Twitter and me


@twopcharts tweeted me today saying it’s my 4th anniversary on Twitter.  I don’t really keep track of such things but the tiny bit of maths geek in me got lured by the promise of stats in the site, of which the above is just a fraction.  Anyway, what the stats do not show is that most of my Twitter activity happened in the last 12 months or so. The latter is important to state because it means that Twitter for me is only as good as the people I connect with – it is social media after all.  Having more people to interact with makes it far more fun, engaging, enlightening, challenging, interesting, so on and so forth.

It is wonderful that today, of all days, I get to chat to @lasic about Twitter and social media, in general.  It is a pretty good snapshot of how I view Twitter; on my 4th anniversary – here’s a Storify this conversation.

And finally, I read @ChrisWejr‘s post: Social Media and Education: who is it really about? I quote from my comment there,

Today I celebrate my 4th year in Twitter and looking back, I’ve gained sooooo much from it. People do come and go, and that’s fine….it has to be because that’s life. What I can do, and actually do, is try to nurture what I can – the people I gravitate to. It’s one great big, organic narrative really and I love how stories get woven and intertwine.

Many more conversations happened today – stories woven and intertwined.  I have to say, this has been a great way to celebrate a Twitter anniversary!





On social networks

PLN (Professional / Personal Learning Network) seems to be a big thing in the education community. I’ve responded to requests to answer what it is and why it is important, especially in the past few weeks. Usually, it’s over on Twitter with some special hashtag. Occasionally, it’s for blog posts (re: I <3 Twitter) or some web tool like linoit or Google docs.

I respond to such requests because having a PLN is important to me: the I <3 Twitter post explains why. When Dr Alec Couros tweeted out a request for an unKeynote, I thought I’d do it.

The link goes to a blog post that outlines the request in more detail, including options for submissions; in true form, varied. I decided to make a video because:

  1. I’m on school holidays and have the time,
  2. I wanted to improve my iMovie skills,
  3. I’ve not responded via  a video before,
  4. I like the idea of “social networks“, and
  5. so I can say I’ve made a video for both Alec and George (apropos: Playing in Public) – just realised both videos are for Keynotes! Ha!

I’ve decided that the term Social Network appeals to me more than PLN does (either in its Professional or Personal variant). It is more meaningful and relevant….to me, anyway. I could harp on about how my networks help me learn and grow but sometimes, it really is just for the sheer joy of “being with” – the social bit!

It’s a very short video (less than a minute) and tailored to meet Alec’s request but I think encapsulates much of what I want to say. Who knew I could be concise? I think I need to explore movies more as a form of self-expression! Granted, the movie would make more sense if you read the I <3 Twitter post. 😉

I’m very happy that the video somehow captures the many people in my various social networks (tip: play “I spy”).

Here it is:

A video created for Dr Alec Couros for his PLE keynote:

It attempts to answer the question: Why do social networks matter in teaching and learning?

This is my personal take on it, ie a personal response, one that applies to me specifically…and hopefully, it is universal.

I love my social networks

All up, I met all the “goals” listed above such that, even if Alec doesn’t use it, I’m happy to have done this video!

P.s. If you’re reading this post, please be social and leave a comment! 🙂

Technical Info

(for those who may be curious):

The movie started off as an iMovie trailer – really nifty with a ready-made storyboard, title, effects and even soundtrack. Then it was converted into an iMovie project (File>Convert to Project) for more editing options including more varied media to include (iMovie trailers only allows video clips), i.e. photos, text, sounds.

For the screen grabs, I used QuickTime (File>New Screen Recording). Where I was too slow scrolling at the time of recording, I managed to fix via fast-forwarding the clip in iMovie.

I <3 Twitter

This is a post I’ve promised to write for @ClareFrogatt, an inspirational educator and individual. It’s taken me a long time to write because (a) I have been busy…still am and (b) I didn’t quite know how to blog about it….until now.

Over a year ago, I blogged “On Bliss and Passion” exploring these two notions, inspired by Joseph Campbell and  his “Follow your bliss” mantra. In that post I discussed what it means to me to follow my bliss and settled for an alliteration: Create, Challenge and Connect.

Revisiting that post recently gave me a framework to write this Twitter post. See, Twitter has been instrumental in a year of creating, (being) challenged and connecting….nearly everyday. Here are a few examples.


