Yesterday, I was able to participate in the first #edchat of the day (12pm EST) on the topic of “What is it that educators are supposed to be preparing kids for?” It was interesting to see the range of ideas discussed, including breaking away from standards-based education and testing, using ePortfolios for student and teacher reflective practice, and changing how we train teachers to make their education more relevant to schooling today. It’s a challenging question and I don’t think there’s any single answer to what educators are supposed to be preparing kids for. Instead, one thing I am wondering is, how often are educators and policy makers getting together to discuss this question (on Twitter and offline) and are there ways these conversations can occur more regularly? If enough people start asking and engaging in a discussion around these types of questions on a consistent basis it seems like we could make better progress in shaping our education system to be more relevant and supportive of students and to help prepare teachers to provide high-quality, meaningful education to all students.
Meanwhile, during #edchat yesterday I received a tweet that I was mentioned in someone’s Storify publication. I have been seeing more and more stories compiled through Storify recently so I decided that it was time to explore the site myself. If, like me, you are new to Storify, you can learn more about it on their FAQ page. I found that it was extremely easy to start an account, at least if you use your existing Twitter account to log in to the site. I had planned to compile a story or a Storify (is it used as a noun?) about the #edchat discussion because I had seen some interesting tweets during the chat and exchanged some thought-provoking messages with others who were participating. Unfortunately, when I went to create my story later that night, I realized that you can only view tweets relating to popular hashtags like #edchat from the past few hours. This meant that all of the tweets from the #edchat I had participated in were no longer visible … oops. So, as is often the case with technology, I had to change my plan.
As I tried to search and find tweets from the earlier #edchat discussion, I came across some more recent #edchat messages that sparked an idea for a new story. I realized that at almost any point, given the popularity #edchat, there are people tweeting ideas and perspectives that can lead to valuable reflection on education and technology. So using that idea, I compiled some tweets about Twitter and educators’ use of tech tools. Next, I added some text before each tweet to frame my ideas and elucidate how I saw one tweet connecting to another. Before I knew it, I had a short story composed of five tweets and a few short bits of text (see my next post). After exploring Storify, I think it will be a good addition to my list of free online tools that can be used to compile pieces of text, video, or pictures to describe an idea or convey a message. It looks like a a great resource for students, teachers, trainers, or anyone using social media and looking to quickly and easily pull together different elements to tell a story. What do you think?