few of these applications for my educational curriculum and developmental programs on campus. Blog-Post-Image-Google-Apps-Admin-Best-Practices-1024x372 About: Many universities/colleges are turning to Google Apps for Education as a solution, and it isn’t just for email. This 20-minute session will introduce applications provided by Google Apps, and will illustrate easy-to-implement practices for everyday problems. Google Apps to Explore & Use

Examples for Google Docs & Forms

Google Video – YouTube & Hangouts On Air

3 Google Apps to Check Out More Often

  • Google Scholar What it is: Academic search engine for publications of scholarly research Why It’s useful: Search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. Pro tip: Identify articles available from your institutional library on campus. Also able to search & preview millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide in Google Books.
  • YouTube Trends Dashboard What it is: A handy tool to figure out what’s trending on YouTube. Why it’s useful: What are your students watching on campus? What is being shared most often near you? With the Trends Dashboard, you can tap into the zeitgeist quickly and easily. Pro tip: Compare the “Most Shared” (across Facebook and Twitter) with “Most Viewed” to get a sense of what content gets viewed often but shared infrequently. To see what was trending in the past, check out
  • Google Trends. Use the optional forecast checkbox to anticipate whether interest in a particular topic is expected to rise over time. Google Keep What it is: Lets you easily jot down whatever’s on your mind via a beautiful, simple interface. Why it’s useful: Share any one individual note with a collaborator, create to-do lists, drop an image into notes as needed, and organize notes using eight color options. Pro tip: Don’t want to forget to do something? No problem: You can easily turn any note into a date or location-activated reminder.

Resources

How do you use Google Apps for education? Please feel free to share links and resources here: http://bit.ly/acpa15google

The 2015 #et4online Conference Preview

#et4online bannerThe Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan Consortium), MERLOT, and our Emerging Technologies steering committee wanted to give you a sneak peak of what lies ahead at #et4online, so we hung out to share details about the upcoming conference being held April 22-24, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.

Who attends #et4online? (you might ask)

Who attends #et4online

Image c/o @brocansky

6 Reasons Why You Should Join Us for #et4online

Or hear what the #et4online Steering Committee Members have to say in today’s Google+ Hangout ON AIR (recorded):
Michelle Pacansky-Brock Conference Chair – @brocansky
Jason Rhode, Assistant Conference Chair – @jasonrhode
Jane Moore, MERLOT Program Chair – @janepmoore
Laura Pasquini, OLC Program Chair – @laurapasquini

Here are just a few of the MANY highlights for the #et4online program that we shared:

Interested in attending (virtual or on site)? Register TODAY! Early bird pricing ends on February 25, 2015. I hope to welcome a few of you to Dallas in April. Do you have questions about the conference or program? Want to know great places to find BBQ in Dallas? Want to get involved and volunteer? You know where to find me. I’d be happy to answer any/all questions. Hope to see you soon!

Twitter for Professional Development… Make it Part of Your PD Plan. #SAchallenge

In the field of learning and performance, there are a number of ways to train and develop employees. A number of professional organizations and educational institutions are interested in supporting online learning communities to enhance learning and development for “the workforce of tomorrow.” This often results in going to where the communities are already active online, i.e. social media. A number of social spaces, including blogs, videos, microblogs, and photo sharing websites, have been repurposed for training and development by the community. One of the largest areas for professional development has been on Twitter with users aggregating around a hashtag to form a community. In higher education, a number of Twitter-based communities of practice are emerging as the “combination of improved facility and user flexibility has created an environment in which networks and communities, albeit of a restricted kind, can flourish (Lewis & Rush, 2013).

sachallenge

It is no wonder why we see The #SAChat January Twitter Challenge #SAchallenge appear with the start of the new year. Although I’ve been loosely off the social grid for the holidays, I tuned back in to find these January #SAChallenge prompts posted to get connected and involved on Twitter:

During the month of January, we will be tweeting out various challenges and ideas of ways you can engage on Twitter – starting with basic how-tos and moving towards looking at different ways to engage through the medium. Each weekday will bring at least one “challenge” – something you can do to either learn more about using Twitter or to refresh yourself and make you think about using it differently, especially within the #SAChat community. We’ll be posting the challenges here if you miss one and want to catch up.

