Twitter is getting some hype lately. The fun part of the hype is that it lacks any real explanation of what twitter is about, and generally any real understanding. So I’m going to help out by offering some examples of how twitter can positively impact your life, and not just by getting endless tweets sent to your phone or browser.
Twitter for sports teams
This one is for the soccer moms and team managers. Let’s say you’re showing up to a game only to find that there’s another sport happening, or no goal posts, or a vast hole in the ground. It happens. In pre-Twitter America, you would need to find a new field, and then assign somebody to wait around until everyone else shows up…because even with a call list somebody doesn’t have their phone and they are running late. And calling everyone on a call list is a hassle.
Enter Twitter. Create a twitter account for your team. Have everyone follow it (players and soccer moms). Send your message: “Game moved to Washington Elementary. June, don’t forget oranges slices.” Simple. Done.
Twitter in Education
I’ve had a few conversations about kids, education, and the new technologies. Latest was last night with a teacher friend. We were chatting about parent conferences, and the impact of them. One of the pain points was in communication around homework. The student insists that they don’t have any homework (untruth). The parent finds out about the problem at the conference when the grade has already suffered.
Again twitter is your friend. Create a twitter account as the teacher. Share the account to students and parents and ask them to follow you. This account is only for classroom-related information. For each class, simply tweet the assignment after the bell. Announce field trips, class news, awards, whatever.
The albatross sent me a depressing link about a first-time teacher’s summer school experience. Ouch, what a panful experience she describes, an intellectual woman of experience wanting to give something to the community (symbiotically, she admits), who is thrust into a classroom of students who just don’t want to learn. They have their reasons, and you can’t hate (most of) them for it, as so many have horrible home lives, but she has to battle so many sides her job is nearly impossible. When she does come across a lesson that grabs the students (the parts of speech: the bitchy bitch bitched bitchily) parents inevitably call in to complain, and she gets another visit to the overworked and defeated dean’s office, whose instructions are to stay on plan, don’t stray, show movies.
The state of education is dismal here throughout the states. Teachers are treated worse and worse. Classrooms grow, requirements from programs like the disastrous No Child Left Behind act squeeze the life out of classrooms and schools, unruly students, whose parents a such unforgivable, selfish loafs who redirect their guilt and anger at their poor decisions and bad luck at schools, these factors along with budget cuts, whiplash administration changes, creationist school boards and parent organizations, drugs, shrinking after-school programs, and the increasing cost of being cool (shoes, clothes, car need money, so there’s less time) contribute to the disastrous state of education.
I’ve mentioned before that I nearly taught, to the extent of obtaining my MAT, including classroom time. While my experience wasn’t as dramatic as hers, I felt everything she speaks of, invisible forces at work. The students didn’t care. You’ve got to be as fun as TV if you want their attention, and gears need to shift all the time. This is much more true for the physical sciences class I taught than the physics class, but you could see it both places, the unruly students, the ones whose home lives are unimaginable. The kids who need us the most are the hardest to reach, because they just aren’t there.
Not extraordinary news to stand out among the atrocities, but I noticed that West Linn-Wilsonville School district is making a good decision and even handling it well in disallowing students tranferring to other schools outside their area. The good part is that they are letting next year’s seniors finish with their current school. This decision will save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars and is a good example of positive changes that are available to help with the current budget crisis.