Zoe’s Class

This week, at several points in time, I would log on to my computer and notice that there was a whack of new followers on Twitter.  As I open to investigate each before adding them, I notice that there was a common thread.  They had very few members in their PLN, they had just a few Twitter messages and they mostly had referenced #brocktechies somewhere along the line.

These people were members of Zoe’s @zbpipe‘s education class at Brock University.  I’m just imagining the class where there is a gun held to their heads (figuratively, of course) that they had to create a Twitter account and that they had to follow some faceless online entity that goes by the name of @dougpete.  While these new people are not Ontario Educators just yet, I think it will be very cool that most of them will be in the next 8 months or so.

So, I do welcome them to Twitter and I really hope that they take the time and effort to realize what being connected to faceless entities like @dougpete and the other members of the Ontario Educators’ list can mean.  Of course, these connections certainly shouldn’t be limited to this list but it is a good place to start (I think…).  So many of us blog and you can read them from here.

For this Friday, I’d like to throw out a couple of challenges here…

If you are already an educator, please take a moment to reply giving your Twitter ID and a short message introducing yourself and what you feel that you offer to anyone at a Faculty of Education.

If you are a teacher candidate (whether in Zoe’s class or any other), please reply giving your Twitter ID and a short message introducing yourself and what you expect to get by making these types of online connections.

And, if you are neither of the above, chances are you’re reading this blog because of some other connection that you have to education.  Please consider sharing your Twitter ID and letting these folks know what you have to offer.

Let’s see if we can’t get some synergy going here.

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20 thoughts on “Zoe’s Class

  1. Hey Doug,

    Great stuff for a Friday morning. I am really interested in what Zoe is doing with her Brock teacher candidates and am happy to be a virtual teacher associate for Jacqueline @JPepper05.

    By way of short intro for others at the facutly, I am a Vice Principal in Ottawa, ON. I would like to encourage you to find your voice and join the conversation happening in the blogosphere and on twitter. Connect with educators across the world and develop a global-minded perspective. Some of the things that inform my leadership include appreciative inquiry and the work of folks like Carol Dweck, Daniel Pink and Sir Ken Robinson.

    Have a super weekend!



  2. You rock, Doug! What a great invitation, for everybody!

    We know that Social Media, and Twitter in particular, can have a profound impact on one’s engagement and participation in self-directed personal learning. To all the #brocktechies (and other educators, preservice or otherwise), I would urge you to give Twitter some of your attention daily (“follow 30 educators for 30 days”) and see what gems of information you come across, just by monitoring. The reciprocal sharing and conversations and collaborations will naturally follow.

    @shannoninottawa, we’ll be seeing you and @SirKenRobinson on Monday night.


  3. Hello,
    I’m so glad I was checking my twitter to find this post! I am a recent graduate of Brock’s Teachers College and had the great experience of Zoe’s tech class.

    Through commenting I hope to make connections with other teachers incorporating technology (especially in rural areas). It was a great feeling during practicum to be one tweet away from advise.


  4. FANTASTIC. Sometimes, I think what happens in our “PLN’s” is that we get really comfortable with a group of people. Just like face-2-face interactions. Unfortunately, this means we often neglect to include these new folks. These are the teachers that we will be seeing at the OTF sessions, ECOO, RCAC…and maybe, just maybe in a couple of years there won’t be a need to get “everyone on board” to these networking tools – because they will have been doing it, right from the start. Maybe.

    No exaggeration here Doug, when I asked my Brock Tech Cohort (PJI) AND my optional Integrated technology in classroom course (IS) who had Twitter accounts – only 5 people (out of 70) said yes. In fact many of them were very very hesitant. More hesitant then experienced teachers trying it for the first time because these preservice teachers did not have a context. Why would they need to interact like that? What was the point?
    So, instead of asking them to follow a whole wach of people that they didn’t know (or know why) I asked them to follow each other (they are starting their own network) and ONE other person in the greater global network – The Virtual Associate Teacher Program.
    As an aside: One student was just so thrilled that you accepted her “request” to be a Virtual Associate Teacher” because of your Amherstburg connection.

