Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fingers Do the Walking on Teacher Appreciation Day

Tonight I had the most amazing experience.  For an hour, I got to walk in the shoes of my students by emulating their social media habit.


Well, let's try it another way.

My computer froze, and upon reboot, my personal firewall locked access to Twitter.  I had 10 minutes until I was to help moderate a Twitter chat on what #teachingis (in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week).  My efforts to unlock the firewall failed.

I text my partner-in-crime to tell her that I was having internet issues.

I see a message pop up on Google Hangouts, asking from another co-leader, very nicely,  what the hold up was.

I open my Twitter app on my phone, and blindly introduce myself to the chat, tagging the chat with our #hashtag.

My computer unlocks enough to allow me to open my Google Chat script of questions and I hand-type the first question on my cell phone app.   The app also has a search feature that allows me to reply to questions.

I realize that each time I have a new question, my search window disappears.  And so more multitasking ensures.  A few spelling errors as well.

But the tweets fly, fast and furious.

8:05 We are all having a great time, and new people join our chat.
Welcoming them back knocks me out of the saved topic chat on my phone.


In the middle of the chat, I realize that this is how my students do most of their typing and communicating.   Most of them can knock a paper out on their phones as easily as I can type on a traditional keyboard.   I was raised on Smith and Wesson, they are part of the Samsung Galaxy or Apple-verse.  It appears to work well enough for then.

8:07  Back to the chat, and ideas are flying.  Humor and a surge of information moves the conversation and splits it several ways.

8:09 #thankateacher crosses over to #teachingis, which is a great fusion.  #thankateacher reflects the impact of the profession and #teachingis crosses over to visioning new ways to leverage the complex work that is being done.

8:30  The chat is almost done.   Everyone one looks at what we have accomplished.   I realize that a Storify is going to need to be pulled from the tweets, but I will do that in the morning.

With my computer.  Not a smart phone app.   At least for now.

And I am left with a nagging question.  What happens when we let the user decide the technology?  Perhaps what I see as a concession (yes, you can use the phone) is really a necessity (I can do it faster with my phone)

For me, I have fingers that are unaccustomed to rapid-fire texting.   At the end of the hour, my fingers felt stiff.  For others, that feeling of exhilaration and synergy may flow better from a phone than a keyboard.

But the great thing is that both of us, whoever we are, are right.  That's part of why #teachingis complex, rewarding, and worth pursuing.

photo credit: Johan Larsson via photopin cc

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