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‘Economics’ Category

  1. Tell me a story…

    29 October 2014 by shartley

    Image Source: RBA

    Inspired by Cameron Paterson to use images for inspiring thinking processes, to commence the topic of Unemployment for HSC Economics I handed out a different graph from the RBA Chart Pack related to Unemployment and gave students in pairs 15 minutes to tell me a story about what the chart told them.  I said I was looking for drama and climatic turning points.  They then presented their stories to the rest of the class.  The stories won’t win them many points in an Economics HSC Exam but it certainly engaged them in the topic and allowed them to be more creative and think deeply about Unemployment.  The story below is the result of one pair based on the graph pictured above, while not 100% accurate, it demonstrated creative thinking about the graph.  Please note the concluding paragraph was a deliberate ploy to include several English terms.

    Picture this: Australia in 2002-5, a bustling economy struggling to establish itself with the giants of the world against insurmountable odds. The economy had job vacancies higher than the advertisements for these jobs, showing the lack of awareness of these jobs. Never fear though because after 2005 there was a sharp increase in the advertisements for jobs, with only a marginal increase in the job vacancies. At this point in time the advertisements were actually higher than the vacancies, showing the desperate need for awareness regarding job vacancies. PEOPLE WERE CRYING OUT FOR HELP, AND THERE WAS NO WHITE KNIGHT RIDING TO SAVE THEM. This travesty is due to the Global Financial Crisis, which hit Australia at the peak of advertisements shown in the graph, when vacancies were 1% lower than advertisements. In 2008 the vacancy trend was removed completely from the graph. This could be due to the vast amount of vacancies as the GFC hit, causing a substantial outlier in the graph that would affect the average too much. 

    A DARK DAY IN 2009 WHEN the Advertisements nosedived in, after everyone was made redundant as a result of the GFC, and the vacancy of those jobs were no longer available.

    The vacancy trend picked up again in 2010, staying just above the advertisements, and mirroring its trend from 1.5% of the labour force to just above one percent in present day.  A TREMENDOUS VICTORY FOR THE GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS AND THE INDIVIDUALS THAT MAKE UP THE ECONOMY AS A WHOLE. THE WORKING CLASS. THE COUNCIL WORKERS AND THE JOE BLOW FROM FRIENDLY GROCER.

    This is a tremendous story, cohesively highlighting the economical and unemployment  trends experienced by Australia, and allegorically represents a microcosm of an economy experiencing the fluctuation in job vacancies whilst fighting to keep unemployment at a controlled level. 

  2. Protectionism Game (role play)

    7 November 2012 by shartley

    Another experiment with my HSC Economics class.

    On the drive to school I had an idea for a ProtectionismGame:


    I had to remove two of the fours from the selection of cards due to absent students but overall it went well.  The students were happy to work in their random pairs and they prepared their arguments well.  Other than the Lego cars (which I unfortunately forgot to photograph) I had some sugar sachets and fake money as props.


    The negotiation role plays went well.  I believe the students will remember the ones they had to prepare and deliver but there was an issue with them following other negotiations occurring.

    At the end we did a debrief and went through the graphs that relate to subsidies, tariffs and quotas.  I think the best value they gained from the game was experiencing the different perspectives of the players involved and thus also having some idea of how FTAs are negotiated.

    I’m counting this one as a success.

  3. Pretend I’m not here

    7 November 2012 by shartley

    Once a week I have a horrible room for teaching HSC Economics so it has become known as the room for listening or chalk ‘n’ talk to use the old language.  A couple of weeks ago I provided resources and left them to devise their own lesson.  The resources were the syllabus outcomes for the topic and an article questioning the use of GDP and the instruction was to plan and conduct their own lesson:

    Pretend I’m not here.

    I had hoped they would have a discussion based on the article but instead they reverted to individual learning, highlighting text and completing other set tasks online, in the quietest environment I’ve ever seen for this class.  I tweeted the whole experience:

    Some of the Tweets during the lesson.

    They were confused by my instruction as to whether it meant individually devise their own lesson or collectively.  When I added to the instruction to make it clear it was supposed to be a collective exercise it didn’t change anything.  There were mutters about their desire to be ‘taught’ and how our school over-emphasises innovation.

    Towards the end of the lesson some pair work occurred while others just counted down the minutes (not usual).

