How fortuitous that a colleague pointed me in the direction of twitter. I have been teaching for nearly 20 years now and I have always felt that I moved with the times and kept my ideas fresh. Indeed, I have always enjoyed teaching. However, upon discovering twitter and in particular the #mfltwitterati I feel that my teaching has become re-invigorated and I have discovered a whole new world out there about which I knew nothing. The struggle to get pupils to think independently and access those higher-order thinking skills has been greatly enabled and improved by the use of technology. I am not quite sure how I coped without technology beforehand! Twitter has introduced me to a whole host of ideas and online resources that have helped me to guide my pupils to learn, think, collaborate and create in a way that was not so easy before. Take for example linoit (www.linoit.com). A web based sticky note service that allows you to post a whole load of sticky notes. I discovered it via twitter, of course, and have made use of it with a number of year groups. It allows me to flip the classroom and get pupils to follow a powerpoint or a video at their own pace - because they do all have their own pace - and learn a particular grammar point which on this occasion was the perfect tense. This image below is the product of 40 minutes with my Year 9s. Initially, they followed the instructions that I posted on the board and then 15 minutes later they started creating their own sentences. The real buzz for me was hearing them ask each other who had posted an incorrect sentence, pointing out errors to each other, or building on something one of their friends has stuck on the board.
The next step will be to get them to create their own learning resource for a younger year group or their peer group. A plain old powerpoint perhaps, with a video voiceover created on knovio (www.knovio.com)? There is just so much potential. What excites me most is how technology can bring about such good learning patterns. I no longer need to be simply the giver of information and my students no longer need to be passive recipients of knowledge, I can show them the way to reconstruct their existing knowledge. Just as twitter has allowed me to collaborate and learn about the technological possibilities available to me as a teacher, technology has allowed me to scaffold my pupils' learning and point them in the right direction and enabled them to embrace learning in a way that gets them thinking, analysing, collaborating and creating. These are exciting times for both me and my pupils.