This week the @oueducation students in my technology integration course took over the #OklaEd Chat. I moderated but a lot of my students attended and asked so many questions. They are hungry to know more about being a teacher and twitter provided a good forum to get those questions out and facilitate class discussion.
How did we pick the questions?
We used tricider to have all questions suggested and then we used the top 7 (we combined a few to get most of the questions out) Tricider is a tool for brainstorming that I learned through some of my work with ISTE. it worked well in this context. Students put up their questions and then had a few days to vote on top questions. The key to using tricider is time to vote and formulate orginal ideas – and those two times being separate.
Here is our tricider page: http://www.tricider.com/admin/2U6wQfYb9mN/8ImVNecpgeP
The OklaEd Chat
The chat was frenetic..so many side questions. Our students had a bunch of questions, and wanted them answered – and Oklahoma educators were great at doing that. To see the actual chat transcript visit: https://www.participate.com/transcripts/oklaed/5e8404ef-1988-4c62-98df-1c31b225c885
Also it was featured on OklaSaid by Scott Haselwood and Erin Barnes. This podcast dives deeper into the issues. http://teachingfromhere.com/podcast/episode-37-future-teachers-want-to-know/
In addition, we did a follow up activity that was a bust at first, but now has seemed to be valuable for those that got replies – I created a @Flipgrid for our students to post questions and then to have teachers answered. I had a few rock stars that answered a bunch, and they made it work.. but overall it was a bit of a bust because teachers are busy and I did not have that many answers.
So here is what I learned from this experiment.
- Giving students forums to ask “real life” teachers questions is great and necessary.
- Find a group to get more engaged in answering – if I did this again – i would get up front agreement and not spring it on them. (ie.. maybe a graduate class or a teacher organization).
- I got several several alumni to engage – which was great and helped me to foster greater alumni connections (which can be important for placement, recruiting, and to support projects as well as the alumni themselves).
- Pay attention to the questions preservice teachers ask, it tells us a lot about their fears and what we project. Most students asked about work life balance, workload, and getting a job. This is what is on their radar and we should consider this in student teaching and first year supports. And also know that they are hearing how terrible teaching is, we need to celebrate the great parts of the job, like #TeachLikeMe and other movements.
- I got replies from all over the country, even people I did not know. I love how supportive the teacher community is.. but I wonder if my students get that just yet.
- I need to better define student roles and have them do more of the leg work in the future.. I still moderated with student created questions/tiles but I think next time, it will be better to have a committee of students to run it.
- The class discussions after the chat were great. We shifted through answers that concerned them…(like stay away from Pinterest) and helped make sense of them. It was a valuable discussion for students who participated and who did not.
Not all of the students appreciated it, but those that “got it” really made great direct connections to teachers. I have to remind myself that not all students are developmentally ready to truly participate in the teacher community – but that for those that are, its a wonderful experience. For many others, it is an early exposure to the field and teaching community and as they grow, they will know places to find it in the future.
For the future, I may reach out and see if we can do this as part of the #TeachLikeMe movement in spring. This would be a great way to involve Preservice teachers in the recruitment of future teachers and give #TeachLikeMe involved teachers a way to communicate their message.