Windsor HS/MS Twitter Challenge!

Open new pathways at #WindsorCSD

10-Day Twitter Challenge, April 7th through April 20

Just by participating you are entered into a raffle to win one of two $40 gift certificates to some local eateries!


... as if you needed additional motivation...

Why should you participate?

Twitter can be an invaluable tool for educators, when used properly. Some people get drawn into keeping track of celebrities, or think "Why do I can what people are doing?" Twitter is so much more than that. Twitter can be used to quickly connect and share ideas with like-minded teachers around the world. Whether you are a singleton teacher or part of a large group in your department, you cant' afford NOT to do this! Think of all the other great teachers like yourself out there you can connect with!


So why not step outside your comfort level a bit, even YOU can do this!


The video below shows how Twitter can greatly benefit educators:

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

How this works

You will be given a task to complete each day of the challenge, starting April 7th and ending April 20th.


Complete all the tasks and your name will go in to the raffle! If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to email me at rbray@windsor-csd.org, or send me a tweet at @MrChemGeek


Ready?

Let's get started!

Tuesday, April 7

Task 1: Get on Twitter

Create a Twitter account by going to www.twitter.com. If you already have an account, you may want to consider creating separate accounts for classroom, professional development , and/or professional uses. Doing so insures your followers won't be confused as to which messages are meant for them and which are not. Either way, if you already have an account, help someone else sign up!


If it's your first account, keep your user name short and avoid adding letters to the end as that can be confusing. Your user name, or "handle", can be a variation of your name or what you teach.


That's it for today, welcome to the Twitterverse!

Wednesday, April 8

Task 2: Update your profile information and send your first tweet

Now that you have your account set up from yesterday, take a minute (or two) to update your profile information. As always, don't share any personal information you aren't comfortable with sharing, but maybe let people know what you're interested in, and what you teach.


Please update the "egg" picture with an actual picture of you.


Once you're done with all this, share your Twitter handle with us via tweet by tagging me (by typing @MrChemGeek in your tweet *PS - tagging me is how you are get started in the raffle entry!) and your other colleagues (using their handles if you know them), and tag @WBKANDREWS (Mr. Andrews)... Show off your new skills!


"What should I say in my first tweet?"

Hello works just fine. Please be sure to include our hashtag #WindsorCSD in your tweet; that allows us to tag the conversation. Hashtags allow Twitter users to easily search conversations for a particular topic. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9

Task 3: Start Developing/Enhancing Your Professional Learning Network

One huge advantage of Twitter is that it allows people to collaborate all around the world, thus expanding your Personal Learning Network (PLN) from within the walls of your building to around the state, and potentially around the world! What is a PLN you ask? The video (and associated article) below gives some insight.
What is a PLN - Marc-André Lalande's take

Your task for today is to look at the profile of people who have "mentioned" you in a tweet (they will show up in the "notifications" section of your Twitter homepage). From there, if you are interested in what they have to say, follow them by clicking on the "follow" button. You can go deeper by seeing who they follow, and see if you would be interested in that person.


Not sure what I mean? The video below walks you through this process step by step.

How To Follow on Twitter
This is how you build your PLN. By finding new people to follow and seeing who they follow or retweet. Usually people retweet good ideas they want to share, so it's a good idea to follow the original tweeter as well. Over time you will start seeing people from all around the country (even the world!) pop up on your feed... welcome to the Twitterverse!


If no one has mentioned you in a tweet yet, fear not! You can search Twitter for our hashtag (#WindsorCSD), find some of your colleagues and go from there.


If you are looking for some safe, verified, educators to follow I would suggest:

@MrChemGeek - Me :-) (If you want to see how I use Twitter in my classroom you can take a look at @WindsorChem)

@SeanHCole - an amazing educator from South Africa

@ShiftParadigm - a tech advocate from Georgia who shares brilliant ideas all the time

@BradMacDuff - a math teacher from the Syracuse area who does amazing things with tech in his classroom (using equipment the students already have!)

@APGovME - an AP Government and Civics teacher at M-E who is full of great ideas and always willing to lend a helping hand

@Kewalee - an AP English teacher at U-E who is a master of the flipped classroom and very experienced with applying for (and winning) Donor's Choose grants.

@BTEdTech - our local educational technology leader.

Friday, April 10

Task 4: Share something you did in class today

As you most likely know by now, tweets are limited to 140 characters. This forces you to be concise with your ideas, which can be difficult... especially for this next task.


Share out what you did in class today. What did you talk about? Were there any demos or products you would like to share? You can upload photos to your tweets to help, but please be aware of privacy laws regarding showing student faces.


