An Experiment on Using Twitter as a PLN

So it’s 4:00 AM and I’m tossing and turning so I decided to check out my Twitter feeds. You see, I’m Twitticted. (I think I just made up a word.) I have three Twitter accounts. One is for personal stuff (translation: For commenting/conversing about the University of Washington Huskies), one is for teaching, and the last one is for my #flipclass, #edchat, #edtech PLN that I’m working on developing. I have decided not to intermix my Twitter ‘friends’ and keep things separate.

As I wandered through my hashtag searches, I had an idea. Let’s ask the Twitterverse (another new word…? Nah, somebody’s probably already used it.) about a project I’ve got going. I’ve been guest-reading poetry with a 4th grade class at my school. The first visit I read one of my favorite poems, “If” by Rudyard Kipling. It was lots of fun and the students seemed to get into having me there, so I got invited back. This time, I read a personal poem I wrote as a memory poem of my dad. I started with a short geography lesson using Google Earth to show them the setting of the poem (Naches Peak, in Washington State) compared to where we are in Bucharest. Then I went into a PowerPoint that showed some pictures of the hike while I read to them. Needless to say, it’s quite an emotional poem, but I made it through it. And the kids responded to the seriousness of the poem with great questions and comments.

So it got me thinking that I should visit the class again a few more times before the end of the year. I’d made a connection with these 4th graders. Now let’s get something straight here: I am a HS teacher for a reason. I could NEVER teach elementary school. Just couldn’t do it. But this was fun. I could go in, have a short reading, and get out! Anyway, the plan is to visit the class for a 20-minute drop-in on May 5th. So I need to plan a short science lesson for them. Therefore, I posted the following on Twitter: “Any suggestions for a guest ‘lecture’ topic (20 minutes) for 4th graders that is science-related? (Me: HS Chem teacher) #edchat”  My new @ThomsonScience Twitter account doesn’t have a lot of followers yet, so I added the #edchat tag. I’m really curious what kind of results I’ll get. I’ll either make a new post or comment here about the results.

Let the Twitter Experiment begin!




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4 responses to “An Experiment on Using Twitter as a PLN

  1. I just Tweeted about my blogpost, and saw that some folks use #elemchat as a hashtag. So I just did a self-RT using the new hashtag. We’ll see if I get any results.

  2. My experiment continues at 9:07 PM the following day. (Technically, it’s the same day, as I wrote my origainl blog post at about 4:30 AM this morning.

    Anyway, my blog post got some front-page press on the #elemchat Daily. But as of now, I still haven’t gotten any responses. One hypothesis of mine is that I don’t have enough followers for my message to get RTd enough to find people that can help. Another hypothesis: It’s about Spring Break time in many places, so the very people that could help are actually enjoying themselves in some exotic location. Hypothesis Number 3: Teachers are just too darn busy to respond, hoping somebody else will instead. Hypothesis Number 4: I need to find other hashtags to use.

    Any thoughts? If I blogged into an empty forest, would it still be worthy of an RT?

  3. The experiment continues at 10:23 AM on Day 2. I haven’t gotten a single reply to my Tweet asking for help. So I tried again with the following Tweet:
    “Trying again: #edchat, #elemchat, #scichat: Any topic ideas for a 20-minute guest presentation about science to 4th graders? Please RT.”

    I added #scichat this time, and I also added the request to RT. I’m hoping the extra coverage of another hashtag and some RTs will get some answers.

    As much fun as I had last night with an hour-long #edchat about Shared Decision Making (and a host of other topics), I’m just as disappointed with the lack of response. In the words of Arsenio Hall, “Things that make you go hmmmm.”

  4. Update #4: As of 7:45 PM on Day 2, I’ve now gotten a response from two different people, with one of the individuals engaging in a conversation asking for some clarification. The second person gave some links with relevant science stuff for elementary students.


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