Expanding My Students’ PLN through Mine – on Twitter

This weekend, in addition to summertime enjoyment, I participated in some Twitter chats connected to @edcampGlobal. Thanks to @raspberryberet3 and @s_m077 for their tweets, I joined #globallearning for a chat “Engaging Student Voice,”  moderated by @JenWilliamsEdu The chat included teachers from elementary to higher education. Some of the questions during the chat included why teachers feel it is important to connect students globally, what tech tools encourage global collaboration (blogs were mentioned), and what are ways that we hope to inspire a global view this year in our classrooms.

Other teachers had tweeted that the purpose for using blogging  was their students’ need to be aware of a global perspective and reflect on what they learn. I commented that my students are already global citizens (mostly international students) but that communicating globally was a goal for them to achieve. My class has expressed resistance to blogging their reading reflections because they are afraid “their” stories don’t reflect “our” Western views or values.  I also mentioned my ESL students had expressed reluctance about blogging because they were worried about their voices being misinterpreted by English-as-a-first-language ears. @MrsDruffel, an elementary school teacher, mentioned her classroom blog and she suggested that our classes connect via their blogs. She shared her blog link with me. The public chat had developed into a conversation with another participant.

And then she asked how old my kids are. I realized that we were in two different worlds – higher education adults and elementary school children. I mentioned, with a sinking heart, that I have adult ESL learners. She thought it was wonderful and was all for it. Our exchange was noticed and commented on by the chat moderator and, come September, we have made plans to have our students blog together. They are elementary school students looking for world perspective; we are adult ESL students with a global perspective and seeking confidence in our writing voices.

I am still amazed with the real connections educators make on Twitter. Teachers are very willing to share and make these unexpected partnerships. @s_m077 and @raspberryberet3 are great connections for me; I met them both at an EdTech Sandbox meeting and discovered the endless possibilities of networking with elementary school teachers (I would like to write about that in another blog – they deserve it).

As I prepared to write this blog, I asked for permission to use Twitter handles and everyone chimed in almost immediately with rousing yeses and offers of more help or support. The immediate positive response I received from these teachers inspires me to blog more, think more, expand more…

I wish I could tell you that these teachers are special, but they’re not. They’re just average.

They are just like everyone else I’ve connected with.

I once mentioned on Twitter that I work at Sheridan and a teacher I had never met reached out and asked to meet me for coffee. I was asked to be a keynote speaker at a conference, tweeted the poster, and another person who had been a keynote speaker at the global edcamp I had just attended reached out to me and offered support and suggestions over coffee. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been touched by the generosity of time and support offered to me. None of this would have been possible if I just relied on old fashioned methods of attending conferences to learn and network. Face to face connections are wonderful, but meeting a Twitter connection in person is wonderfuller (sic). People who don’t know each other on Twitter are willing to put egos aside and establish connections for the benefit of their students. Creating global perspectives through Twitter. Unbelievable. Thank you Mrs. Druffel.

I look forward to making even more connections for my own PLN and now, for  my students.

@MrsDruffel classroom blog

@JenWilliamsEdu blogs here.

To read @raspberryberet3 blog click here.

@s_m077 has a site here.

Link to the #globallearning chat where I made this connection for my students can be found here.