    In the debrief there was a comment that they worked individually so they could work at their own pace.  They want to plough through the material with what I refer to as the ‘tick box’ mentality, only focusing on what they HAVE to know for the HSC, rather than having an enquiry approach or making the process interesting.  Only one student demonstrated deep learning from the article.

    I love working at a school where there is freedom to take such risks.

  4. The Exchange

    17 March 2011 by shartley

    This year I am privileged to have the same classroom for all my lessons.  This goes in conjunction with going mobile, meaning I have no fixed location for a desk.  I mainly work when I’m off class in The Hub, a large teachers’ lounge but can escape to a ‘cave’ space when I need to work in a particularly quiet location.  My filing cabinet, full of resources, are in my classroom and I have a mobile unit in The Hub.

    My working space in The Hub

    My working space in The Hub

    My mobile unit (pic by Stephen Harris

    My mobile unit (pic by Stephen Harris

    We are gradually changing the names of the classrooms around the school.  Some have the names of the local beaches, Science rooms are named after the tallest mountains in the world and Art rooms are named after famous art galleries.  We’re going to call my room The Exchange, partly due to the amount of Economics, Business Studies and Commerce that is taught there, but also because it is a place to exchange ideas.

    “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw

    “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” H L Hunt

    “Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney

    “The public interest is best served by the free exchange of ideas.” John Kane

    Next door is a room used for Textiles and Design and Food Technology.  It will be called The Mint, to match The Exchange but also because it is a colour, a food and a condition.

    A few years ago The Exchange was a crowded computer room, frequently used as a thoroughfare by the teachers from the staffroom connected to it.  Now the computers have been moved to the edge of the room and lovely new couches and tables put in the middle, ideal for my boardroom sessions in Business Studies classes.  There is also a large bookshelf of HSIE resources, very handy for students who ‘forget’ their textbooks and for consulting a wide variety of texts easily and spontaneously.  It has been interesting to see the arguments over which textbooks the students consider to be the best.  Some think the more words the better, others think clear succinct writing is more suitable.  It goes to show when we choose textbooks for our classes that it is always a compromise.  With the new Business Studies syllabus this year I am attempting to not use any single textbook more than 10% to comply with CAL and not have to require students to purchase a particular text.  Business Studies lends itself to this because there a numerous textbooks, due to its popularity, and some fantastic Internet resources.  It is also a subject containing a lot of common sense that just needs to be tailored to the syllabus, thus the board room sessions to sort out what is already known.  Economics students use the couches and tables as if they were the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to solve the economic issues in the world.

    The Exchange - as you enter

    The Exchange - as you enter

    The Exchange - new lounges and tables

    The Exchange - new lounges and tables

    The Exchange - the books

    The Exchange - the books

    The Exchange isn’t perfect.  It is blessed with air-conditioning but it drips atrociously so a towel is kept in the room to soak it up.  It is also currently used as a storage area for a class set of new computers to go to another room.  It will be nice when they find their home.  The vertical blinds for the windows had deteriorated to the extent they have been removed and I am anxious for their replacement.  Sunlight also streams through the skylights making it difficult to view anything shown through the data projector.

    The Exchange - the air-conditioner

    The Exchange - the air-conditioner

    The Exchange - the boxes

    The Exchange - the boxes

    I love my classroom and the opportunities it provides but I would love to know how YOU would use it.  Please post your ideas here.

  5. Globalisation – problems and solutions (Economics)

    15 November 2010 by shartley by esagor

    This morning I tweeted my lesson plan:
    @shhartley Econ lesson plan: Write ‘Globalisation’ at top of board. Then write on one side ‘Problems’ and on the other ‘Solutions’. See what happens.

    It almost went to plan.  There was a glitch in rooming at the last minute so I moved my class of 11 students to our school’s Boardroom where there were no computers and the white board was resting against the wall on the floor.

    I told them to imagine I had written ‘Globalisation’ at the top of the board and ‘Problems’ on one side and ‘Solutions’ on the other and that the rest was up to them.  The blank faces encouraged me to talk a little more so I said they could imagine they were a committee for an organisation like the WTO.  They had the work we’d been doing for the last 5 weeks, use it and their brains.  I asked them to pretend I wasn’t there.

