This post is absolutely NOT about tweeting with students. That is an entirely different ballgame and one that works beautifully as modeled by @MsSandersTHS. If you haven’t followed her stream of classroom tweets, you should.
Today, I woke up thinking about the teacher that taught next to me who made facebook connecting via gaming more of a priority than the students in her class. That was years ago and twitter wasn’t yet the “drink of choice” for educators connecting socially.
We’ve heard many arguments about why tweeting in school is necessary with many of them being, “that’s how I learn and grow”. Others say that they tweet between classes and that makes it okay. Right?
Anyone that knows me personally knows that my phone was my escape from the social world for a long time. If I was bored, and I often was, I sat and sent messages, tweeted and searched the web. I did this because being on my phone kept me away from dealing with the insanely boring world around me. That was years ago and those habits helped to inform how I connect now.
When I am learning, I tend to capture many thoughts via twitter backchannel. My focus during those moments is on the device and tweeting the ideas. What happens is that I miss the nuances of the environment. I miss the non verbal communications of the speakers because I’m typically too busy capturing thoughts.
I caught myself being “out of the loop” while trying to capture images with my own kids in a maker space. Instead of communicating, I was taking pictures and posting. I missed a few critical moments because of that and as soon as I realized it, I put the phone away and dedicated my attention to the moment.
Tweeting in Class
Revisiting the “excuses to tweet” in class above, I have to wonder how many conversations are missed. How many moments are delayed because kids don’t want to disturb the person taking the pictures or tweeting the moments instead of being in them. How many “much needed” hellos were missed because the eyes were focused on the twitter app versus greeting the children and adults in school.
Capturing learning moments is one thing but making the capture an overwhelming priority is another.
When we are with kids, we should be with kids…period. As someone that works with teachers, this applies to us as well.
There has to be a balance between being a socially connected learner and being a responsible communicator.
Our kids deserve our undivided attention and no matter what, we should always make giving them that a priority.