My short Twitter bio, particularly the “frustrated artist” bit, prompted @debhoggoz to tell me about the ArtHouse Sketchbook World Tour 2012 project. At this point, I had not even met Deb. Doing the project turned out to be an amazing learning journey for me, and I got so much out of it, beyond my expectations, including developing my Twitter friendship with @janellewilson. Now, I am still a frustrated artist BUT I can honestly say, I am working at being less frustrated (check out my updated bio).

Read more about my sketchbook project in the companion blog I created, 10minutes. You can also view my sketchbook in the ArtHouse Digital Library. Perhaps the world tour will visit your city and you can view it in real life.

My sketchbook’s catalogue number is 158A.1-6. Please drop me a line on my Guestbook page.


I found out about the Edublogs Teacher Challenge via Twitter, using #ksyb hashtag. I did the #ksyb challenge in 2010, and learned so much about blogging and myself as a blogger. I also met several people who are now firmly part of my PLN. Doing a challenge together is definitely community-building!

George Couros asked me to do a video for one of his keynotes. I really felt challenged and nearly baulked and George convinced me via Twitter. So face up to the challenge I did and this was the result.

Twitter also constantly provides a stream of ideas that challenge me into action such as trying games-based learning and inquiry…. and so I have a go.  A personal favourite was the challenge to find out how to teach empathy which ended with this post on how to teach empathy, my first attempt at crowd-sourcing.

Another personal favourite was a challenge by @whatedsaid to Be Amazing. It was a rare and personal gift.

Often, my thinking is challenged as when @cpaterso questioned why I like ClassDojo, for example. I love that it is not an echo chamber for me.

…and so on and so forth…in fact, many of my blog posts are a result of some seed planted via Twitter.


Twitter is a social media tool, after all, so with it, I connect. For the first few years, I focused on just connecting ideas – drawing inspiration from the people I followed. Last year, I started connecting people and that means engaging in conversation, blurring the boundaries between professional and personal; sharing a bit of who I am outside of my teaching profession helped.

And oh, the people I’ve met!!!!! I am fortunate to be engaging in conversation with some of the most forward-thinking and passionate practitioners. Check out who I follow.

Yesterday was my birthday and my Twitter stream was awash with well wishes, topped off with this groupcard instigated by @townesy77 and @mbennett_edu and signed by people special to me in many ways – 27 definite #ff’s:

@townesy77 @courosa @danhaesler @whartonag@betchaboy @clarindabrown

@wanstad73 @liamdunphy @HenriettaMi@7Mrsjames @jokay @johnqgoh

@mpesce @mesterman @mbennett_edu @MitchSquires @BiancaH80  @pipcleaves

@rolfek @shereej3@simoncrook @Steve_Collis @woojm @EduSum @vivimat78

@sthcrft @heyjudeonline

Really felt the PLN love, a PLN that connects mainly by Twitter. THANK YOU.

Twitter is a great way to connect. I must add, however, that Twitter is not the only way I connect. I have Edmodo, TeachMeets, blogging, Instagram as well as meeting for cuppas. That said,


I really do love Twitter


I love the people I connect with in Twitter.

My tweeps help me follow my bliss. 🙂

Follow Me on Twitter widget

With the #ksyb Teacher Challenge over, there’s been much interest and promotion of using Twitter to build one’s PLN. In one of the #ksyb participants blogs I visited, there was a question on how to create a Follow Me on Twitter widget. I would normally just respond on the comment but thought a post would work better because of potentially (and I mean potentially) bigger readership, ease of access/sharing and I can show html code a lot easier – most blog comments accept html tags and so will not show code.

For all these options, you first have to create a place to embed the necessary html code.

In Edublogs/WordPress, add a text/html widget or in Blogger, add a or html/javascript gadget.

The Simple Way

The simplest widget would be a plain hyperlink. This is how I had it when I first started a year ago.

Copy/Paste the following and change the handle (mine is malynmawby) to your Twitter handle. You can change “me” to your Twitter handle if you like.