    Straight away one student naturally assumed leadership responsibility (he is a school captain) but with some input from others.  He appointed a scribe and suggested they list the problems and then divide into groups of 2-3 to arrive at solutions.  The problems listed were:
    •    Division between the rich and the poor
    •    Loss of culture
    •    Protectionism
    •    Environmental consequences
    •    Human rights abuse

    They divided the topics up and spent 20-25 minutes in their groups discussing solutions.  Then they regrouped and went through their solutions together with the scribe taking notes.  After 45 minutes (out of a 75 minute lesson) they felt it was all over and looked at me expectantly.

    I complimented them on the way they had worked but they needed to provide more specific solutions.  They then spent another 15 minutes nutting out some of these as a whole group.

    It was a comprehensive list (scan of my rough Notes).  They like governments providing incentives to modify behaviour of TNCs such as to reduce pollution, resist exploiting labour and maintain local cultures.  Overall the solutions were still over-simplified and superficial but at a reasonably appropriate level for the HSC.

    However, the most useful part of the lesson was the way they worked together without my input, without computers and little use of textbooks.  They used their heads.  I conducted a time of debriefing to show how useful the exercise was and how the content they arrived at would help to respond to an array of HSC questions.  We discussed how it would have been different if we had been in our normal classroom of computers and smaller tables and chairs.  The consensus was that being around a board room table in big and important chairs helped the atmosphere and Google would have just provided a distraction through too much information and temptation to go to other websites.

    It was a great way to conclude our topic on The Global Economy.

  6. HSC Economics Revision Matrix

    22 August 2010 by shartley

    Inspired by my school’s implementation of matrix programs for Years 5-8 and the Principal using one for a Professional Development session (see earlier blog post), I created a Matrix (hyperlinked) for revising HSC Economics.

  7. One student’s opinion and questions about the mining industry and Australia’s economy

    10 August 2010 by shartley

    This is a direct copy from an email I received from a student last night.  It would be great if you could comment on what she has to say and the questions she asks.

    – The Australian economic situation is extremely threatened by the lack of security resulting from the mining boom. Increased growth of the mining sector, estimated to be that of greater than 3 per cent, i expected to encourage economic growth for the economy over the next few years, resulting in a redistribution of resources towards mining based industry. This is good on the surface as it promotes Australia’s comparative advantage of commodity based exports; however what if this is Australia’s primary source of growth. If other sectors of the economy, such as tourism and manufacturing for example have relatively small or limited growth in comparison to these mining giants, we are left with a two speed economy.

    This means that:

    – Excessive growth from the mining sector places upwards pressure on inflation, as a result of demand pull inflation.

    – Increases of real incomes also results in greater spending thereby increasing inflationary pressures.

    – Global confidence in the Australian economy promotes an appreciation of the Australian dollar, therefore imports become less expensive as purchasing power increases and greater inflationary pressure is generated from the exchange market.

    So generally there is alot of inflationary pressure as a result of this mining boom, and this isn’t a problem when you consider that small amounts of inflation 2-3% are considered healthy. BUT: How do you control inflation.

    In the two speed economy, consisting of the mining related sectors and pretty much the rest of the country, the substantially different growth rates will both be affected by any anti-inflationary measures.

    – If you increase interest rates, you are potentially damaging the less-profitable sectors of society, undermining the basic necessities and thereby standards of living of communities and causing greater cost-push inflation within these sectors.

    Therefore: the customary tools of controlling the economy become nullified. We need new measures to control this economy that is leading to gross discrepancies in the distribution of income and wealth.

    The Labor Party suggested we impose a super-tax on the mining industry’s profits, however this is equally useless in providing stable economic growth as it undermines the industry in which Australia has the greatest comparative advantage. Royalties however, do need to be redirected from the states to national government unless income inequality is to grow even further. How do you promote stable economic growth throughout all of Australia to ensure that the government’s instruments of economic management remain useful? Microeconomic reform is perhaps the most likely answer, thereby encouraging the other sectors of the economy to catch up to the growth experienced in the mining sector, but this may take up to 20 years to take effect? By that stage the disparity between the mining sector and other sectors growth could be astronomical! Perhaps we should adopt protectionist measures to ensure the growth of domestic businesses in conjunction with the mining boom? But this has! proved to in fact stunt economic growth in the past. What is the answer? How do you maintain economic growth in an economic climate as geographically dominant as Australia, without waving the white flag to inflation and the two speed economy??

