Everyone’s Invited or You’re Not Having a Party!
After a Twitter exchange with a wide variety of people I began wondering how do we engage with teachers not on Twitter? I, myself, am not a year on the platform yet. I didn’t want to start persuading teachers to join Twitter, but I wanted to share the good CPD that is happening. Far too many times over the past 11 months has a template, resource or idea sparked a whole new direction in my lessons, I wanted to amplify this to those not on Twitter. I began with a blog post explaining how we could use Wakelet to create collections of tweets that can be viewed by those not on Twitter. This led to another Twitter exchange and others of the same mind connecting with me too. I got thinking and remembered the JoyFE collection I made in 2020.
I began visioning the new FE version of this, the images had been an issue in this version and I needed to remove the burden of me being the one updating it. FE staff could add themselves via a simple Google Form and I could do some back end work to make it work. I also decided on generic star images to remove by previous stress! I tested it out with a few friends to start with and it seemed to work but sure enough when I released it into the wider world it began to glitch! I am adding this part to highlight how challenging EdTech can be at times and that even, supposedly, experienced EdTech people like me face challenges with tech, the struggle is real!
So here it is in all its glory with almost 50 FE people on today, the day when I needed to pay to upgrade the license as we had exceeded the free plan!
I have added in filters for subjects. This is a free text option so make sure you scroll all the way through to see the many variations for subjects. This is to reflect the many variations of subjects in FE. As a maths teacher I would want to connect with functional skills maths, GCSE maths, maybe core maths as well as academic skill development staff and more.
The categories function, list the hashtags that people engage with on Twitter. I recognise that Twitter isn’t the only platform but the hashtags remain important to me. My own work on the impact of #JoyFE hashtag changing FE organisations, as well as Diana Tremayne’s thesis on UKFEchat hashtag with the Amplify FE movement and their remixer map, hashtags are a key connector. The brilliant thing about hashtags is that they don’t define you, you can engage with multiple ones! FE Connect also encourages this with a tick box menu of which ones FE staff identify and/or engage with. You can have your foot in many hashtag camps, broad FE ones like #FEconnect itself or subject ones like #FEmaths and everything in between. If hashtags are new for you, there’s a great blog on PDNorth by Sinead and Hollie here where 68% of educators said they chose to engage more with hashtags now in 2021 than in 2020.
But my original aim was to invite educators not on Twitter, what I have described may sound like an extension or a summary of Twitter, but it isn’t. The difference being once you have entered your subject, name, hashtags you can add any website that connects to you. This can be your YouTube channel, your blog, your college website materials. Anything that has ‘www’ at the start can be added. It’s great to see podcasts being added, guest appearances on others podcasts as well as FE educators own. Whilst I have your attention I would love to invite you to listen, guest or even host the FE show on JoyFM, which is a radio station around the hashtag #EveryoneInEducation highlighting that it takes more than just teachers to educate and amplifies the voices of all roles in education.
FE Connect is just a month old and it is already showing the great work of FE people on and off Twitter. Now is the time to share it widely, hence this piece!
You can search for others to connect with, and you can add yourself at https://sites.google.com/view/feconnect, it may still be glitchy, but I hope not!
Add yourself, follow others, reach out, consume content made by FE for FE. Because like I always say, you’re not having a party unless everyone is invited.