Be sure to use the hashtag #WindsorCSD at the end of your tweet so we can all see!

Monday, April 13

Task 5: What chat would you like to participate in?

Chats are an awesome function of Twitter for educators. People discuss various topics daily or weekly, and use hashtags to mark the conversation for others to easily search. In other cases, there are ongoing conversations that you can jump into at any time. For example, #NYEDChat is a group that "meets" every other Monday from 8:30pm - 9:30pm EST. The point of a Twitter chat is there is no specific website you have to visit or log into... just go to Twitter and search for the associated hashtag. What's better is the entire discussion stays on Twitter in case you can't make the chat, or want to look back.


Your task for today is to look through the list of Twitter chats below and find one or two you are interested in participating in. When you find one (or more), send a tweet out to let the rest of us know about it! Be sure to use the specific Twitter chat hashtag, as well as our school hashtag, #WindsorCSD. Maybe your tweet will look something like, "I am looking forward to the next #flipclass chat! #WindsorCSD"

Tuesday, April 14

Task 6: Commit to a chat for this week

The time is now!


Your first chat can be a scary experience; a lot can happen at once. Remember, it's great to participate, but it's ok to just lurk too. Once you pick the chat you plan to participate in, let us all know by sending out a tweet (be sure to include both the specific chat hashtag as well as our school hashtag, #WindsorCSD). For example: "I'm so excited for #edchat Tuesday! #WindsorCSD" or "I'm looking forward to the #BFC530 discussion tomorrow! #WindsorCSD".


Remember: chats are a great time to build your PLN. If someone says something you like, feel free to follow them (you can always unfollow later if they don't work out).


To participate in a chat:

During the specified chat times, go to your twitter page, and search (on the Twitter page) for the associated hashtag. At the top of the page you will see the option for seeing the "Top" posts versus "All" posts. In a chat setting, to be up-to-the-minute you want to select "All". Every 30 seconds or so refresh/reload that page to see what new has come up.

Wednesday, April 15

Task 7: Share out

Once you have participated in your weekly chat, share out some awesome take aways... meaning what did you really like about the chat, or what awesome, new ideas are you going to work in to your classroom?


Please tag your tweet with the chat's specific hashtag, as well as our school hashtag (#WindsorCSD). If you want to credit someone from the chat with an idea, please include their twitter handle (complete with the @ symbol) in your tweet.... maybe we would like to follow that person too!


(Obviously, depending on what day your chat falls, this task may be completed on this date, or a later date)

Thursday, April 16

Task 8: Share favorite lesson

In 140 characters or less, describe to us your favorite lesson and why you love to teach it. You can include on-line documents and/or pictures, but remember those links use up some of your 140 characters. You can use a URL shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl to shorten your URL and save character space (if you need help with bit.ly or goo.gl, feel free to ask me). Be sure to use the hashtag #WindsorCSD in your tweet!


Once you have shared your lesson, see what others are sharing. You can look in your Twitter feed or search on Twitter for our hashtag (#WindsorCSD). Feel free to reply to another colleague's lesson tweet with words of encouragement! Better yet, if you think they can teach you some new tricks, go talk with them! If you think a lesson is particularly awesome, and deserves a bigger audience, RT (retweet) that lesson to all your tweeps!

Friday, April 17

Task 9: Grow your PLN and the PLN of others by #FF

At this point, hopefully, your PLN has grown exponentially thanks to Twitter. If not, don't worry... it will.


"Follow Friday" (#FF) is a hashtag used on Fridays to help introduce people or organizations that may otherwise be unknown about on Twitter. People usually pick one or two people to suggest others follow. For example, "#FF @WindsorChem"


Tell us who you think is worth following this Friday. Create a #FF tweet and include a few people you think the rest of us would benefit from following. Be sure to include the #FF hashtag and our school's hashtag (#WindsorCSD).

Monday, April 20

Task 10: Make our own chat #WindsorCSD

Why not PLC our PLN? The goal of this task is to create our own little chat here in the Windsor School District, and maybe others will be able to benefit from it.


On Monday, during the high school PLC time, I will be moderating our own chat using the hashtag #WindsorCSD. I will ask a few professional questions that you are all invited to weigh in on. If you are able to be involved with the chat during PLC time, your live feedback would be awesome! You can also check in sometime that night and let us know what you think. The chat will officially end at midnight on Tuesday, but you're welcome to keep the back channel communication going on your own.


You will see the questions appear in single tweets as Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. When you want to answer/respond to a question, let the rest of us know which one by starting your tweet with A1, A2, A3, etc., respectively. Finally, don't forget to include the hashtag #WindsorCSD in your response tweet!