    Recently, another Teacher Candidate, frustrated at her Face-2-Face placement said to me…”I am so glad to be connecting with @msolomonteacher (an Ontario Teacher) who has shown me things I never thought existed in education…..”

    @anneshillolo writes about her experience with this in her blog: http://anneshillolo.posterous.com/love-being-a-vat

    I am incredibly inspired by this post Doug and your never ending willingness to support others. I will be bringing this post up with all of my classes next week. Thank you.



  5. Hi, Thanks for the welcome. I am in Zoe’s Tech Ed cohort at Brock. I certainly am excited to be part of this program and I enjoy using twitter to connect to other people interested in education but I am still have a lot learn about this type of professional networking (and many other aspects of being a educator!)

    My twitter ID is Miss_RKrueger and I would love to hear from any educators interested in welcoming a newbie into their PLN.

    -Rachel Krueger


  6. Hey Doug,

    On twitter I am @zblashkiw, and I am a teacher candidate and student of Zoe’s at Brock University. My interest in educational technology stems from my undergrad experience. Zoe has done a fantastic job expanding my appreciation for it since I started the Educational Technology Leadership cohort at the Faculty of Education only a few weeks ago.

    The online connections that I have been getting have exceeded my expectations. Before meeting Zoe I had no interest in twitter, blogs, google+ etc… As you can see though, my understanding of these devices has changed. I have begun to realize new capabilities and I have already received more out of these technologies than I had expected.

    I expect that these online connections will allow me to collaborate and share ideas throughout my career. It will also allow me to stay in contact with my fellow #brocktechies.

    When I was in undergrad I decided that my goal would be to improve the educational system as we know it today, at all levels, and these technologies will be a huge help in achieving that.



  7. The welcomes just keep coming today. I am Krista Beaudoin @burnistonk on twitter ( know it is confusing, my last name will be switching before my career really atkes off so I thought this would be easier). I am teacher candidate at Brock university taking zoe’s optional tech. ed. class. I was one of many who were very hesistant at first to introduce myself to the online forums. So much so that I actually dropped the class and then after talking to a friend figured I would give it a try and re-signed up. I am hoping to gain access to resources and people I would have never known about without this class. I also want to thank Zoe for giving the little push that can influence our careers in such a big way. I look forward to seeing everyone in the virtual world.


  8. Hi everyone!
    I see that my VAT contact, Zach B, posted before me, so there goes part of my introduction! ;>

    Jian Ghomeshi (who is also on Twitter as @jianghomeshi and is really interesting to follow) was the closing keynote of a past Ontario Library Association conference. He stressed how important it was to use multiple means to share – for some people, Q is a radio show. For others it’s a stream they access via computer. I like the idea that your blog post acts as another reference point, beyond Twitter or the Brock U Ning, for people to share and connect.

    My Twitter ID is @MzMollyTL and I’m a teacher-librarian in the Toronto District School Board. My most current points of pride for this week are: a) I was quoted in the Toronto Star last Saturday about the value of comics, b) my students are using social media to run their own election campaigns, ask me questions about their assignments, and show their appreciation, and c) one of my former students came to visit today to report he’s been conversing with Will Richardson, answering questions to help him with an article he’s writing that I forwarded to him.

    What do I offer to Fac of Ed peeps? Depends on the day of the week, their views, and the type of crazy things I’m involved with at the time. I’ll be at the ECOO conference Oct. 20-21 and at the Netspeed conference Oct. 19. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there!


  9. Hello Doug et al! Thank you for the warm welcome! My name is Shailja and I am a Teacher Candidate in Zoe’s I/S optional class. My teachables are Chem & Bio and I took Zoe’s tech course to gain a better understanding of technology today in order to implement it in my teaching practices. I do admit that its difficult to keep up with twitter and all the blogs I wish to follow (I’m also a busy Mom = no spare time!), However, I am excited to learn about the amazing tools that Zoe has taught us. Just last week I learned how to make a Google site and Google calendar and I’m obsessed with these! Hoping that I will have more time to connect with Ontario Educators once my placement starts and I may have a bit more time to spare! (wishful thinking!) You can follow me on Twitter @shailjaguelph and my blog is at http://shailjasblog.blogspot.com. Hope to “see” you all soon!


