First of all, I want to put this question out to my colleagues and digital friends – how have I helped you this semester? Please don’t hesitate to include any ways I inspired you and/or taught you something in the comments. I think it is most powerful when you hear from your students, or pupils, how you have been helpful – more powerful than your own (ultimately, subjective) idea of how you have helped them. Is there any way, small or large, that I had an impact on you this semester? I promise that I can share back a way that you helped me! I have all of your Twitter accounts and I am not afraid to use them (learn from them), if I can’t think of a way you helped me already off the top of my head.
REFLECTION ON WHAT IT MEANS TO HELP
I know the blog prompt is specifically related to how we helped classmates, but I don’t want to discount others I have helped in the process. As educators we can’t discount the ‘little things’, or the unintended consequences – sometimes, that is what motivates and inspires us! I think I helped many people on Twitter and WordPress just by sharing teaching resources that I didn’t even create!
I reflected this semester, in our last chat on online activism, how helping doesn’t just mean “giving answers”. Specifically, I mentioned in our chat that we cannot change anyone forcibly – they need to change themselves. Helping, then, is providing tools and a safe space that inspires students to help themselves. I think I did an alright job of that this semester. I could have done better, but I also could have done worse!
WORDPRESS (BLOG) HELP
I feel like I was helpful to Britany Jefferson in a couple of ways this semester, because of her wording on her blog posts. I showed her (and everyone else in ECMP355 who looked at her blog) that another form of replying to blog posts could be by video. As she says here, “I had a classmate, Taylor Harder, who decided to film a video instead of typing a regular response to my most recent blog post. I thought that this was great. It added variety to my blogging and I was very excited to watch her video response. As usually, it was very thoughtful and insightful! I also think that it added a more personal element to blogging. I was able to see her and make a connection. Thanks for doing this Taylor!”
Anytime I get a thanks I feel I have done something worthwhile!
I also helped Britany reflect further on online activism and its potential for benefit, when I commented on her latest post about “slacktivism”. You can read my comments at the bottom of her blog post. I will quote her reply here:
Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate them. I definitely would say that you are not “slacking”. You are taking action. That is really neat to hear. Way to go! That is a perfect example of what I was talking about in my post. I really value integrity. I think that is why I ended up discussing how our actions need to line up with what we are saying. In the future this is something that I hope I can teach my students. I also appreciate your quote, “even a footstep ahead counts”. You are right, we need to take one step at a time. And even if it is small, it still counts! This quote is definitely applicable to our future classrooms. Thank you for your insights. I always look forward to them.”
I also provided a resource that Amy can stash away for the future, if a lesson opportunity arises…
Near the beginning of class I also commented on Christina Thiel’s blogs a bit, as I also have an interest in painting:
Shayla did an overview of my blog and its posts and shared her thoughts in a comment!
I also want to talk about the cycle of learning that manifested itself this semester, with Robbi and Flipgrid!
She showed me how Flipgrid works (from a student’s perspective), and I in turn helped bring attention to her Flipgrid account so people liked and retweeted both of our Tweets on Flipgrid (and Brooklynn even added her own video response to the resource!) Both of us helped grow it into something that helped many people, in and out of class, learn about a great EdTech resource. Robbi’s offer to help me experience Flipgrid (by setting up a question for me) after I initially learned about it through this infographic is likely what caused me to become passionate enough to compare Flipgrid’s customer service to WordPress’s. In this process, Becca Bennett commented on my blog post: “Thanks for sharing Taylor. I was unaware of what Flipgrid was and this post was great to read about!” so I (we – myself and Robbi) managed to help at least one peer in my class out with learning about Flipgrid.
Taking a step back from the actual process, the PRODUCT I made using Flipgrid helped people in my PLN by inspiring them on how to encourage student voice. It was good timing because I had just done a super fun project with the kids and wanted to share it. Here is my Twitter link to my video:
After doing this whole experience I even thought – hey – kids could act as the teachers and interview people to do videos for LA/social projects! So I shared that lesson idea and got a lot of appreciation for it on Twitter.
CLASS (ZOOM) REFLECTIONS
Even during chats, I felt I helped out my peers with my spontaneous ideas. I tend to type as I think, instead of after I think, and I think that is a perfect way to showcase the evolution of learning (because I will also type/say when I have made a mistake, when I need to change something, and so on). I felt very honored when Robbi told me “I like the way you think” after I had typed, “you could have all of the kids design treasure maps and get their kids to code their sprites to “visit” each stop – geography project?” She told me she likes the way I think and so I assumed that was in regards to the ideas I was throwing out about what to do with Scratch.
Robbi also told me, the next week, “you are so brave” (for speaking out against homophobia).
This has made me reflect that I naturally help those around me with my motivation to learn, to be active online and in person (even in little ways), and my endless supply of ideas. I help in the way of being a good role model.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – GOOGLE+ AND ANY HELP WITH TECHNICAL ISSUES
I helped Kanchan with organizing her blog layout and she replied thanking me!
Check out this folder and look at all of the white rectangular screenshots labelled “Helpful_1” or 2 or 3, etc… for ways I helped out on Google+. Here is one example:
Last but not least… the Screencast I made on how to share a Screencast!