Twitter @bsherry

I’ve been giving Web 2.0 lots of thought this week as I become pretty much entrenched in the Twittersphere…and really liking it! I am absolutely amazed at the sharing that I see going on in twitter. It’s pretty incredible to read postings from people I know and technology leaders I’ve been reading about for the past 5 or 6 years.

Creating groups around your career or interests is a wonderful thing. It makes you feel pretty good to be exchanging ideas with people who think like you and have the resources that you have…but I do wonder whose voice is not being heard here? What, if anything, is the danger in developing ideas among like-minded individuals? Is there really a variety of voices and objective participation in most online communities? Are we missing out on some important voices? You’d think that you’d find a diverse group in the Twittersphere, but is the clustering that happens likely to promote a range of opinion, or a similarity that could cloud our view of what other people experience?

Quite frankly, some teachers just don’t have colleagues in their schools that are interested in collaboration around topics of interest in education. Or perhaps they are the only teacher in a particular subject area or with a certain kind of expertise in the school. Our choice used to be taking a course, which would give us a PLN we needed for a period of time. Now, I can take my professional interests online and look for like-minded educators to help me push forward in my learning, possibly in a much more sustaining way than a traditional course offering. This is why I got involved in blogging and wikis…I needed dialogue with teachers who were interested in new technologies and there weren’t individuals at my school who were exploring these ideas. Online communities seemed to be a much more practical and vibrant classroom for me.

In December, David Warlick talked at RCAC about the danger of students without access; he says the real danger is not so much about access to computers anymore, but understanding the power of collaboration, or not. I’m coming to understand, through my own participation online, that these learning networks may meet more of the needs of our learners and teachers than traditional learning spaces (time, choice, just-in-time learning, co-learning), and that teachers really need to be understand the usefulness of these very real and purposeful virtual environments. Now, the challenge of being open to the use of these kinds of tools in our often locked-down school network environments!

I look forward to learning more from my Twitter friends about how these networks work and their experience as participants.



  1. Interesting observations, Brenda. There’s also the reality to be concerned. In the session in Toronto, we had 100-200 folks. I tried to do the mental math to answer a tweet from a friend. For those two days, people were excited, overwhelmed, constructors, collaborators, friends, followers,……and we all went back to work on Monday. The real test will be to see how many people stick with it. You’ve probably noticed that the Twitter tag #expbound has rapidly dropped off since the event. There’s probably two answers. One is that most folks have gone underground into other networks of value to themselves or that they’re unable to fit it into their already loaded day.How do we add the value to this exercise that sustains the excitement in that hotel room in Toronto? How do we get folks to realize the value that you’ve seen and are now talking about?


  2. Doug, Thanks for your thoughts. I think you are very right to say that reality gets in the way sometimes. What I cut out of my already way-too-long posting was that it’s easy for me to be critical of teachers who don’t seem to be ‘keeping up’ with tech trends, because I happen to enjoy it (and therefore the people I ‘hang’ with either virtually or in real life, tend to like it too) and I’m an itinerant teacher this year. I have the luxury of fewer of the stressors of the regular classroom teacher and I am very aware that it is not the REAL DEAL. I remember those days teaching Grade 2 with not a minute to go to the bathroom, never mind tweet out a message, or create a blog posting. At a workshop that I was giving on Friday, I was shocked to be helping some teachers learn how to cut and paste text!! How can this be?Many of the people in the room who were more ‘expert’ at the hotel are out of the classroom role and have more time to spend learning. I think it’s important for us to remember the pressures of classroom teaching and make suggestions that are reasonable and realistic given their roles. How will they see the value though…I’m not sure about that.


  3. Brenda wrote:“Quite frankly, some teachers just don’t have colleagues in their schools that are interested in collaboration around topics of interest in education.”I think you’ve nailed here, Brenda. There are only 4 of us on our Ed-Tech support team. While this is a start, the twittershere expanded at #expbound because of folks like you. We have practically the same jobs [well almost] and I’ve learned this week that you [and others] — we have some of the same interests both professionally and personally. As @dougpete mentioned, the next weeks will tell for folks new to twitter. I registered a year ago, but neither did I “get it” not did I have anyone in my PLN at that time [on-line anyway]. Brenda, thank you for your insights in this post. It has helped me to “process” the amazing week I’ve had using twitter and making new PLNers.Kent


  4. Brenda great post about twitter, thanks for adding your name to the list of < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Ed Tech Tweeps going to NECC 2009<>. It keeps growing with interesting tweeps, hope to see you at NECC!


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