Friday, September 9, 2011

Random Thoughts

I'm starting a new type of posts that I'm calling Random Thoughts. These posts are going to be a compilation of thoughts that are too long for Twitter, but too short for their own post. I feel like this year is going to be filled with great and exciting things, but they might not fit in a specific post. Feel free to share your random thoughts to me in the comment box.

As part of my random thoughts series, I will post a random picture from a random Google Images Search. Enjoy!

Why the heck are you not blogging or on Twitter?
Yesterday I was able to take a student to meet the Secretary of Education. Actually, my student didn't just meet Secretary Duncan, he was actually given a 10-15 minute interview. My student was also able to meet the Governor of Michigan, the Mayor of Detroit and the Superintendent of Schools of Michigan. For an eighteen year old aspiring journalist, this was a huge score. What does this have to do with blogging or Twitter? Everything.

At the end of June, I wrote a post entitled, "Why is the Department of Education Terrible at Social Media?" At this point, I had actually been in touch with @EdPressSec Justin Hamilton and had some nice discussion about teacher involvement in policy. After my post went live, he connected me to Cameron Brenchley from the Outreach part of the DOE and we have been working on some cool things. Cameron was the one who worked hard to get me a spot on the bus to interview Secretary Duncan and worked even harder to get my student there.

My main point is that this would not have been possible if it were not for my blog or my Twitter account. My social media presence allowed me to connect with people that allowed me to set up an amazing learning experience for my student. There are still people, some in my own district, that think that social media does not have a place in schools. If an interview with the Secretary of Education, who is pro technology in education btw, doesn't convince people to use Social Media, I do not know what will.


A friend pointed out I had passed the 10,000 Follower mark. I laughed and wondered what 8,000 bots are doing following me on Twitter. The number of followers is awesome, but it's not about the number of followers. When I started 2 years ago, I never set out to get a certain number. I just kind of let that number roll on with out much of a thought. I want newbies out there to never be intimidated by the number of followers a person might have. To be honest, some of the most helpful people actually have the most followers. Maybe that's the connect.

Unblocked Sites

My school district decided to unblock some sites that had been blocked in the past. YouTube, Flickr and Google Images were the big ones. I would love to take the credit for making this happen, but it was a decision made by the whole group and I want to give them the props they deserve for supporting this change in policy. It was one of my goals, but it would not have been possible without their support. If you are reading this, thanks and I hope to keep thing moving.

My Throat is Killing Me

Am I the only one that gets a scratchy throat the first few days back at school? IS that a bad thing in the sense that I'm talking to much and I should do more listening the first couple of days back? I'm really going to think about that next year. Really. I left a note for myself to think about it.

Blogging and RSS Feeds

I helped my Am Lit students set up their blogs and their RSS feeds. I will share the class wiki so people can look at their blogs once we get rolling. If you are interested in connecting our classes for some blogging projects, leave me a comment and we can chat.

I think that is it for now. Have a great night everyone!

- @TheNerdyTeacher