Give your quiet students a voice too

In her new book, titled Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain explains how we overlook the value of introverts. She elaborates on NPR:

Introverts are much less often groomed for leadership positions, even though there’s really fascinating research out recently from Adam Grant at [The Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania] finding that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes when their employees are more proactive. They’re more likely to let those employees run with their ideas, whereas an extroverted leader might, almost unwittingly, be more dominant and be putting their own stamp on things, and so those good ideas never come to the fore.

Here is another reason to get your students writing online.

Journal via text messaging during field trip

Last week I took my physics students on a field trip to the Yerkes Observatory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.  This is the forth year I’ve done this trip, and each year I offer the students a variety of assignments to pick from.

This year I added text messaging as one of the assignments.  Students used their cell phone to journal about things they saw while on the trip.

Students send their messages to an account they created at Twitter is a micro-blog that allows you to post messages (up to 140 characters long) from the web or from your cell phone. The site also allows you to follow other people’s posts; this makes Twitter an impressive networking tool. (Note: there are many teachers exchanging ideas on Twitter; you can find me at:

Twitter on field trip

I took advantage of the social networking side of Twitter by setting up an account that followed all my students as they posted messages during the trip.  The students who couldn’t go on the trip were able to watch their classmates add messages in real time.

Here is a sample of the messages posted by my students.

You should keep a few things in mind if you plan to use Twitter.

  • Students may incur fees when texting from a cell phone. My assignment wasn’t required; student could pick another assignment if they didn’t wish to send text messages.
  • Twitter is blocked at many schools.  My students had to set up their accounts at home.
  • Make sure your students set up and test the service. I had all my students get things working before the trip.
  • As always, remind your students to not disclose personal information online. For example, all my students used fake names for their username at Twitter.

Dear Jaiku Letter: It’s not you, it’s me

Jaiku Break upDear Jaiku,

I think we’ve both known for some time now that things are just not working out. In the beginning, everything was going great. I loved the way you would listen to my other feeds and let me make comments. And the icons were amaaazing! But I need more than just a quick icon here and there.

You spend most of your time talking about your big plans while all my friends are moving on with their lives. I just can’t do this any longer. I think it’s time we see other people.

We don’t have to call it quits completely. I’ll still keep your gadget on my iGoogle page. Maybe we can just be friends and take some time to figure things out. I hope you understand.

Yours Always,

Dale Basler