<a href=””>Follow me on Twitter</a>

The Graphical Way

This is what I’ve got now (look on the top right) using a site that provides Twitter icons – There are plenty there and I chose the most popular one, not because it was popular but rather that I like it very much. Anyway, you just type in your Twitter handle and copy the embed code. Unfortunately, the default image size is too big for my liking so I scaled it down (changed code are in bold).

<a href=”” title=”Follow me on Twitter”><img src=”” alt=”Twitter Icon” border=”0″ height=”100″/></a>by <a href=’’ title=’Custom Twitter Icon’>Custom Icon</a>

You don’t have to copy the code above if you go direct to If you do copy my code above, then you must remember to change the Twitter handle to yours.

The Creative Individual Way

This is what I’d like to do one day. That is, I’d like to design a Twitter graphic of a bird (maybe I’ll crochet one like @MrsSOnline (see below, isn’t it just adorable?). This combines the ideas behind the two above. This means I have to:

  1. Create a graphic file (take a picture, digital drawing, conjure random shapes in PhotoShop, and the like)
  2. Upload the graphic into my media library
  3. Write up some html code not unlike my Love2Learn Badge widget

So there you have it, a few ways to create a Twitter widget. If you can suggest any more, please write on the comment or maybe post about it and ping back here so I can update mine.

MrsSOnline’s avatar

MrsSOnlines avatar

Addendum: I think it’s a good idea to have a link to your blog on your Twitter profile as well. So even as your blog points to your Twitter feed, vice versa would hold as well. This allows others a chance to get to know you a little bit better and a shortcut to your blog in case you’re not in their RSS Reader. It all helps in keeping the conversations going.

Blog link on Twitter profile

Blog link on Twitter profile

Teacher, be a learner – step out of your comfort zone

It’s serendipitous that the Edublogs Teacher Challenge Activity #6 involves embedding multimedia.


Today I had to present about Twitter, one of the tools in our IT Plate Degustation Menu – an initiative to help teachers integrate technology in teaching and learning. Each tool must be presented in just 5 minutes. It was fortuitous that this session followed a video conference with Will Richardson (I really love his approach – passion, shifts in teaching to match shifts in learning, etc, etc, etc).

I have never recorded my speaking voice before. I have played with audio tools and done mash-ups. I have also done a little bit of recording my singing (in a choir so not solo). BUT, as mentioned, I’ve never done recorded voice-overs. I avoided it.

I thought perhaps that @willrich45 will challenge teachers and will put some out of their comfort zone. I also thought that some teachers are still apprehensive about using social media. I figured then that the best way to emphatize is to step out of my comfort zone as well and do something I’ve never done before.

Ta Da

Before launching this movie, I told my audience (my teacher colleagues) about my little movie, how it was out of my comfort zone to make it (let alone show it), how as teachers we often ask students to do or create things we may never have tried before (think podcasts, blogging, etc) and how important it was to step out of our comfort zone to experience what it’s like to be a student – a learner – and try something new. Here’s the movie (This may not work in Internet Explorer, please try other browsers – thanks for the heads-up, @Kathryn)

Join Twitter (hyperlinked media, how I’ve always done it here in this blog)

and now for the embed….

I cringed the whole time (still am) but I did it. I created a recording and presented it. Teachers were most appreciative. It’s good for them to see that technology integrators also grapple with technology – sometimes because of attitude – and that the process of learning sometimes (often?) involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone.


Much was learned from this little exercise. Personally, I felt really happy to be able to conquer my aversion to recording, at least once. I’m still uncomfortable about it but maybe I’ll do it again….maybe. I am not ready to be in YouTube or TeacherTube

Many did sign up to Twitter after this. If not sign up, then at least express interest.

Some technical info

Images were screenshots (CTRL+shift+4 on my mac – I’m a PC/Microsoft girl, so new to mac)

Audio was recorded via GarageBand – built-in microphone

Movie was made using Adobe Premiere Elements (a tool we use at school so still being teacher as student here)

Final movie was compressed from AVI to m4V via iMovie

I have not used any of the above prior to this project. I’ve also upgraded to Edublogs Pro to have a go at embedding video, get rid of ads, etc. (Read more about the different packages in Edublogs).

This has been a challenge for me in many ways. That I’m even blogging about this (embedding the video even) is a little testament to how this Edublogs Teacher Challenge is helping me grow, not just as a blogger but as a teacher and as a learner..