  10. Hi Doug, Thanks for this post! I’ve read through the comments thus far and have already started following some new people on twitter. I’m one of Zoe’s students from her Integrated Technology class, and I’m just loving the online experience so far. I’ve been finding some amazing resources from teachers on twitter (I’ve just recently discovered ReadItLater and Tweeted Times to help consolidate ALL the information on twitter)! I’ve also recently been introduced to edmodo by an educator on twitter (you can find me under Emily Sheridan).
    My twitter id is @em_sheridan and my blog is http://andthejoyofdiscovery.wordpress.com/


  11. Hi Doug,
    I arrived here in the same way that Shailja did. I`m one of the students in Zoe`s optional class that wishes he had more time to fully explore the technology options that Zoe is introducing us to. I haven`t yet made twitter a regular habit, but I`m taking small steps towards a more active use of @RoyDallmann. FWIW, Zoe didn’t hold a gun to our heads … she just introduced the twitter idea to us and nudged us in a few people’s directions. Initially, I got to know the people she recommended via their blogs, and added them on twitter based on their blog – which reminds me, I’d best peek at that list again for any people that I missed. For now, Twitter is a place where I can visit when I have a half hour, and always find some inspiring topic to move my thoughts in a new direction. It might be an article link, a blog link, or just that good ol’ fashioned “I had a great day today” tweet.
    As for me, I’m anxiously awaiting my first practicum block in History, with my Math practicum to follow in the new year. Right now, I’m learning one of the toughest student / new teacher lessons – how to find the right balance between school / sleep / family. My blog is feeling a little lonely these days, but once I get my google site setup out of the way, I’ll be returning more than twice per week to http://eccerexsum.blogspot.com/
    Thank you very much for the welcome and this opportunity to connect with others.


  12. Hi Doug,
    I am also a teacher candidate in Zoe’s optional Technology course. I’m loving all the new tools that she is throwing our way. I had never used Google Documents before, and I think it is the greatest thing for group projects! I’ve been using it to connect with all my groups in other courses. I’m still getting used to Twitter, my ID is @HollowayKm I mostly use it to see what blogs are being tweeted. I really enjoy reading the blogs, I find the information is always useful or interesting! My blog is http://kristenhollowaybrocktech.blogspot.com/ I was very formal in my first posting but I’m coming out of my shell more and more each post! Thanks for the warm welcome!


  13. Hello Doug,

    Thanks for the welcome. My name is Natalie Gilbert – @nataliegilbert on Twitter and my blog is http://www.nmgilbert.blogspot.com. I’m a J/I teacher-candidate at Brock University in the Education Technology Leadership cohort that Zoe facilitates.

    My background is in journalism, specifically broadcast and video editing, so I’ve always enjoyed using technology and seeing how it can impact and potentially improve our lives. I’ve had a Twitter account in the past, but it lacked purpose and meaning so I never really used it. Now, I have a reason to use Twitter – to grow and strengthen my PLN, share resources and have discussions about EdTech and other education-related topics. It is nice to be part of this growing community, a place where I am able to constantly learn and glean information from others.

    Recently, I’ve been exploring other technologies, like Google+ and NING and am interested to see how they can be used in similar ways to Twitter.

    Again, thanks for the welcome and I look forward to learning more and growing as an educator.



  14. Hello! Thanks for the welcome, Doug. I am in Zoe’s tech class and although I was already on Twitter before the class started (thus, no gun to the head scenario!) I am excited about how useful it has been as a way of enriching and enhancing my PLN. My twitter id is @catharinekr and I look forward to networking with anyone who has a passion for education and can can help me grow as a teacher…with or without technology!


