Tagged: Twitter

Would you follow Anne Frank?

Thanks to Twitter, YouTube and other social media around these days, we read the messages and watch the images from what seems to be increasingly dangerous streets of Iran. These are raw, unedited fragments of human reality, taken just a few seconds before we can see them. We often pass these on to others. There are no gatekeepers – just real people caught in the rip of history.

Do you know the story of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager caught in the horrible rip of history called World War 2? Have you ever wondered what would happen if Twitter was around then and you could receive her updates? Would you pass on (or ‘retweet’ in Twitter lingo – RT) her most thoughtful, most dramatic tweets on. What if she (not some boring pop star) had 1 million followers? All passing on her messages?

“Jazzalujah” (don’t know his real name) is 21, lives in the US and he wonders just that. And thanks to him and the post on the Lost Liberty Cafe, you may (again) think about the human potential of social media to – change the course of history.

Need more examples of ‘what if?’

How about soldiers or civilians sending updates during the Vietnam War? What would that do to the public opinion? Would the madman Kim Jong Il of North Korea be so daringly and dangerously powerful if millions could photograph the starving children in his country and send the pictures around the world? Would the Berlin Wall have fallen any earlier if STASI couldn’t block a thing called Twitter? Of course, you can add a few of your own…

Think about these every time someone tells you social media is a “complete waste of time”. It can be. It can also be a beacon of humanity like we have never had in history.

PS Please note that Anne Frank I refer to above was a real person who died in Auschwitz in 1944. She is not the ‘Anne Frank’ on Twitter, who bears the photo of the real Anne Frank and updates her status regulalry.

The last letter in K.I.S.S.

“Keep It Simple S…..” Do you know the last word usually stated here?

While the leftover pizza from Twizza (Twitter & pizza) is cooling nicely in the school fridge, I can’t thank enough to all the people who came and/or “tweeted-in” to our gathering this afternoon. An informal meeting of a few teachers turned out to be a wonderfully relaxed, very positive and productive introduction to Twitter for many of my colleagues at the school.

The place was like the United Nations of Twitter – we got tweet-ins from around Australia, Europe, UK, USA,  a ‘real’ visitor from New Zealand, even a person from Czech Republic who has used my 2 Minute Moodles with her teachers happened to be in town and dropped by. As Tim Hunt, software developer from the UK working at Moodle HQ here in Perth, walked in I said: “Here is an example of the power of Twitter – I am seeing this person for the first time in my life yet he walks in as an old friend.”

A large number of real, human connections were made in the space of just a couple of hours (even Sue Waters’ funny looking tweets could not stop all that 🙂 ) Once again, the 70:20:10 principle I have touched on many times in my writing, was so obvious and wonderful to watch during the event as my colleagues helped each other, handbook and laptop in hand, to have a crack at Twitter (thank you Simon, you are a bloody legend!).

We got about ten new teacher signups, polished a few bottles of wine, had about four family-sized pizzas and shared some great conversations. Best of all, we have experienced a number of those “a-ha!” moments that make Twitter, educational technology and the whole behemoth of education go – human ideas, creativity and willingness to learn. If we did not have these we are in the wrong business, sending the wrong messages to our students. Thinking and learning is vital, just “Keep It Simple SMART“.

It is amazing what a change of the last word can achieve.

Before I go and digest that last slice of pizza, I would like to offer you a free copy of “Twitter handbook for teachers” created for this event (hence the name). This was a well received document, why not share…

Below the document, you will find the Twitter names of my teaching colleagues who have just signed up with Twitter – feel free to follow and share the serendipity of Twitter with them, they will appreciate it.

Twitter Handbook for Teachers

Created by Tomaz Lasic (@lasic, http://human.edublogs.org)

Here is a list of people who attended Twizza and their Twitter names (most of them brand spanking new so please excuse lack of profile). Connect today 🙂

Slice of Twizza anyone?

Technology or not, nothing beats face to face interaction with fellow humans. To make the digital links even more human and add the nuances of speech and body language to other useful means of communication, we are putting on a little get-together for staff at our school and any interested educators on 8 April 2009. The event is called Twizza – a wordplay on Twitter and pizza.

If you are in or around Perth that afternoon, consider joining us for a chat (and pizza!) and perhaps learn what Twitter is, how it works and why would you use it. To answer this last question (which should really be the first question), I have put together a little presentation you can see below. There is also a video clip version with some lovely background tweeting (real birds too) for those interested.

For more information about Twizza, feel free to contact me through EVICTS , tweet me @lasic or via comments below. The little birdie tells me that even the great Edublogger Sue Waters may make an appearance (we”ll get some chocolate ready).

Twitter saves lives

The images, sounds and stories from the massive bushfires in Victoria and their horrible toll have been crossing the globe over the last week. It has truly been a tragedy and it continues to rage.

There are dozens of stories of missing the loved ones, survival, reunions, hopes, uncertainty coming through the ‘conventional’ mass media. But driving to work this morning I heard a powerful story on the local ABC Radio how social networking sites, and particularly Twitter, kept people informed and in touch with each other during the worst.

While the circumstances in which the usefulness of Twitter has come forward here are awfully sad and disturbing, it is another (eg. the recent China earthquake) great example of the power of the immediate, raw, human communication Twitter and social networking sites can provide.

Enough writing, have a listen to the story. And while you are at it, please consider donating to the Red Cross appeal for the victims of the Victorian bushfires.

Go people – dig deep in and help!

Yours truly @lasic

PS. Twitter community does not just help bushfire victims. See what Twestival is all about – a fantastic worldwide charity event indeed.