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A New Idea: #preservicelit

Social media has been influential to my growth as an educator. By connecting with other educators online, I further my own learning, engage in collaborative projects to better support teachers and students and fuel new ideas and inspiration. Twitter has been a particularly important tool for building my personal learning network (PLN) virtually. I am continually amazed at how many educators I connect and collaborate with….but have yet to meet in person. The virtual support, camaraderie and inspiration fuels my heart and mind. I reach out to my PLN for my next book to read, for advice on an upcoming presentation, to request resources or simply gain inspiration.

One of my favorite ways to build my PLN and learn from other educators is through Twitter chats. Twitter chats provide free professional learning and collaboration with others through social media. Participants tweet at particular times on particular topics using hashtags to link their conversations. Here are some of my favorites:


Admittedly, Twitter chats are fast and furious. Thousands of tweets are packed into 30 minute and one hour time blocks. I typically use two devices, have tweets written and ready to go (if the questions were shared early) and have a cup of coffee close by. Yet, it seems no matter how much I prepare myself for the chat, life typically gets in the way. Some of my favorite twitter chats are at night at the same time that my kids are wrapping up sports practice, or needing dinner, or doing homework or getting ready for bed, or…..you get the idea. I struggle to participate through an entire chat as a result.

On a recent chat, I was thrilled to see Dr. Molly Ness lament about timing of the chat with her child's bedtime. I smiled and knew I was not alone. I sent her a private message to thank her for her honesty and jokingly said we should create a Twitter chat on a Saturday morning instead.

I mulled the idea overnight. In a Twitter chat just a few nights before, I connected with two literacy teacher educators around our work together. Part of our conversation focused on using technology and social media in our literacy classes to introduce our preservice teachers to social media, particularly Twitter. I awoke with the idea to create a new twitter chat on Saturday mornings for undergraduate and graduate literacy students, combining my two professional passions: literacy teacher education/coaching and technology. This morning, the #preservicelit idea began taking shape.

I imagine a robust 30-minute chat where future literacy teachers can connect, discuss current ideas in the field, share ideas and resources, grapple with real life teaching challenges, ask questions and meet new mentors for their own professional learning. Preservice teachers can learn about the power of the PLN and use social media professionally, ethically and responsibly to further their learning. Guest hosts can connect students to the very authors, researchers and professionals they are learning from in their teacher education programs. Literacy teacher educators can coach teachers through their virtual interactions, collaborate across institutions, combine their expertise and strengthen education programs together. 


This idea is in the wonderfully tentative beginning stages, just waiting for collaboration. I am sending this idea out to the world with hopes that others might be interested and join me. Are you a literacy teacher educator who wants to get involved? Are you a literacy professional who would love to participate as a model for future teachers? Have you started your own chat and have advice? I would love to connect as I continue with this #preservicelit journey. 

Stay tuned!

Comments

  1. Love it! I am in! @LevineWrites Mark

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    1. I am so glad you are interested, Mark! I sent you a tweet for your email so I can send you more information!

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  2. I'd love to be involved! Great idea!

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    1. Thank you, Kristen! I would love for you to join in. I'll send you an email soon!

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    2. Hi Kristen! I set up a page so interested teachers can sign up for more information. I added your name, but was not sure what email I should use: https://sites.google.com/view/stephanieaffinito/preservicelit

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  3. I think this is a great idea! There used to be a Saturday morning chat for new teachers (#ntchat, I think) but it shut down last January. Saturday mornings are a GREAT time for a chat. I hear you about the timing of Twitter chats interfering with bedtimes, dinner, etc. It's so hard to find an ideal time where everyone can participate. You will find there are struggles with Saturday mornings too, unfortunately, but may be the best time for your audience -- preservice teachers. Please let me know how I can help you get your new chat started!

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    1. Thank you! I truly appreciate the offer or support and will probably send some questions your way shortly! I have created a site for the project if you want to add your name and contact information for updates! https://sites.google.com/view/stephanieaffinito/preservicelit

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  4. Stephanie, I would love to be involved! I have been using twitter with my undergrads for the last few semesters, teaching them how to participate in a chat and having them explore chats. This would be WONDERFUL! Another idea that I have used with in-service teachers is to hold Slow Chats, so that the time factor isn't as much of an issue. Here is my email: vincenss@miamioh.edu and my twitter handle: @ssvincent

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    1. I am excited to connect, Susan! I created a page for the project if you want to take a look and add additional contact information. I will send additional information soon! https://sites.google.com/view/stephanieaffinito/preservicelit

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  7. I'm in too! I have a few former students who are studying to be teachers. I'll share the chat with them and encourage them to join in!

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  8. Please do, Michelle! Thank you! Here is a link to learn more! https://sites.google.com/view/stephanieaffinito/preservicelit

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