  8. Professional Development

    4 August 2010 by shartley

    I asked on Twitter (29 April) what teachers wanted from PD:
    @jangreen31 From a PD session I want to be able to connect, collaborate &create. Learn in a trusting, mutually supportive environment.
    @simonjob realistic and practical ideas.
    @AdeShipp to be inspired by new ideas and then go off and produce them to be used in the classroom.
    @ sandynay from PD I want to be included, I want to share, I want to b able 2 support staff at their point of need, 🙂
    @ teachercolin Knowledge and expertise if they are filling you in on broad strategies or practical hands implementation for classroom practices
    @ jhando passion, real examples and care

    Later @simonjob also tweeted “for me, PD must be practical; i.e. usable tomorrow. Not just ideas with no thinking about the implementation.”

    @DrAshCasey tweeted “I guess that could pd is so something that is sustained and sustainable i.e. it needs ongoing support that is manageable for all” and has blogged about how Action Research has been the most beneficial PD for him.

    This evening on Twitter I asked what teachers hated about PD.  The tweets came thick and fast:
    @murcha What I hate most about face2 face PD, is the big cost, time taken for me to get there & need to get permission from leadership.
    @lhjh70 The fact that most of it comes at the end of a tiring day #pointlesspd
    @lhjh70 Hate motivational PD – you know – a tai chi session, or burning incense & putting your dog on the wall will change everything PD.
    @ykombi School-based, first day back of term variety PD is usually irrelevant and never followed up – in my experience
    @eliza_peterson When PD is imposed on us by administration. It often is unrelated to what we need as educators!

    One complaint I’ve heard that isn’t listed above is that teachers hate being lectured at by managers who are perceived as having lost touch with what it is like to have a full teaching load.

    Before I go any further I am going to declare that I’m a convert to my school’s Professional Development (PD) sessions.  I think they’re great.  But first I will address some of the complaints.

    Most Mondays after school we have PD for 1- 1½ hours.  Yes, it is after a long day at school, but it would be worse on the weekend or late at night or very early in the morning.  And I can’t see teachers giving up their holidays.  Our staff wanted three weeks holidays in Australia’s Winter so they could travel in Europe.  The three day annual staff seminar was converted to four night seminars, one each term, to enable that to happen.

    Yes, my school doesn’t like sending us out on expensive courses, particularly when we are an accredited provider.  But they will if it is needed.  I teach Economics.  We do not have an economist on the payroll so I go to conferences at which economists speak.  I learn from them and I enjoy them because I am interested in Economics.  That’s why I teach it.

    So what do we do in the PD sessions at my school? I am privileged to work in a school which is forever trying to make not only our classrooms more engaging but also our PD more engaging.  This term we are learning to make Moodle more streamlined and professional in its use in our school.  Last term we were able to choose from various technologies we thought could apply in our classrooms and mostly they were hands-on sessions.  The school has tried offering PD as online courses (we offer online courses to students) but I believe course completion rate was low.  Staff are also allowed to design their own projects to work on.  Last year a colleague and I tried to put together a new case study for Business Studies but Mohan Dhall obviously had the same idea as us and published one on Breville in Time Riley’s Business Studies Review.  At least we would have made ours online.  But we’ve dropped the concept because now it would look like we were copying.

    This week our Principal put together a matrix program roughly based on some of our “matrix” teaching programs for Years 5-8.  There were multiple intelligences down the left of a table and activities worth one, two or three points for each intelligence.  The aim was to achieve at least three points.  There was a collective sigh and moan when the email came round with this table, including me.  The main issue was how was it going to help me in the classroom.  There were some interpersonal and intrapersonal activities that I would be reasonably happy to do but they were the sort of ideas that I do anyway.  For example:

    Evaluate ways in which you might harness the energy of highly social students into effective collaborative learning.  Write down those thoughts in a form that can be shared with colleagues so that they might lead to better management of highly social students. (1 point)

    The first half of the task I would be really confident about but I don’t want to go beating my chest about it to my colleagues.  And too often, other teachers’ examples of something that works in the classroom are dismissed as personality based methods.  In Business Studies I have a lot of social boys.  We start many lessons with the students conducting a board meeting, taking turns as the chairperson.  The aim is to find out what they already know about that lesson’s topic and to build individuals’ knowledge into class knowledge and understanding.  They love taking ownership of their learning.  See, I can write it here in my blog for the world to see, but to my peers…that’s crazy talk.  Many would say it wouldn’t work in their subject or that it just isn’t their style.  And I’d take it personally.

