Nuances of New Literacies

PROSonny Abesamis Follow new life
PROSonny Abesamis Follow
new life

New literacies=new readers

I’ve written about ways to embed Twitter into Service studies, Psychology, Personal and Social Education, how to host Twitter chats, and a general post on Twitter for the IBDP student.

Why can’t I stop blogging about Twitter in 2016?

In September last year Twitter published a post which looked at how the US geological survey was using tweet data to track earthquakes. Using a surprisingly uncomplicated process, the USGS had found that by tracking mentions of the term ‘earthquake’, within specific parameters which they’d defined, they could better track seismic activity across the globe than they’d been able to via their previous measurement systems…….Twitter data is being used to track and respond to flood damage in Jakarta, to monitor civil unrest in Egypt, to predict crime in the US. These use cases highlight the societal benefits of Twitter data, beyond just keeping up with cultural trends. Rather than seeing it as a short-form message service mainly populated by Millennials, Twitter is a powerful data engine with wide-reaching benefits.   (full text here)


Political campaigns worldwide now use bots, software developed to automatically do tasks online, as a means for gaming online polls and artificially inflating social-media traffic. Recent analysis by our research team at Oxford University reveals that more than a third of pro-Trump tweets and nearly a fifth of pro-Clinton tweets between the first and second debates came from automated accounts, which produced more than 1 million tweets in total. This data corroborates recent reports suggesting that both candidates’ social media followings are highly automated. (Full text here)

As a former IBDP Language and Literature teacher, a core component of the course asks us to Examine different forms of communication within the media.  In 2016 it is impossible to leave Twitter outside of that conversation.

So, where are great resources to help us foster twitter literacy in an Ibdp Lang/Lit course?

1. “Make America Tweet Again”

Computer scientists from the University of Utah’s College of Engineering have developed what they call “sentiment analysis” software that can automatically determine how someone feels based on what they write or say. To test out the accuracy of this software’s machine-learning model, the team used it to analyze the individual sentiments of more than 1.6 million (and counting) geo-tagged tweets about the U.S. presidential election over the last five months. A database of these tweets is then examined to determine whether states and their counties are leaning toward the Republicans or Democrats.



Social media has empowered isis recruiting, helping the group draw at least 30,000 foreign fighters, from some 100 countries, to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. It has aided the seeding of new franchises in places ranging from Libya and Afghanistan to Nigeria and Bangladesh. It was the vehicle isis used to declare war on the United States: The execution of the American journalist James Foley was deliberately choreographed for viral distribution. And it is how the group has inspired acts of terror on five continents.

4. Twelve ways twitter has changed our lives

Ten years ago, if someone told you people would be writing articles about hundreds and thousands of people watching a livestream of a puddle, you’d probably think they were making it up. Despite constant calls of “that’s not news”, viral moments have become just that. From #thedress to #thestory, Twitter amplifies these trends to the point they end up in newspapers.

5. #langNlit

The hashtag curates resources on the daily.


Yes, and…WHERE ARE GREAT RESOURCES for the ibdp literature teacher?




Anders Adermark Connected
Anders Adermark


Twitter is home to some of my favorite ‘colleagues.’ These are just a sampling of the Lang/Lit teachers I’m proud to follow:

Michelle Lampinen


Madeleine Cox


Sydney Atkins


Lindsay Lyon


Aynsley o’carroll


Neshali Weera


Uzay Ashton


Wonder if twitteracy is a thing? unsure as to whether or not twitter will provoke more reading and writing? 

Start here…and consider contacting that amazing list of teachers on Twitter above for a ‘slow chat’ debate.  Maybe we could even host it with students?

Chris Horizon


All Images Under a CC licence

new life

Connected via Flickr

Horizon via Flickr

Service and the Social Media Connection



If it ‘takes a village’ to raise a child, it takes a network to cultivate a service program.

Twitter is an incredible tool for networking and nourishing our understanding of the concerns of our global village.  Twitter allows us to join movements, to use our tools for awareness and change. Twitter allows us to connect and expand, like this example courtesy of Blog Action Day:

Twitter also allows us to follow along with Malala Yousafzai’s continued journey in real time:


Hashtags are becoming part of our social activism toolkit:


The other thing I will add is that Twitter specifically has been interesting because we’re able to get feedback and responses in real time. If we think about this as community building, and we think of community building as a manifestation of love, and we think about love being about accountability, and accountability about justice, what’s interesting is that Twitter has kept us honest. There’s a democracy of feedback. I’ve had really robust conversations with people who aren’t physically in the space, but who have such great ideas. And that’s proven to be invaluable. (read full text here) ‘Hashtag Activism Isn’t a Cop-Out’ by NOAH BERLATSKY

New to twitter and interested in following others passionate about service learning? 

