[ETEC 527] W2W3 Twitter Adventure!

So, last week I made a brand new Twitter account made specifically for all all of grad school tweets and intellectual musings. Considering it was a requirement to use Twitter in my ETEC 527 class, I also saw it as a long overdue opportunity to use this new account for my professional use in Education as well. I’ve been saying for at least a year how I needed to do this but I never did because I was always too tied up in my personal Twitter, and running the Twitter account for our grant program (@DeSotoGEARUP), that I didn’t put it at the top of my priority list. Well, I’m here now and I’m so glad that I am able to share and communicate within my professional and educational spaces without feeling like I might be judged for being non-professional like I might be on my personal Twitter. That’s one of the great things about Twitter in my opinion though, you have the opportunity to communicate in different spaces with different accounts while still being yourself.

This week’s ETEC 527 assignment is about highlighting the information, thoughts, and resources I’ve thus learned on my Twitter adventure. Not to be lazy, but I think I’ll take this time to repost a discussion post that I made about Twitter here. I wanted to be able to help my fellow classmates understand just how great a tool Twitter can be and give them some of the information I’ve learned throughout the years. Here is what I wrote:

The truth is, I’m kind of a Twitter expert (lol). I first got on Twitter in November of 2009 and I have been an active user ever since then. I’ve met close friends, networked, gotten jobs, troubleshot, and even gone viral a few times with my tweets over the years. While my account for this class is totally separate from the account I usually use, I don’t think it will be too long before I gain more followers and start engagements using a few things I’ve learned along the way. Here are a few tips and tricks I suggest:

1. Use a good Twitter platform. I use the Twitter app for my iPhone but I find that Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are great platforms to use for tweeting on a desktop, laptop, or iPad. You can navigate through multiple accounts and see everything at once, from your timeline to your replies, to your Direct Messages (DMs)

2. Learn the lingo. I think this comes with interaction, but some of the easiest to know and love are hashtags, DM’s, RT’s (re-tweets), bots, catfish, Avi (profile picture), spamming, etc.

3. Don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation. Unless you can tell it’s not a conversation for everyone, feel free to reply to someone or multiples your thoughts, opinions, compliments, etc. That’s how you gain followers and engage. Waiting around for someone to see your tweets and reply to you first doesn’t work as well as this in my experience. 

4. RETWEET. Another great way to share your thoughts and opinions, agree or disagree, and help people see you. You can either RT the specific tweet you saw someone else make by itself, or you can “retweet with comment” and write a comment above the RT. 

5. Content is key. Pictures, article links, videos, etc. are all great for getting your personality and points across. Don’t be shy, share (within reason and rule)

6. Hashtags are your friend. Want to find a group of likeminded Twitter users, or find out more about a subject? Search a hashtag. This can be done by clicking on one you see (it usually shows up in blue), or you can go to the little magnifying icon and type in a word or phrase and search from there. 

7. Use the search icon. Under it you will find “Trending Topic” articles and hashtags, “News”, “Sports”, “Fun”, and a “For You” section that is based on your engagement. 

8. This really should be like #2 or #3 but post a good profile picture. You don’t want to be considered a bot or a catfish because you don’t have an image that identifies you. Think about how you present yourself on other social media and networking apps like LinkedIN and Facebook. People respond according to your avi. 

9. Know your controls. Get to know your settings and capabilities. You can create Tweet drafts, make Twitter lists, Bookmark tweets, navigate and view tweets & replies, media, and likes on anyone’s twitter profile, as well as edit your own. You should also know how to block and report accounts if necessary.

10. Be consistent. Twitter works better when you engage consistently and you post tweets that vary. 

I hope I was able to help someone with these little tips! Twitter has been a wonderful tool in my life and I hope that everyone has as great an experience as I have had using it. 

I am fascinated by all of the things I have learned and continue to learn from using Twitter and I look forward to learning so much more through our class hashtag #ETEC527 and through just spreading what I’ve learned and my own thoughts as I go through this course and others on this grad school journey. I am having so much fun learning.

[ETEC 524] Tech Playtesting Assignment 1: Blogs

A blog (or otherwise known as a “weblog”) is an online journal where a writer or a group of writers can share their views, content, or ideas on various subjects and make available for virtual reading and sharing. Blogging connects you to a relevant audience and give a platform for thought and lists entries in reverse chronological order.

 I have blogged for many years personally to sort through ideas, experiences, feelings and emotions on things happening in my life, and more recently, I have dabbled in blogging professionally in the Educational field to keep students and their parents updated about college and career readiness, FAFSA, and events and information from our programs success with our cohorts. Additionally, we encourage blogging from our students to understand more of how they think and feel about the material and experiences presented to them. Blogs fit the purpose of opening communications for students to share their thoughts.

Most blogs focus on a specific topic, while some are more to link to other sites and services. Personal thoughts and journaling through blogging is important and can be used in the pedagogical stance to facilitate learning through reading, writing, reflecting, and sharing thoughts and ideas in a digital environment. Blogs can evaluate a student’s contributions through analyzing and evaluating what they think about what they learned or didn’t learn, as well as showcase their creativity in design through how they design and set up their blogs.

Some of the blogs I have play-tested and ultimately used have been WordPress (www.wordpress.org), Tumblr (www.tumblr.com), and Wix (www.wix.com) blogs.

Each of these blogs are open source software and fully multimedia functional and collaborative and so much fun to play around with and design. The real differences between these blog sites are their usability, pricing, and flexibility.

WordPress, my choice to blog on and also known as “the world’s most popular site builder”, powers more than 33% of all websites on the internet. It has its own hosting site (found at www.wordpress.com), and is a very powerful content management system which can build websites and blogs. WordPress supports blogs, business websites, online stores, online courses, membership sites, and even online marketplaces. I was able to create a new blog site in under 10 minutes that gave me the capability to immediately create content, design, and incorporate add-ons out the gate. WordPress uses a simple WYSIWYG editor that comes in two different forms, one for plain text where you can add formatting though HTML coding, and one visual editor.

What I like about WordPress and pretty much any blog, is the managing design and appearances. WordPress uses “theme” templates that are premade and customizable for blogs and websites. Unlike Wix, WordPress does not have a drag and drop content editor that is customizable as you write it, but it does similarly have a drag and drop page builder capability if desired. Colors. Layout combinations, logos, portfolios, and social media synchronization are all capable. I feel like I am able to show my creativity, personality, and the purpose of my blog the more designing, content and availability to engage I’m able to give to it. The more I blog to support learning and provide information, I have incorporated more media content in my posts (music, pictures, video, memes, graphics, flyers, etc.) to help keep the reader’s attention and give them easier ways to link and share to social media sites, email, and other blogs.

Whether its using WordPress, Wix, Tumblr, or any other blogging site or capability, blogging can be not only engaging and educational, but also therapeutic. Blogging can teach students and has taught me how to communicate information more effectively to diverse audiences and develop better writing and presentation skills. However, like most outlets for creativity and free thinking, blogging can contribute to some potentially negative and abusive behavior such as trolling, the deliberate act of making random unsolicited and/or controversial comments intended to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments online. I believe that part of the pedagogical learning of blogging involves helping to developing students ability to handle negative interactions and unexpected interruptions and supporting them through their words and thoughts.

Even with these potential issues, blogging is beneficial in that it increasingly promotes participation and the collaboration of knowledge and thought. Blogs create a space for interactive exchange and strategy. Blogs also greatly encourage reading and writing and responding around focuses and reflections. The more we encourage blogging and the use of blogs, we contribute to the growth of creators, writers, and challenging thinking.