I applaud the @The_ SA_Blog community managers for facilitating the #sachallenge.  To best support learning and development, The SA Collective L-Team are actively supporting their online subscribers and cultivating the #SAchat hashtag, by utilizing these key community management skills:

  • Listen. It might be a great space to broadcast and disseminate content – but that’s not how you hold a conversation. What do people what to talk about, not just receive? What is the online community engaged in? What are the conversations about online? Take a minute to read and learn from others online.
  • Participate. You need to be a community member, too. Try to join conversations as a peer contributor, not a facilitator. Contribute useful ideas, articles, research, and more. Your online community will want you to be actively sharing online like others in their learning community.
  • Include. Let others help find and create content, guide conversation, start new discussions. It’s a change for many of us in the field who what to “lead” the professional development experience, but will pay off in a more vibrant, sustainable community. Encourage members of the community to be the active voice.

I think Twitter is a key component of my own learning and development, and I often encourage others (i.e. students, professionals, faculty, etc) to set up their own Twitter handle [HOW TO: Set Up a Twitter Account], and/or follow along with the community hashtag. I am also more than happy to connect and chat with those of you who reach out to me on Twitter (a.k.a. @laurapasquini), or by any other means if you want to to talk about Twitter or professional development. Although the #SAchat hashtag focusses on the Student Affairs arena there are a number of other higher education and discipline-based Twitter communities to follow. Check out any number of Twitter chats you can learn from this year: http://bit.ly/TwitterChatSchedule    

Dubbed the Twitter Queen by @hglez9

Photo mashup credit goes out to @hglez9

That being said, I also caution using Twitter as the only means for learning and development. As an avid Twitter user, who has learned a great deal from tweeting over the past few years, I have a healthy skepticism that Twitter is the “best” platform for delivering professional development. Apparently, I am not alone. Audrey Watters recently asked this question in her blog post “Is Twitter the Best Option for Online Professional Development?” and identified both its benefits and challenges. Twitter has created opportunities for conversation, research, collaboration, and support; however I have also witnessed spam bots, self-promoting followers, bullying, disciplinary implications in academia, and other not-so-nice things.  I was reminded by Audrey that “there is a fragility to our ability to connect and share online. Some of that fragility comes when we opt to rely on for-profit companies to run the infrastructure. We do not own the conversations on Twitter. We have limited control over our data and the content we create and share there.” That is not to say you should not participate and engage – but don’t let Twitter be the ONLY only means for your PD.

In my opinion, I think Twitter can augment, not replace, learning and development. Let Twitter be one part of your professional development plan for 2015, and then ask yourself what do you want to learn? Think about what goals you are setting for yourself first, and then consider the spaces you want to engage in this year. Always put your PD goals ahead of the platform, and then go searching for where you want to engage this year. You might also consider searching out training and development opportunities at your institution, at your professional associations, with trade/professional journals, by reading new literature & books, through research projects, signing up for a course/seminar/webinar, by conducting an informational interview, by reaching out to others in your network, and always by discussing your goals with mentors and peers from the field. Perhaps you might even take the time to reflect on these training experiences when you return to/start some bloggery (Thanks for the term, Bryan) to process your learning and development. Good luck with your PD goals for 2015! Let me know if or how I can help.

References:

Lewis, B., & Rush, D.  (2013). Experience of developing Twitter-based communities of practice in higher education. Research in Learning Technology, 21. Retrieved from http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/18598 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.18598.

Watters, A. (2014, December 17). Is Twitter the best option for online professional development? Hack Education. Retrieved from http://hackeducation.com/2014/12/17/twitter-professional-development/.

The Technology Test Kitchen & #et4online CFP Deadline

The Technology Test Kitchen (TTK) was developed at the Online Learning Consortium‘s #blend14 event, and recently enhanced at #aln14.

What the heck is the TTK?

  1. A makerspace for sharing innovative tools and new media
  2. An open collaborative environment for hands-on exploration
  3. An engaging way to connect with your colleagues over emerging technology

 

how it works

The TTK ideas was created to bring faculty, instructional designers, researchers, and conferences participants together to get a hands-on experience with a variety of learning technologies. In the Test Kitchen, there are a number of “chefs” (volunteers who love applying media to learning) who are typically available to talk about design, discuss a “recipe” (a quick how-to guide for a platform, e.g. PDF Recipe Book from #blend14 is posted HERE), utilize apps, brainstorm curriculum strategies, introduce new media (hardware & software), and provide 1:1, hands-on sharing with learning technologies.

