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After enjoying the TweetChats for the “BYOD4Lchat” I thought I would complete the activities in a hope that I might be able to qualify for my first set of open badges. So without further a do – let’s get on!


1.Who is who:

After participating in the TweetChats for the week, I am hoping that people know who I am although there does appear to be some interesting thoughts over my first name – including people calling me ‘Basil’ or ‘Jarvis – either is fine – although I always fancied a two initial name such as ‘TC’. But on a serious note who am I?

If you want to professional stuff then you can find my details either on my webpage. I saw that many people appear to be using the AboutMe website so I had a go at setting up a page on there – AboutMe. One of my interests within the area of teaching/learning and technology is the use of Youtube, videos and live broadcasting, so in order to introduce myself with a more personal approach – here is a special Wilson Waffling Live episode

Learning based on your discoveries linked to one of the scenarios

Although both scenarios are interesting I would like to focus on the teacher one within this section of my portfolio.

Since 2005 the focus of educational technology has shifted to include social networking and personal learning environments (Downes, 2007). This growth of social networking was accompanied by the growth of communities who shared a common learning goal which would be subsequently used to improve their performance within their chosen area of learning (Wenger, 1997). As practitioners continue to engage with continual professional development the sharing, discussion and even observations of good practice are no longer restricted to individual institutions. As communities have grown and expanded, the ‘reach’ of these has become vast and communities now include participants of many different levels and locations contributing to or towards similar learning goals. Connecting with other professionals is not necessarily a requirement for teaching and learning. It is possible to improve and engage with learning as individual however this could be seen as being limiting and, in some people’s views, shortsighted. Within meetings when discussing a new way forward, it is natural to seek out existing good practice which will inform new procedures. No-one really wants to reinvent the wheel.

Connecting to these communities of practice was relied on letters (snail mail), phone calls and personal, face-to-face meetings. Although these still exist and play an essential part within the growth of communities the use of a range of mobile technologies has allowed these communities to expand and the interaction between members to be more prevalent and instantaneous. Following hashtags (#) on twitter can allow practitioners to see new development, share resources and even engage with discussions. Subscribing to RSS feeds brings news items and articles directly to your mobile device, without the need to search through a range of webpages. Answers can be provided and questions posed with a click of a button. Although the teacher is correct, you do not need all of this to teach, with all this available why would you not want to engage with it in order to continue your own personal progression. Many practitioners are overwhelmed by wealth of communities which are available. Joining one or two to start with can allow doubting practitioners to see the impact and benefits within their own practice and to become aware of the wealth of knowledge and support that exists within these communities.

With the ever growing number of communities it is essential that practitioners link to these and recognise the benefits and impact of connecting. Although the practitioner in the video may be dubious to begin with through using existing good practice it would be possible for her mobile devices to be used to not only make these connections but also for her to recognise the benefits of connecting with communities and how this will ultimately improve and impact on her own practice.

What is the value of connections for learning and teaching?

Benefits of connections for learners

Benefits of connections for learners

Benefits of connections for practitioners

Benefits of connections for practitioners


Social Media has always been an important part of my own practice. As part of my learning for the SEDA course on supporting learning with technology I wrote a reflection on the use of social media within my own practice.. My introduction video further details my current practice within this area with the students and other practitioners but I still recognise that there is more to achieve with ‘connecting’.

Current Practice

  • Connecting with learners – I use twitter across all more teaching and learning. I encourage the students to follow me (although I do not follow them back) and my twitter feed is embedded onto module pages for the subjects I teach. Within whole cohort sessions I have used back channels in order to share questions and resources using the Backdraft application. Responses have been collected via hash-tags and shared via the VLE. Reminders for assignments have been created via Vines and Instagram has been used to share activities from within sessions.Relevant articles and stories related to education are shared via buffer to both twitter and my Facebook page establishing connections not only with learners but also with NQTs and RQTs

  • Connecting with other practitioners – I have started to increase the connection on twitter by attending and participating within TweetChats and have reinforced some of these links by making connections on the professional practitioner sites of Linkedin and Yammer. When attending conferences I always participate within the hashtag chat and hopefully follow practitioners with similar interests.

  • Action Plan

    I decided to consider ways in which I could extend my own connections as well as those of my learners. In order to achieve this I have created four actions which would lead to making new connections. Since I am still relatively new to teaching in higher education I know that while making connections this will have a positive impact on both my teaching and my own learning. I would also like to see the impact with the student own understanding of the benefits of connections and how these can impact on their own knowledge.

  • Continue to participate in Tweetchats and explore new ones which linked to technology and learning.

  • Create and complete a Tweetchat with learners to promote the hashtag and extend everyone’s PLN.

  • Continue to blog and share practice while engaging with other blogs by commenting.

  • Continue to submit and post as guest blogger on other sites

  • References

    Downes, S. (2007) Learning Networks in Practice Canada, NRCC.

    Wenger, E. (1997) Communities in Practice Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


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