    So what I did was choose:

    Create (download) an iTunes playlist of 15-20 songs for a specific genre and suitable for [students’ ears]. The playlists should be relevant to improving learning or the learning environment. Create information sheets that provide information on the Playlists. (3 points)

    Now I didn’t actually download the tunes but a friend and I did come up with a list.  And instead of an information sheet we designed a lesson that linked with an already existing assessment task.  Again I used Twitter for help.  I asked for songs people knew that related to natural hazards or landforms.  I combined the responses with my own searches for suitable songs (eg “Flood” by Jars of Clay) and came up with a list that would engage students.  My thought was to play bits of the music like a trivia night, or playing bingo, until the key word was revealed and students identified the geographical feature.  After they had a list and categorised into landforms and natural hazards (could also add flora and fauna, weather – they’re in the same section of NSW Stage 5 Geography Syllabus p37), they choose one from each category to research.  They could also write their own songs or some other form of creation.  Chris Betcher has designed a brilliant task on natural hazards which you can find on his blog.

    In some ways I saw this PD the Principal set as something I just had to get through.  Get the job done, signed off and add it to the NSWIT requirement of 100 hours PD over 5 years.  I haven’t actually taught Year 9 Geography for a few years but I hope to be able to see another teacher put this idea into action to see if it will work.  So it did end up being a productive use of my time.  Sometimes PD is what you make of it.

    If you don’t like the PD in your school, maybe you can change it and try to make it relevant.  I read many people on Twitter working hard to guide teachers into improving teaching through application of appropriate technologies.  It is worth chipping away.  The complainers at my school do occasionally have the ah-ha moments and sometimes even become excited when they learn some new technology they can see be relevant in their classroom.  Other times new ideas need to sit in the back of the mind for quite a while but then one day they see a match of a particular technology and a particular lesson.  And boom, improved learning results.

    Professional Development is good for you.  At least it is at my school.  Sometimes the people running the show don’t get it right and they can’t always make everyone happy but they are trying.  And we do offer the chance for staff to run their own PD.  If we don’t learn from each other we will be forever boxed alone with our students in the four walls of our classrooms, becoming stagnant.  The world keeps changing, technology with it, and teachers need to expand their thinking too.  I think an hour or so on Monday afternoons is not too much to ask.

  9. content AND pedagogy

    10 January 2010 by shartley

    Someone else’s blog posting has taken me to a bit of a rant:

    …the key to effective teaching is not the content information I have in my head, but the ability and skills to help students find the motivation within themselves to want learn about the subject matter. I don’t have to be an expert in that content subject in order to make that happen.

    Thankfully the blogger went on to add There needs to be a balance.

    I think sometimes we forget that we do not have the time in our clichéd ‘crowded curriculum’ for students to discover every iota of information for themselves.  It helps that the core information is available on tap from the teacher and, heaven forbid, textbooks.   As much as we like to be teaching our students how to research, have inquiring minds, problem solve and to learn for life rather than exams, too much of our school system is geared towards passing tests and writing content heavy essays to prove how much has been learnt rather than how the mind works.

    In the subjects I teach it is very important for me to stay abreast of current events, particularly economics and social issues.  To do this I read a lot and attend conferences.  Attending economics lectures (with accompanying notes) provide me with a wealth of information that would take a multitude of hours for me to research.  The same is true of the classroom.  Sometimes teacher exposition is the easiest way to move through content quickly.  Sometimes the easiest way to learn for exams is to memorise content.  In an exam based system it can’t always be about enthusiasm, engagement and enjoyment.  Besides, we should also be teaching our students resilience and that life isn’t always about being happy about what we are doing.  In other words, to occasionally just ‘suck it up’.

    As I enter my seventh year of teaching I can look back and reflect how much my teaching methods have expanded, much helped by the IT resources provided by my school.  I can see how students are more engaged, self-directed and enjoying my subjects.  However, it has occurred as I have become more confident with the content.  I am more willing to experiment with methods when I have my feet planted in knowledge.  Also, with the time saved by already having gained the knowledge I can spend time on developing new ways of teaching it.  Too often we forget, particularly with new teachers, how long it can take to learn content.  We  need to reduce teacher stress, particularly in the early years.