To learn more, check out this AMAZING video created by Angela Gunder (a.k.a. @adesinamedia):

For the 2015 #et4online conference, the TTK will be looking for chefs, like YOU, to actively work in the kitchen and demonstrate how to apply media to pedagogical practice.

CFP for Chefs

Interested in applying? Check out the Call for Proposals today for the TTK or any other program track. We would LOVE to review your proposal. The CFP closes on December 1, 2014.

Have Conferences, Will Travel – Fall 2014 Edition

With the start of the academic semester comes a series of conferences. I’m grateful for the conference survival guides and other helpful conference hacks shared by my PLN. Due to limited travel funds and time, I had to decline a few conferences; however I will be sure to follow along the Twitter backchannel (I am looking at you #HEWeb14 and #SMSociety14).

In considering the cost of professional development at many conferences, I have learned to get more involved to help fund this sort of travel.

jure

Image c/o @jure

Here are a few ways to get involved and learn how to fund your own conference travel with your professional affiliations:

  • Volunteer at the conference – check-in desk, hospitality, and more! Ask to volunteer!
  • Apply to present a Pre-Conference workshop – often you are eligible for comped registration and/or bonus honorarium to travel.
  • Get involved with conference planning – join the conference steering committee or planning group. It gets you networked and often offers a discount for registration and/or accommodations
  • Get invited – See if invites are available for featured talks, workshops or edu sessions. Tap into your network and share what you are working on.
  • Stay with a friend – I have housed and been housed at a number of conference locations just to avoid the steep hotel costs. Bunk up, or find a local off the conference beat.
  • Apply for a travel grant – This might be at your own institution, through the professional organization, or other entity.
  • See what’s local – You will be surprised to learn a number of different conferences, workshops, and other P.D. that is happening in your own neck of the woods OR online. :)
  • Present virtually! – Limited travel? See if the conference offers virtual papers, workshops or posters and submit your CFP! If you’re in the #edtech realm, you will likely find this a popular option to travel.

Here is my quick conference list for the Fall 2014 term:

Where are you traveling this academic term? Will our conference travel cross paths? How have you creatively spread your travel funds? Please share. :)

Are you going to #blend14? Join the Unconference session (#unblend14) & More in the Rocky Mountains!

The @SloanConsortium 2014 Blended Learning Conference and Workshop (a.k.a. #blend14) is less than a month away! I am excited to be attending and facilitating a workshop in the rocky mountains (Denver, CO) this July.  As blended learning models for curriculum and program development increase in post-secondary education, learners and instructors are being more invested in different mode and models for education. Last year, I found the mix of programs, discussions, and people at #blend13 very refreshing.  If you have interests in design, development, or research in hybrid and blending learning environments than this might just be the conference and workshop for you!

blend14 banner

For those you who ARE attending #blend14, let me entice you to join in the UN-conference session.  This year, I will be helping to host the Blended Unconference (#unblend14) with Jessica Knott (@jlknott) and Patrice T (@Profpatrice). Unconferences are great opportunities to interact, discussion, and dig into topics that YOU are most interested in. As an a-typical session, the unconference is guided by participants who attend, and are flexible to the needs and wants of the group. It will be YOU who takes control of the agenda, content, and conversation. We will help by providing a basic infrastructure to keep things organized and moving, but this is the opportunity to really make the conference YOUR OWN. Typically unconference sessions introduce a topic or issue, and discussion, debate and ideas ensue.

Should I Attend the Unconference?

Yes!  Well, we think so. If you answer yes to any of the following, the unconference session is JUST for you:

  • Do you sometimes find yourself thinking “I wish they had covered X,Y, Z more deeply” in regular conference sessions?
  • Do you wish you had the chance to ask further questions or expand upon session content?
  • Are you looking for ways to get involved & meet others at #blend14?
  • Did someone ask the perfect question during your presentation & now you want to talk to them further?
  • Do you like interacting with colleagues to expand on ideas, share techniques, debate current trends, or collaborate on research?