Start here:

  1. Gina Valverde


  2. John Howlett


  3. elizabeth burgos


  4. Cathryn Berger Kaye


  5. Philanthropy


  6. YSA


  7. UN Women with Youth


  8. Kailash Satyarthi


  9. Global Impact


  10. Stop Hunger Now


  11. Sue Stephenson


  12. IMPACT 2030


  13. #YouthSDGs


  14. UNYouth


  15. Jubilee Project


  16. Mcleo Mapfumo


  17. Global Daily


  18. GlobalOnenessProject


  19. Za’atari Camp


  20. UNHCR Innovation


  21. Sajjad Malik


  22. Nicholas Kristof


  23. A Path Appears


  24. Nadia Murad


  25. GCR2P


  26. Simon Adams


  27. Corinne Gray


  28. UN Refugee Agency


  29. TeamRefugees


  30. Aoife McDonnell


Which hashtags should you start following?








Read more on tags that have brought about awareness and change here.

Please recommend more thought leaders in the comment section below


Thanks to Flickr for providing the cover image for this post


Ten Steps to hosting a Twitter Chat

Made with AdobeSpark
Made with AdobeSpark


As far as spaces go, twitter is a great place for educators.

Over the past decade, Twitter has become a 24/7 space for professional development.  Twitter is a place to share, curate, and develop resources. It has allowed teachers everywhere to have access to experts anywhere.

One of my favorite applications is the Twitter Chat.  Connecting in real time, or sometimes via a #slowchat (see an example of that here) has shifted the way we ‘do’ professional development. If you think a conversation needs to happen, you can curate that discussion.

Here are ten steps to getting involved with a Twitter Chat, and then…initiating your very own:


1. Lurk and Learn

There is no shortage of professional chats happening.  Take a look.  Read through archived chats, and observe. The #cpchat (connected principals chat) is an interesting hashtag to follow for school leadership teams.  The chats are not as regular as other chats, but the hashtag curates wonderful resources by the hour.  Here is an example of a question from a #cpchat Twitter chat:

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.10.54 AM

There are two important things to notice:

a) in any Twitter chat, you need to use the ‘#’ to tag your Tweet within the conversation

b) @TonySinanis starts his Tweet here with ‘Q1,’ which stands for ‘Question 1.’

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.14.23 AM

In the response, you’ll see that @Joesanfelippofc has responded with both the #cpchat AND he starts his Tweet with ‘A1’ standing for ‘Answer 1.’


2. PARTICIPATE (.COM) allows you to have a more tailored search for resources shared during chats.  It is a great tool for exploring the weekly #satchat (Saturday Chat), and digging into the archived discussions.

By selecting ‘chats,’ then ‘see all chats’ you will have access to a calendar of chats happening each day:

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.42.58 AM

3. Go with the flow

By using Tweetdeck, Tweetchat, or Hootsuite--you’ll be able to sip from the specified feed, rather than drink from the firehose of your entire feed.

If you aren’t ready to try a public chat, or you want to practice hosting your own chat privately, Today’s Meet is a great way to have a ‘training wheels’ approach to open chats.

4. Bring a friend

No, really.  Invite a peer to ‘go with.’  If you are new to chats, it will be helpful to have someone you know in the space.  Networking is networking wherever you are, IRL or online.  Having one familiar face will help you feel more comfortable–and it will be great to have a colleague to debrief with later on.

5. Google Keep

Just like any other meeting/workshop/discussion, it is a great idea to bring notes to have at the ready AND to have another space to collect thoughts on.  Google Keep is perfect for collaborative notes and/or to do lists.  It will be too trying to look for links during a chat.  I recommend having a few resources, quotes, links ready to go on a Google Keep note before the chat begins.

6. Extend invitations

Build a Twitter List (here’s how) of people who would be interested in a chat you’d like to host. Take the time to personally invite at least 20 people.  Here’s a sample chat invite:

Notice that the invitation has tagged other #’s where there might be an overlap in interest.  This is good, but nothing substitutes for a personalized invite.  Take the extra step and let people know exactly when the chat is happening in their time zone (this tool helps with that).

7. Promote and remind

As the day and time for the chat nears, remind people.  Two of my favorite tools to build Twitter-friendly signage are Canva and Adobe Spark (the image at the top of this post is something I put together with Adobe Spark in two quick minutes).

8. Get the questions out there early

Providing access to the chat’s questions in advance will allow participants to put more thought into their answers.  It will also allow people to track down resources in advance.  Lastly, it will encourage them to invite other people in.

Click here to have a look at a list of recently explored questions during this #edtechchat meetup.

Some moderators will even provide an exact time for questions to be prompted, here’s an example of that style.

9. Curate the conversation

Once the chat is over, it isn’t really over.  Blog about it, archive or use Storify to frame the chat.

10. Always say thank you

Be sure that participants feel appreciated.  Every educator is stretched for time. When people carve out an hour to chat, make sure they know their time was valued.  If you are participating in someone else’s chat, thank the moderator(s).


Pssst….where are all the PSHE peeps?

A five-minute walk from the rickety, raised track that carries the 5 train through the Bronx, the English teacher Argos Gonzalez balanced a rounded metal bowl on an outstretched palm. His class—a mix of black and Hispanic students in their late teens, most of whom live in one of the poorest districts in New York City—by now were used to the sight of this unusual object: a Tibetan meditation bell. (via The Atlantic’s “When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom”)

Mindfulness, flow, wellness, character-education.