    I am a passionate teacher and this works well whether I feel strong in a topic’s knowledge or not.  The first time I taught Society and Culture I was thrown into it mid-semester during my second year of teaching and had to scramble to stay ahead of the students but the students and I still enjoyed it.  The best lessons were when we were entirely off topic, but that will have to be the subject of a different post.  The second time I taught Society and Culture I changed one of the optional topics and said to the students that we’d be learning it together.  I was only able to do this because I had proven I had enough core knowledge in the subject to give the students confidence that it was going to be a positive learning experience.

    Balance is a word I use frequently.  Teachers need to have a balance of content and pedagogy training.  I just think we need to be more aware of how they go hand-in-hand.  One is useless without the other.

  10. Keeping it Real

    9 January 2010 by shartley

    When I started teaching six years ago, having previously been in the corporate world, I was keen to show students, particularly in Business Studies, the real world, beyond the textbook.  The students were bemused by my approach of constantly showing via the web how real businesses and other institutions actually operated.  The textbook is great for providing neat answers in the structure of the syllabus, particularly for exam preparation, but for real life learning we need to go far beyond the books.  Textbooks are ideal for students who are good at memorising and regurgitating information for exams that are merely a passport for the next stage of study in life.  Not that this works for all subjects.  In Economics I keep telling my students that memorising the textbook will only give them a mark up to 80% because they need to demonstrate analysis and informed opinion to achieve any higher.  However, education at all levels should be about learning for life and about life and not be just about final results in the HSC and equivalent ‘finals’.

    Real life now involves various forms of social media.  I joined Twitter at the start of 2009 but didn’t actually participate until about half way through the year.  I also use Facebook but purely as a social network.  Twitter is my professional network.  At times it is overwhelming due to how much knowledge other educators in the world have about various web applications and how to use them in the classroom, plus the time they have to post about it, not only on Twitter but through blogs too.  I often feel guilty that I am merely a Twitter trawler since I retrieve so much information from it while giving very little back.  When I do give back, it sometimes feels I am speaking to a void, but not for long.

    The biggest impact Twitter has had on my classroom so far is an idea I had to connect students in my Society and Culture class with Vietnamese students to help them with a case study they were doing on various aspects of life in Vietnam.  Through the retweets of some of my followers and the consequent passing on of names of teachers in Vietnam I was connected with a teacher in Hanoi.  He established a blog where my students and a class within his school introduced themselves to each other before my students asked questions relevant to their case study.  It has been very exciting to see the project start to unfold.  Two of the Vietnamese students expressed very different opinions about the role of power and authority in both schools and government within Vietnam in response to a question from one of my students.  It showed my students different perspectives that they could never learn from a textbook or an official information website.  At the moment we are keeping the blog private since the students are still learning about appropriate use of blogs, not that there have been any problems to date.  However, it has stalled momentarily due to Australia’s summer holidays.  I’m looking forward to the return of school to move it along further.  This is the third time I have taught this unit but it is the first time it has sparked a desire in me to visit Vietnam.  The personal touch really does have an amazing effect.

    The same class also has a public blog to maintain a journal for their Personal Interest Project.  It opens up an opportunity for them to receive feedback about their ideas.  Again, Twitter has been the means for finding the few people who have provided some very constructive thoughts for my students.

    The next exciting project that has come from Twitter was purely by accident in the last few hours.  I was merely thinking out loud and feeling silly for posting it at all when I typed in exactly the maximum 140 characters: Thinking about teaching research methodologies by having Yr 12 students film 30 sec demos of each method with target audience of new Yr 11s. Within minutes a teacher from the USA sent me a direct message offering his 14 year old students as a target audience.  We have set a date for late February for my students to have the videos ready.

    I am constantly astounded by the connections I make and this is despite having fewer than 150 followers, a small number compared to some of the educators I follow with 1000s of followers.  Through Twitter I also discover new resources, many of which I won’t ever use but some I will and as a result my students will also expand their learning.  I can spend hours every day just reading posts and the weblinks they contain but I need to just opt in and out as I want and not become obsessive about it.  I had a few weeks over Christmas where I didn’t do any work for school so I also chose not to touch Twitter either.  I came back refreshed.  I once showed my Society and Culture students how I use Twitter and one asked, “Do you ever sleep?”  I laughed and said I didn’t sleep enough but asked if she reads everything posted on Facebook, her main online social medium.  She doesn’t.

    Twitter is an amazing resource helping me to create an environment of authentic learning.  In just over two weeks I will be back in the classroom after a long summer holiday, armed with new ideas and excited by the prospects they hold.  Stay tuned to see how they go.

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