My relationship with social media has focused mostly on my professional life and has been a positive experience. I have had an interest in using technology to improve my understanding of all facets of education. In fact, my first teaching job was as an itinerant teacher that would take elementary (K- Grade 8) students to the computer lab for experiences with technology. In this role, I basically had my own reign over what I did (as there was no set curriculum except for some keyboarding outcomes available) so I had opportunities to be creative with technology from the start. I soon found myself using technology as tool throughout my career and consider myself a bit of a trailblazer in this area. For a long time, I felt a little bit of an island unto myself. There were not a lot of educators (around these parts) that were also interested in teaching with this developing tool over 20 years ago. But as time moved on so did access to improved technology and more teachers were ready and willing to ‘dip their foot in the ocean’. I was fortunate to serve as a technology coach and consultant in my division in the mid-2000s. Over my time in this position, I was able to initiate and engage in many technology based educational lessons. This was a great experience, but it was still mostly in isolation and my ability to share and learn from others in a larger scale was limited. I had created an eportfolio and had shared a few teaching artifacts online as part of an Education Technology Diploma I did online in the earlier 2000s (through the University of Cape Breton). This was one of my first attempts in sharing online and leaving a ‘snap shot’ of some of my views and work as a teacher. I have been fortunate to have been selected to a few ‘edtech’ teacher education programs. One such amazing experience was becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator. During one event I was having a conversation with a couple of amazing teachers (and just overall great people) and one teacher from just outside Toronto set me on my social media journey that has been an absolute game changer. That medium of choice throughout this journey has been Twitter. Now I had signed up for Twitter before (didn’t see where I was going with this so I maybe could have made my username a little more profession than @vendi55 but I’m kind of stuck with it and it has kind of grown on me) but had not really taken the plunge into the Twitterverse. My fellow ADE and friend (Colin Harris @digitalnative) had me revisit Twitter and set me on a path that really has been transformational. I now had that access to people, ideas, resources, and conversations that I did not have access to before. At first I did a lot of following and lurking, as I checked out a whole new world that was before me. So many possibilities and so much potential. As I have progressed in my Twitter adventure I have become more active. I share resources, insights, classroom activities, participate in Twitter chats (and have even lead or co-lead a few division, provincial, national, and international events), and continue to learn more about this medium. Hard to believe that earlier this year I experienced my 10th ‘Twitterversy’. Twitter is a huge part of my Professional Development and I have grown a strong and extensive Personal Learning Network. I have had many positive learning experiences and conversations on Twitter especially in the area of education. I enjoy participating in weekly #formativechat (Mondays at 5:30 PM (until DST)) and #saskedchat (Thursdays at 8:00 PM) Twitter chats as frequently as I can. In my classroom, I have attempted to integrate Twitter with my students in the past and have limited success to date. But this year I have once again tried to engage my social 9 on Twitter to follow the election and share insights from their perspectives with the world. So far it has been more successful than in the past as I have learned more and become more committed to creating this experience in the classroom. One interesting story from this venture has been a producer from the CBC reaching out to me on the election due to this activity and one of my Tweets, which she was able to follow up on find my eportfolio and blog (deanvendramin.weebly.com). This led her to believe that I wasn’t a bot and that my post was valid. I also appreciated her comment that she was impressed with work I have done in education by checking out my eportfolio. I feel I have created a positive online presence and that if someone Googled my name they would find someone who is passionate about education and enjoys being innovative. I look forward to continuing my Twitter / online journey and see where it takes me. I do have other social media accounts but none that I use extensively. I signed up for Facebook to keep in touch with few teachers I met at an international Microsoft conference (it’s fairly locked down, I have I a lot of friend requests that I just haven’t bothered to accept, once in a while I post a course completion from the Microsoft Educators’ Community). I have a LinkedIn account that again post a course completion once in a while and an Instagram account that I post pictures from nature (mostly skylines). I don’t use social media to share a lot of personal information or events, but will check out what’s trending once in a while. I struggle with how much personal information to post as it’s good to reveal a little bit of the person behind the screen, but also there are limits (some people post too much (IMO) – like sharing the delivery room footage of the birth of their child). I also look after my school’s Twitter account and feel it’s a great way to share and promote the great thing going on at our school. Social media has been a useful and positive tool in my career and I look forward to continue to use this medium to learn, share, and grow.
Here are some blogs that I have written in the past that relate to my use of social media (including a book talk about the book Social Leadia by Jennifer Casa-Todd (which will be a great resource for me and something I will probably use as part of my summary of learning):
Here are some wakelet collections of social media (mostly tweets) events / experiences I have been a part of:
Here’s a copy of one of our school newsletters using wakelet:
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.