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 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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- ltrcy: http://www.ltrcy.org/
- A Visual Guide to Teaching Students Digital Citizenship Skills: http://www.edudemic.com/teaching-students-digital-citizenship-skills/
- Infographic: Citizenship in the Digital Age: http://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192
- Digital Citizenship: http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/
How are you using social media to fuel your learning and/or the learning of your students?