I sat in two meetings yesterday where there were vastly different attitudes to Twitter. In one it was seen as a valued tool in the classroom that can advance learning, in the other there was a bit more dissonance. This divide is something I've been contemplating lately as I push my own learning via my online PLN, my classroom through various online platforms and my own PD.
My pre-service was completed at Auckland Uni on the 1 year course and I was surprised that ICT hardly featured, we had some exposure to Moodle and Eportfolios but neither with our own teaching in mind. Fortunately, I was lucky to have a placement in 1 school where ICT was pushed and saw the use of Scratch and GIMP in a Y5/6 class. But why do teacher trainees have to rely on luck? Clearly, time is a factor when selecting teaching material for pre-service and I value all of the information provided. However, I'm not convinced that it adequately prepares the new teacher for a world where many teacher vacancies include ICT in their requirements.
Fastforward to now (PRT 18 months in), I am using Twitter for all sorts of information sharing, blogging with my class and as a teacher, regularly use my iPhone as a tool with the kids and collaborate with teachers in other schools with enthusiasm. This week I have provided support to a teacher looking to get on Twitter (@htauahns), have been asked by my Mentor Teacher to help with his ICT development and had another experienced teacher quip that she'll give Twitter a go when she has plenty of time for learning. So I think the dissonance is receding, I just have to keep on tweeting!
But what about those in pre-service now? We have some student teachers at the moment, I've shared ideas with them and explained several tools including Popplet, Explain Everything and modelled creating a classroom expert. I'm feeling even more optimistic after seeing that Auckland Uni is making progress in the ICT area for teacher training also.
Tweeps communicate both during formal PD settings and informally with ideas, strategies, feedback and resources. With the enthusiasm that abounds on Twitter maybe ICT doesn't require focus in teacher training, but it sure would have made my time far more engaging!