Come to the Unconference Sessions on July 9:

  • 1:30 PM – Gather in the Unconference room and review the topics and votes; select top topics
  • 1:45 – 2:45 PM- Break into groups and discuss the top three topics.
  • 2:45 – 3:00 PM – Short break
  • 3:00 – 3:15 PM – Reconvene and revisit the topics and votes
  • 3:15 to 4:15 PM – Break into groups and discuss the next three highest voted topics. (Again, the individuals who submitted the topics will facilitate each of these three groups, with a scribe assigned for note-taking and organizational purposes.)

SIGN UP and submit YOUR UNCONFERENCE TOPIC for #unblend14:

Check out and VOTE ON the current Unconference Topics on Ideascale:

About the Sloan Community on IdeascaleA few ideas to vote onIn other #blend14 news, I will be a “Chef” in the “Technology Test Kitchen.” This NEW addition to the conference will provide participants an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with different tools and technologies they want to use back on campus. Bring your own device (BYOD), and let’s getting developing with audio and/or video, collaborative platforms, communication tools, or presentation resources that YOU want to learn more about.

Are you planning to be in Denver for #blend14? Want to learn more about the #unblend14 Unconference or Test Kitchen? Drop me a line. :)

Q: Should I Start Blogging? A: Maybe.

A common question I field from teachers, faculty, graduate students, higher education professionals, and researchers these days:

Q: Should I start blogging?

My response:

A: Maybe.

write-your-own-blog

Image c/o Blogiau

Blogging and maintaining a blog is not for everyone. I often ask a follow up question to this inquiry to learn more about the motivating factors for the blog:

  • Why do you want to start blogging? [purpose, goal, sharing, reflection, etc.]
  • Do you enjoy writing? i.e. beyond 140-characters & comprehensively
  • What format do you want your blog to be? Written or other, i.e. video, photo-sharing, podcasting?
  • Do you want to express and share your ideas in a public, online forum?
  • What focus will your blog take – work, education, learning, research, or all of the above?
  • Who is your audience? Professional group affiliation? Research discipline? Just for yourself?
  • What platform are you thinking about? Blogger, WordPress or other?
  • Do you have an idea about how often you want to post to your blog?
  • Where will you be getting ideas for your writing? [Content IS king.]
  • How will this contribute to your learning, professional development, etc.? [depending on the person]
  • When will you post to you blog? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Everyone has different reasons for the WHY they blog, or even how they started blogging. Some use blogging as a forum to connect to a professional or academic community. Others use their blog to share resources and ideas. Bloggers often present concepts and challenge the status quo in their field. Then there are other bloggers who use it for shameless self-promotion and self-marketing. The main point is – you should blog because you WANT TO BLOG.

My blogging tale started back in 2006 when I initially took up blogging to share my travel adventures and general life happenings on, Souvenirs of Canada, for family and friends who wanted to stay in touch. In 2008, I created TechKNOW Tools as a professional development space for an academic advising technology seminar for NACADA, and after that I continued to use this space to discuss my own work experiences, research projects, and share what I have been learning.

blogging requires passion and authority

Image c/o Gaping Void

There are a number of reasons WHY I blog.  Thanks to a researcher reviewing educational bloggers, I audited my own blogging experience, and I have considered what [really] prompts me to blog and continue to blog. For me, blogging and writing about my progress is very reflective and I enjoy documenting, sharing, critiquing, and writing about what is going on in my professional (and sometimes personal) sphere. I appreciate the community of research and educational bloggers who play in this blog sandbox. I like their comments, questions, challenges, and support — and at the end of the day I LIKE BLOGGING — otherwise I would not blog. Really.

If it sounds blogging might be just space for you to share your interests and express your ideas — go get your BLOG ON! Here’s a quick “HOW TO” Set Up a WordPress Blog I created for my learners, with a few helpful resources posted at the bottom to get you fired up for your blog writing. Want some more ideas? Here you go:

Do you have resources for the beginning blogger out there? Any advice or comments for new or potential bloggers? Post it in the comments, and also be sure to say HOW LONG and WHY you blog. Blog on, my friends. Blog on.