Teacher Learns to Tweet

These are my original goals identified two months ago when I started this project:

Goal #1: Learn to code

Goal #2: Write a blog about my learning in order to process my thinking, share with other people, and gain insights from readers.

I have learned a great deal since I started working toward these goals almost 2 months ago, but have recently identified an unexpected outcome: I’ve begun to consume and process my technological experiences differently. (Clarification: This outcome was unexpected to me…not necessarily anyone else!)

I have explored free and easy tutorials for JavaScript, Ruby, and Logo.  I have read tons of really user-friendly literature about how to go about learning. I have interacted with numerous individuals who are on their own learning and teaching paths, and have offered insights to my experience. As I have explore all of these things, I have become more curious about how the different technological tools I use every day work. I have gotten frustrated with the programming tutorials, wanting to know more about the code that runs them. I have started to become curious about the code that runs my WordPress site, and ways I can tinker with it. I look at webpages in a different way, understanding that code dictates the various components I see. I still don’t feel like I know how TO code, but I have definitely unearthed new layers in my awareness and am asking new questions. I know the code is there, and I can feel myself getting closer to it.


twitter-button
Image source: http://goo.gl/xhMJb3

I recently became interested in Twitter, something never really cared about before, for two reasons:

Reason # 1: I have been learning the programming language Ruby, and found out that Twitter was originally written using Ruby on Rails. The connection between Ruby and Twitter made me want to explore it. As I’m learning the language, I’m trying to think of things I can and want to DO using Ruby, and find it helpful to see and use real-life examples.

Reason #2: A colleague made an amazing video last week based on work done at my school (http://youtu.be/ZOxodRT3Uf0), and I wanted to find ways to share it.

So that is it…2 reasons, and my curiosity took over. After a little fiddling (and the helpful perspectives of a friend who willingly guided me through my all my lame questions), I have become enthralled by the Twitterverse. The cool thing is that since my exploration is fueled by my interest in coding, I find myself analyzing what’s happening every time I use it…not in terms of code (I’m not there yet), but in terms of action. I find myself analyzing what actions are creating other actions, and then looking at the results. The fast-moving inputs and outputs are fascinating to me. They are all fueled by human connection (which I have always been interested in), moderated by machine (which I am beginning to be interested in). I never cared about the “machine” component of social media before. Now I care. I think that is neat.


Connecting the dots between Twitter, WordPress, Technology, and Programming: I will now tell a story that demonstrates some things I learned today:

Untitled drawing (2)Once upon a time, a girl decided that she should embed her brand new Twitter feed on the sidebar of her blog. Easy, right? She selected the widget, followed all the steps, and guess what? It didn’t work. She followed the so-called easy steps 5 or 6 times. She Googled how to do it and read the instructions carefully again and again. She slept on it, thinking maybe it just needed time…It still did not work.

She was was frustrated! She was frustrated with the technology. She was frustrated with herself because she could not get the technology that should have been simple and user-friendly to work. She was also frustrated with herself because her instinct to get her husband to figure it out for her kept broadcasting through her brain. (See my post on Barbie for more on why this is problematic.) 

Finally, in a moment of desperation she gave up and called in her backup, grunting to her husband that she needed help. He motioned to hand the computer over, but she refused, suddenly re-energized. She repeated her steps as he watched. She got to the last step she had taken several other times, and poof! Her Twitter feed magically appeared. She laughed, relieved, and thanked her husband for providing the magic eye that seemed to make all the difference (and no difference at all).

What is the moral of the story? There are a couple:

  1. Sometimes the sheer presence of another person invited into your problem-solving scenario seems to be the magic that your technology problem needs to resolve. Does this ever happen to you? It seems to happen to me all the time! If anything, this must just speak to the power of collaboration…Even if it’s irrational, psychic-energy collaboration. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but you don’t always need the other person to solve the problem for you.
  2. From the words of my faithful consultant: “That’s a good lesson in programming…sometimes stuff doesn’t work for awhile, and then it just does.” I’m not sure how re-assuring this is, but I suppose the takeaway is to give your problem-solving attempts time when you are fairly sure you are right.
  3. If you find yourself in this type of conundrum, you can at least take solace in the fact that all programmers and techie-types experience this! Maybe it just makes the celebration all the sweeter when your problem gets resolved.

The end.


Resources:

Ignite your Passion for Discovery Education: This is a great blog post about using social media with young children: http://learningandsharingwithmsl.blogspot.ca/2014/11/ignite-your-passion-for-discovery.html

Conversations about “digital literacy” and “digital citizenship” are a great accompaniment to social media in the classroom. Here’s are some resources:


How are you using social media to fuel your learning and/or the learning of your students?

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2 thoughts on “Teacher Learns to Tweet

  1. Sometimes all we need is another pair of eyes. I will to say to people, “Come here! I need another pair of eyes!”

    I have followed you on twitter too. After years of saying “what would I possibly have to tweet about??” I have joined twitter as well. It’s a fascinating medium and the restricted message length really helps me break down to bare bones of the message. (unfortunately, grammar also suffers)

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  2. That’s a good call! I have used that phrase when it’s non-technology that I need help with…I’m just so used to bailing out of technological issues. I think it’s just another one of those habits I’m trying to change because I realize it’s only a habit and not actually ineptitude. I was just watching this video of Why the Lucky Stiff (widely recognized programmer and advocate) speaking at some conference, and I had to laugh when it took him about a minute to struggle through getting his audio to work while playing a video. I would have bailed out and called the IT support about 10 seconds into the ordeal, but he just battled through without batting an eyelash.

    I agree about the length..It’s a good challenge! My good friend called the 140 characters an art, and I have to agree…I guess the “high art” would be staying in the character limit and also using proper grammar, haha! Thanks for the follow! I followed you too 🙂

    Like

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