I have been meaning to write this post for some time now, however as with many of us the Christmas season was hectic and then a blur, and before I knew it I was back to work. Trying to get back into the swing of things, organizing, preparing and well everything else. However, yesterday I was helping a new colleague get started on her digital portfolio and it reminded me that it has been some time since I last posted.
Although it has been some time since the occurrance, the significance is still quite impressive and pertanant.
I do not remember what morning specifically it was, but I was making the long drive from the City (Edmonton) to my school (Seba Beach School) listening to the radio, when I heard about Commander Hadfield. Hadfield is a Canadian Astronaut, who is currently living in space aboard ISS as Flight Engineer on Expedition 34. He is also expected to be the Commander of Expedition 35. The commander is also Orbiting Earth on ISS. O.k. so this is not an amazing News Flash, however the broadcast mentioned that the commander was tweeting.
He was tweeting what he was doing, he was tweeting what he was seeing and he was posting pictures of what he was seeing. This now impressed me, especially as an educator. The Commander was providing the world with a chronological account of what he was seeing and when. Talk about an educators dream come true. Real life, real time pictures from space. This however was not the limit of what Hadfeild was doing. It was commented that Hadfield was responding to tweets by students and educators and answering questions about his life, adventures and experiences in space.
As an educator in the 21st century this was and is profound to be able to learn about geography, current events, social studies, current events, space and astronomy in the moment. Not reading a text, not seeing pictures that have been processed and in a paper or text, but to learn from an individual that is experiencing it first hand and in the moment. What I would have done to have this when I was a student and upon reflection I can truly say that my motivation for learning some of the curriculum in school would have be so much more if learning had been like this.
I have heard many arguments about the use of Twitter in education. These conversations are both for and against. I would not say that Twitter is going create a fundamental change in a students learning, but I will say that it will make a change in how students learn, what is available to students and teachers as well depending on the resource the quality of the resource being used. What I am saying is that using Twitter in the classroom would be a valuable tool for teachers, students and administrators.
I encourage teachers to check out and follow Commander Hadfield, and that if it applies to your class and what they are covering to connect with him and ask him questions, you never know the door and conversations that it could open up.