Follow up on Harnessing the Wisdom of the Crowds: Sharing in the Internet era

In today’s session, 17 learners generously gave up their morning to learn more about tools that allow you to share and find ideas online.

Like before, if you’re interested in knowing more about what we did in class, you can find the embedded handout below.

Here is a direct link to the document as well (clicking on any of the links in the pdf document will open them in your default browser).

Since this workshop invloved learning to use twitter, there’s one more way to learn about what we did—by reading the tweetsteeam from our hashtag: #wmshtc. Today’s discussion on twitter was great since it actually drew in a range of participants who weren’t in the session, including a few Westminster teachers, a former alumna who now works in elementary education, and even a physics professor from Minnesota.

One of the best tweets came from Megan Howard (that Westminster Alumna) who is now the director of teaching and learning at Trinity School:

The link in the tweet links to this photo illustration:

Sharing is the Work

Finally, the video of the advanced session is broken into two parts and embedded below.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contribute your own ideas or ask questions in the comments below.


About John Burk

The ramblings of a physics teacher.
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3 Responses to Follow up on Harnessing the Wisdom of the Crowds: Sharing in the Internet era

  1. John,

    Thanks for all you and others are doing to support the use of these applications. Our students will no doubt be the ultimate beneficiaries. Like many, I was initially skeptical about the use of Twitter in both teaching and in life in general, but, having been a Twitter user since last December, I find that I am reading more than ever. Twitter has helped me to focus, maintain, and consolidate personal and professional reading lists like I never imagined possible. It’s like having your own personal, customized librarian who finds, edits, and formats the stuff you want to read.

    So I am obviously hopeful about the ways that Twitter and tools like it can support student learning, but I do, however, think that the Mcintosh quote embedded above is easily misinterpreted and has the potential to distract us from some of the timeless goals of great schools, e.g. the development of empathy, curiosity, and moral imagination. While I see “online sharing” as empowering our efforts to achieve these lofty goals, it does not for me represent the solitary work of an educator, as Mcintosh could be interpreted as implying. I am not suggesting that 2.0 applications do not support the modeling of a selfless and imaginative scholarship, or, in the case of Westminster, “the love of Christ for all people”; they certainly can. I just want to be careful that in the use of these technologies that we are ultimately responsible enough in our language and practice to avoid the potential implication that the hammer is more important than the house, the rod more important than the fish etc.

    I trust that with your continued support and that of all our colleagues, we can employ these new and powerful tools in our continued efforts to model the scholarship that has always forwarded leading institutions. Thanks for all the help!

    See you in the “Twittersphere,”

    • John Burk says:

      Thanks for this very thoughtful comment. I agree that the Mcintosh quote could be misinterpreted, but I choose to see it as a reaction to the model “lock your door and engage in the solitary act of teaching” model that thrives in many schools, and runs counter to the culture of sharing we create with PLCs and peer visits. I see technology as a very powerful medium for amplifying this sharing to every imaginable corner. I don’t think the quote speaks about what to share, but my thought it is it should be those timeless goals you mention (empathy, curiosity and moral imagination), and our successes and failures at trying to reach these goals.

  2. Kay Solomon says:

    Bart, I have the same concerns. I struggle a bit, because some students do great with face-to-face engagement, while others do better less outwardly. With students who are more introverted or don’t feel comfortable speaking aloud, Twitter could be great in helping those more quiet voices express themselves. Yet, classroom management remains an issue.

    I’ve used Twitter as a formative assessment tool (#20minwms), but it was controlled in the sense that my students were not the ones tweeting; I was getting feedback from students and tweeting for them. However, I’d love to explore having some kind of constructive backchannel during class to ensure all voices are heard, just as an example. In that sense, I think that with practice, we could use the backchannel as a jumping off point for class discussion, still engaging our students such that they are still helping them “[develop] empathy, curiosity, and moral imagination.”

    Thanks, Bart.

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