Today’s schools seek to do more than merely prepare students to do….well, more study.  Faculties now invest both time and money in preparing students for days when (as David Foster Wallace once declared here) ‘the work of choosing’ will come.

So, how are we preparing learners for the longest haul imaginable?

Chris Ford Follow 'Tres Cruces', Argentina, Jujuy, Costillas del Diablo, Tres Cruces
Chris Ford 
‘Tres Cruces’, Argentina, Jujuy, Costillas del Diablo, Tres Cruces


Aspirations need feedback loops. And feedback loops require resources and networks.

After doing some research, I’ve compiled a list of great people to follow on Twitter, and a few corners to lurk in.  But this post is a call to action:  please comment with more people to connect with, and other places to look.  I hope this post will start a conversation on the role Twitter and Blogging can play in our aims to better develop our schools as empires of wellness.

Start following:

PSHE Association

Joe Hayman


Roger P. Weissberg

Meria Carstarphen


Lisa M. Blacker


Paul Blake

Tough Cookies Ed


andrew kauffman

Lesley Wright

Narelle Corless

Generation Next


Daniela Falecki

The Leader in Me

Jerry Blumengarten

Daniel Goleman

Daniel J. Siegel


Tags to watch:

*Updated, here are even more recommendations:


If you have great resources, recommendations of #’s or other PSHE leaders on Twitter, please let me know in the comments below.

piX dust Follow Psst !
piX dust Follow
Psst !


Thank you Flickr for providing the following images:

‘Tres Cruces’, Argentina, Jujuy, Costillas del Diablo, Tres Cruces

piX dust

Psst !


Twitter for the IBDP Student

While Twitter is an amazing tool for building community, microblogging understandings, and organically developing a real-time yearbook, there’s more to be done with everybody’s favorite blue bird.


Twitter-literacy is bound to become increasingly more relevant for students and teachers alike:

The new study, conducted by Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, finds that clear majorities of Twitter (63%) and Facebook users (63%) now say each platform serves as a source for news about events and issues outside the realm of friends and family. That share has increased substantially from 2013, when about half of users (52% of Twitter users, 47% of Facebook users) said they got news from the social platforms. (full text here).

Twitter is changing the pace of news and more:

Public outrage over the abduction of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamist militants fostered a global social media support campaign with millions of messages tagged with a simple demand.

Although some may refer to this movement as a form of Slacktivism, there is no denying that this Twitter activity fueled a central focus for the international news media. The millions joined across the world certainly had more influence than a single report churned out by a concerned journalist. (click here for the full post)


Here’s a look at a few ways to Tweet like a pro in an IBDP classroom:

ONE: Trendsmap:  

Trendsmap is an integrative map that displays global and local Twitter topic trends. Multiple algorithms are used to process 80 million tweets a day and analyze how much a topic is trending by location. The more popular topics are shown in large, dark bubbles. When you click on a topic, it will show you the global and local tweet volume, trending locations (and related tweets in these locations), images, links and recent tweets. (full text here)

TWO: Lists

The London School of Economics and Political Science has put together this great break down on key lists for academics.

You are also welcome to build your own. See here for more.

THREE: Recreate historical events one tweet at a time…

Use Twitter as a time capsule, and look at events as they could have been Tweeted…click here for more on that.

“Those who forget history are doomed to re-tweet it,” declares the tag line of TwHistory,an educational Web site that began in 2009 with a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg in salvoes of 140 characters or less. So, apparently, are those who remember it.

One can hardly spend an hour on Twitter without getting caught up in a blow-by-blow account of the Civil War, Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed 1911 polar expedition or the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, not to mention a welter of biographical offerings from the likes of Paul Revere, John Quincy Adams, Churchill and Samuel Pepys, the 17th-century London diarist, who has amassed more than 22,000 followers. Pepys’s maid, Jane Birch, even has a feed — or at least she did until last March, when she abruptly quit after posting complaints about her employer’s incessant snoring and incontinent dog. (see here for full NYTimes Article).

Four:  PERISCOPE down…

Virtual Field Trips

In world language classes, students can take virtual field trips alongside teacher-guides from target language countries (e.g. in restaurants or at festivals). Museum tours could be experienced through the lens of a Periscope interaction, opening up opportunities to visit destinations, such as the Louvre or MoMA.

Expert Speakers or Demonstrations

With Periscope, classrooms can connect with field experts or observe scientific lab experiments. Throughout the session, students can actively engage in investigative questioning by recording information and collecting data.

Historical Accounts and Interviews

Students can take a snapshot of history by participating in live broadcasts as elders or veterans tell their life stories from historically significant locations. Teachers can gain insight on depth of student understanding through analysis of such interviews and activities. (full Edutopia text here).

One of the major benefits of Periscope is the flexibility it offers:  “Students who are watching a Periscope can do so from any location, and the app will not restrict the number of participants or limit student interactions like its counterparts. Periscope allows for live interaction instead of videotaping, anytime, anywhere, with any number of viewers,” (click here for more from  Amy Arbogash and Stephanie Rudolph).

FIVE:  level up on your twitter searches: 

Click here to get started on searching Twitter like a pro.

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Thanks Flickr for your bank of amazing Creative Commons Images!

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Kiran Foster