  15. Hi Doug,
    All of these posts have encouraged me to get on the bandwagon and drop you a line as well. My name is Giselle Whyte and I am one of Zoe’s colleagues at Brock. Barbara Williams, Zoe and I are the three faculty advisors who are resposible for the 28 teacher candidates who are in our ed tech teachers’ group called Cohort D, aka TLC (Technology Leadership Cohort). Yes, the three of us also provide TLC on an ongoing and/or needs basis depending on the circumstance. LOL!
    I suppose I qualify to be called a Digital Immigrant who is learning a great deal this year. Yes, the challenges are there but I have the motivation and the interest to learn and try different tech tools so that I am not only aware of what there is “out there” but also be in the loop with my students. This way I can empathize with them and understand what it is they are expected to do and apply in the classrooms once they are out for their prolonged field experiences as practice teachers.
    Today, I looked at a video from Discovery Education that streamed live on Sept. 23, 2011. Though I had registered for this, I was unable to participate when the date came. The comfort of my home provided a perfect opportunity to view the conference presentation by Steve Dembo called “Learning to Speak Native: How Education is Being Transformed in 140 Characters or Less”. It was an excellent learning opportunity to see how digital natives are different from digital immigrants as well as the learning characteristics of a digital native. The premise was that change needs to occur in how we teach; however, launching forth with one tech tool is a good beginning. Yes, Web 2.0 has a great deal to offer for both teachers and learners alike but taking an initiative to make a change is far better than doing nothing.
    I have reflected on this experience in my blog.
    I look foward to more connections with you and I thank you for motivating my group and urging their participation through your site and comments.


  16. Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the welcome blog post. My name is Stacey Robinson and I am @_staceyrobinson on Twitter and my blog is http://eagertoeducate.blogspot.com. I am part of Zoe’s Education Technology Leadership cohort at Brock University in the J/I level.

    I feel like everywhere I look I am being welcomed into the technology world of educators and I must say it is an amazing feeling knowing that all these educators out there are as eager as I am to integrate technology into the classroom. It is fascinating how many educators are out there practicing what I have been craving in my educational career; forward, creative, critical thinking practices that use technology to aid in the teaching practices and methods.

    Technology is such an amazing tool and has the opportunity to be used in so many ways, especially when integrated into the classroom. I became involved in the EdTech Cohort at Brock because one of my university professors who was passionate about 21st century learning and teaching encouraged me to take a risk and step outside of my comfort zone to experience something that no other Faculty of Education was offering. Although I have a lot to explore and discover still, I feel so welcomed already and I am excited to continue my journey into education and the vast amount of opportunities I have to meet amazing educators across the world with the click of a mouse.

    Thanks again,


  17. Hi Doug,

    This post is really great. For any readers, my twitter ID is @daley1s and I am a certified teacher now but was a teacher candidate in Zoe’s class and cohort last year. As a personal reflection on my own experience in her class, I have to say that her influence and motivations in helping me to connect with the global community through technology (Twitter) has been life altering and invaluable. I was very “in the dark” before her class when it came to how technology and world-wide connections with other educators could influence education but now I see how it can broaden learning opportunities for students as well as be a great resource for teachers and pedagogical ideas.

    Currently, I am in the M.Ed. program at Brock and am continuing to work on my personal focus which is art and technology and how the two can combine in education (thanks to Zoe) as well as creative/critical thinking and drawing.

    I hope that Zoe’s candidates recognize the value in what she is offering them and that they embrace their new learning as I did mine.

    Good luck to the brock teacher candidates and enjoy. Shauna


  18. Hi Doug!

    My name is Nicole Waite and my twitter ID is @WaiteNicole. I am a concurrent education student, and my teachables are Biology and Geography. I am currently enrolled in Zoe’s optional tech course for the intermediate/senior level. I am extremely excited to be on this new journey with all of the educators who have graciously provided there names for our benefit. I am excited to learn about the resources that are at our fingertips and I am also looking forward to the advice that you have for us so that we can ensure our practice is effective for our future students. Thanks for the amazing welcome, this provides with me with more confidence to reach out to all of you!


  19. Thank you for the welcome Doug! I am proud to be one of Zoe’s students at Brock. My twitter ID is @LisaBlain2. I am new to twitter, blogging and all other forms of social networking and am excited to learn. Learning and sharing about education from the prospective of both an educator and a student via an online PLN is an amazing place to be!


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