Recently, I decided to take this courageous attitude on twitter. Twitter is a powerful social media tool because you are able to follow and learn from some very famous and influential people. Currently, my Grade 9 Science Class is studying water quality, and we watched the following episode from the Canadian Television Series, CBC Marketplace.
After watching this investigative report on water filtration systems, my class had many unanswered questions. So I decided to tweet the host of the episode, Tom Harrington (@cbctom) and invite him to speak to my class about the episode and see if he would field some of our questions via Skype. And, much to my surprise, as I know media personal are very busy people, Tom responding to my tweet within minutes. You can read our dialog below.
The interview with Tom Harrington was very informative. You can view some of the interview here. Mr. Harrington spoke about how investigative journalists have the motto, “we afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted.” In other words, he feels he has a responsibility to speak for Canadians who don’t often have a voice in regard to consumer issues. Some of the student questions he addressed were: “What do you like best about your investigative journalist position with CBC?” and “How has being an investigative journalist changed your view of Canada?”
Tom Harrington, like Wayne Gretzky and other great Canadian’s, showed us the importance of going beyond our comfort zone.
Implications for Educators
With a multitude of people now using twitter the possibilities of extending the walls of your classroom are endless. Most celebrities/famous people have websites that will list their twitter account. A teacher could tweet;
1. the author of a book you are reading in class
2. the singer/songwriter/composer of song you are doing in music
3. a person that won a Noble Prize in science
4. the inventor of a device or machine
5. a famous artist or sculptor for art class
6. a professor who is doing research on a topic you are studying
7. an actor or screenwriter for drama class
8. a famous athlete for PE class
My advice when making contact with these people is to keep it simple. In truth most celebrities want to help out but they truly are busy. So, invite them for an informal low-key event. Once you have made initial contact, try and communicate more complicated details like time of interview, Skype Names, and other logistics by email. Try not to involve large groups like the entire school, as this will formalize the event and involve more time for both you and the celebrity. My Skype session with Tom Harrington will only be 30 minutes long in my own classroom with approximately 40 of my Grade 9 Science Students. I will use my school laptop, projector, Skype and Skype recording software like MP3 or Pamela. Be sure to ask the person you are interviewing for permission to record your Skype session.
So, what are you waiting for, take that shot! Get out there and start tweeting!