Friday, January 20, 2012

Students showed the power of Twitter to me last night #EdChat

Last night was just another night of the school year for me. I worked all day and did some prep for Final Exams next week. Students were supporting their basketball teams at home and having a good time. Before I went to bed last night, I check my Twitter feed of the school account to see if anyone had tweeted me. My feed was filled with the hash tag #IversInOurPrayers. I was very worried because I had taught an Ivers in class a few years ago. I clicked the tag and read hundreds of tweets showing love and support for the Ivers family. I finally found the source of the tweets and was devastated. Two students at my high school lost their father.
It is a tragedy for anyone to lose a parent. It has to be one of the most difficult things to deal with. What made me feel good was seeing the tweets from all of the different students showing their support for this family. Some even said they didn’t know the family personally, but they were in their prayers. So many students were tweeting the tag that #IversInOurPrayers trended in the Detroit area for a short time.  The students also managed to get kids to wear blue in support of the family today as well. Tweets and retweets filled the night as kids worked hard to show their support for this family. It was amazing.
I bring this up to show the power of Twitter to people out there that are skeptical of its use or impact on students. There are school board members, teachers, administrators and others involved in the educational field around the country that feel that social media has no place in education and it should be kept out of schools. This show of love, support and compassion for fellow students is proof that Twitter can be used to great things in the educational environment. Every tool has its downside, but the upside should be looked at and embraced when it can help bring learning to a different level.
For those of you out there still unsure of the value of Twitter, take a minute and scroll though the #IversInOurPrayers feed and then tell me it’s a passing fad. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to put on my blue sweatshirt and get to class.