Edblog Challenge – Looking back

This post about how #scichatNZ started out for me was a no-brainer for me to go back to and revisit for the blog challenge. Especially in light of some thoughts bouncing around after Ulearn about twitter being ‘elite’ and an ‘echo chamber’

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In my original post, I reflected on how valuable twitter had been for me when I shifted to my new school. It allowed me to access ideas that I hadn’t been able to previously. Even just letting me know about events like teachmeets or educamps that weren’t advertised at my school. Getting access to digital resources, or even reminders about pinterest boards was a huge advantage.

When I first signed up, I had ‘lurked’ around conversation lacking the confidence to join in. I was delighted when I got a like or a retweet, heartbroken if a question went unreplied to. I still feel occasionally like I don’t quite fit in. Should I really share my blog posts? do I join in a conversation between ‘super awesome amazing people’ I’d be excited to be in the same room with and would go all squawcky if I got to say hello. Do I share links to their blogs? do I need to ask permission?

Or more recently, when I was on the cusp of 200 views on my blog for a month, I agonised over spamming the twitter feed in the hopes of getting my blog viewed more. I restrained myself (with difficulty) (and didn’t break that ‘magic’ mark) by remembering I blog for me. They are my reflections and thoughts, and while it is flattering people read them, or are inspired by them, this is really my thoughts and my learning.

I do sometimes wonder about twitter ‘manners’ – how many times do you repost things? When is too many? I’m sure that on Tuesdays all the none Science tweeps get sick of all the #scichatNZ tweets 🙂 And I do get ‘super’ excited when something I am tweeting about is ‘trending’. It is nice to have some recognition I guess… but really, it is just a numbers game. If some-one follows me, I will follow them back (it can sometimes depend on the number of notifications – if it is way down the list it can get missed). 

However, when I think about what I have learned through twitter, and the connections I have made ( both professional and real friendships) I am so thankful for the day I listened to Dereck Weymouth talk at Otago Girls high school. I signed up as he spoke, took a while to find my feet, and haven’t looked back. I have had my mind opened, had access to resources (that were actually always there, I just didn’t know how to find them), been able to find tweeps in a similar ‘space’ to mine that I could lean on for reassurance or the occasional reality check.

#scichatNZ has been a whole other kettle of fish. From a small beginning at a Core Education day and Karen saying ‘well, why don’t you do it’. I am truly humbled by the amazing group of educators who pitch in to help facilitate PD for free. We are all so busy with our jobs and lives, yet we all give our time so freely because we are learning as well. And our regulars, who join in every fortnight and constantly inspire and challenge me to get better at what I do. Yes, we might be similar in terms of our ideas and passions, but we try really hard to challenge ourselves to be better, to be inclusive of new people and support them. We have had a variety of guest moderators – including Chris Clay, Sir Peter Gluckman, Sonya van Schaijik and Adam Taylor who hosted from the USA at 3am his time…… who keep the topics fresh and the perspectives changing.

I certainly don’t think we consider ourselves ‘elite’ though. I certainly don’t – I have always said about how setting up #scichatNZ was a selfish thing because I wanted to learn from it too. Maybe we are intimidating to some educators who are a little nervous about making the plunge like I was just over a year ago…. but to others we are ‘wasting our time with that twitter nonsense’. I get endless teasing from staff when they find me on twitter at lunch times 🙂 My students get kind of weirded out – especially if I have more followers than them.

Perhaps we just need to accept that there are different strokes for different folks. For me, twitter has been an AMAZING way to expand my professional learning, and I hope I have helped the professional learning of others. I have connected with some truly dedicated people working hard to improve themselves and others.

So my wonder at twitter hasn’t changed. My awe and gratitude for scichatNZ hasn’t changed. My awareness of my digital footprint has changed, and I do think more carefully about my retweets and likes. I do try to keep my facebook for ‘personal’ and my twitter for ‘professional’ but there is always some cross over. I do feel more like a contributor now than I did – but I still take a great deal. My respect for my PLN reaches past the stars out to the limits of the ideas we have. #scichatNZ is a constant source of inspiration, ideas and challenge.

And I will finish with the same line from my original post

Hopefully #scichatNZ will continue to grow, and I will continue to grow as a teacher with it

3 thoughts on “Edblog Challenge – Looking back

  1. Great post! Those were interesting questions Cherie posed about if Twitter has an ‘elite’, is an echo chamber and if it excludes some people.
    I feel your dilemma about how often one should publicise one’s latest blog post and who we write for on our own blogs.
    One response I had to me from that twitter stream was a person who wondered which pigeon hole they should put me into first: education or politics. I responded that I understood their confusion, but really I tweet about what captures my attention at the time, be it education, politics, sport, what is on tv, current events, or gloating about being at the beach.
    I think you and Matt have done a fabulous job getting #scichatNZ established, and while I do not often participate, there have been tweets that come through my feed from that chat that certainly catch my eye. My dilemma with specialist subject chats is that I feel they are more for secondary teachers rather than primary teachers. But that my be my misconception…. feel free to correct me!

    1. Thanks Mel
      I wonder why you need to be in a ‘pigeon hole’? 🙂
      We are really conscious of including primary (and tertiary) educators, as we really do want to support Science being taught in primary schools. Having Jennie as part of the team has helped enormously, as have guest moderators like Gluckman. Sadly though, other topics are more secondary specific 😦 If you have any suggestions for how we could be more inclusive, I would love to hear them so we can help anyone who needs/wants it

  2. Great post, Rachel. From the comments, I agree about the ‘pigeon holing” – why?! People can just be people can’t they? 🙂
    I used to use facebook regularly, but find that I have moved away from it, and almost always will connect with others via twitter if online. And while I use it predominantly for education, I often use it for my other great loves – baseball and the Mariners. I only rarely tweet about these, because I know that people don’t follow me to hear about our latest pitcher, or Felix Hernandez.
    Congratulations on the fantastic job you, Matt and the rest of the team has done and (to steal a quote) “hopefully #scichatNZ will continue to grow, and you will continue to grow as a teacher with it”

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