Friday, January 20, 2012

Twitter tale - Consultation, Minister Abbott style

There's been some online discussion about Minister Abbott's tweet up...seems he wasn't actually doing the typing...although he was apparently in the room and directing the typist.

Here are a few comments after the news was leaked:

Randy White
  Funny how George Abbots wouldn't even twitter with us over his . Says alot about govt
Heidi Hass Gable
 Deliberate misinterpretation of the situation? How does dictating mean he didn't participate? 

And this one made me laugh:

Jeremy Reid
Having someone tweet for you is like lip syncing at a live concert
But perhaps more interesting than who was at the keyboard, is who Mr. Abbott (or whomever it was deciding) chose to respond to.

A teacher friend of mine tallied the interactions with @georgeabbottbc and reported his findings:

For the second time this year, the BC Minister of Education had a meeting today online using Twitter to discuss the New BC Education Plan. While it seems like a simple way to actually ask him questions it has, for the second time, proven itself to be an exercise in futility for teachers and more of a Public Relations exercise for the Minister. In the end, Minister Abbott spent an hour online, which seems like a lot but in reality, the conversation was exclusive as to people he actually had a dialogue with. Looking at the numbers, we see that he responded to 6 principals, 5 parents, one Assessment Workshop facilitator, 2 university professors, one community school advocate, 2 unknown people with no discernable background or information who signed up on Twitter today and tweeted (as cheerleaders) for the first time during the meeting, one private school teacher, 2 companies that support the BCED Plan, 3 distributed learning teachers, one learning assistance teacher, and one grade 3 teacher.

This does not reflect the actual number of teachers who went online today to attempt to discuss the BCED Plan with the Minister. Several teachers did go on Twitter and did ask lots of good and relevant questions. There was a fair amount of dialogue among the teachers and some of the people I mentioned above, it just did not involve the Minister of Education for the most part.


  1. I participate in the twitter chat and was happy with his responses to me. I had several questions answered.

    1. I now have a clearer understanding of what is meant by personalized learning - something similar to project based learning, which I already do in my classroom. Many people have implied that Personalized Learning = Distributed Learning but that is not necessarily the case.

    2. Up until now, I did not understand what was meant by 'competencies' when Abbott refers to them on the Edplan website or on twitter, and I was concerned that it mean going back to mastery based learning with a focus on rigid skill levels to be met. When I asked him if that's what it meant, he responded "No, I'm referring to critical thinking, creative thinking + innovation, communication, social + emotional learning"

    However he did not respond when I told him that class size is an issue and that I struggle w/helping them all - the organizational structure of many children doing many things is a challenge.

    Nor did he respond to my question when I asked Why is it that we teachers only heard about the #bcedplan in the media? Why were we not involved in the grassroots planning?

    However, the biggest value I got out of the twitter chat was being able to discuss the issues with other teachers and administrators.

  2. Here's our convo:

    How will #bcedplan integrate Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy into mainstream classrooms?

    Many teachers say they wish they know more about Aboriginal education. Will #bcedplan account for this knowledge gap in the teaching populat
    @starleigh_grass I share your view. We've got some gr8 new BC history in this area i.e. Dr John Lutz #bcedplan

    @georgeabbottbc So how, then will #bced plan address the lack of knowledge about Aboriginal education among the teaching force?

    *Insert silence here*
    An Indigenous teacher who just completed her Masters:

    @starleigh_grass ...who is Dr. John Lutz?


    Post game analysis:

    1) It's odd that he used gr8 instead of great when he still had 30 characters to work with. As an English teacher I now want to ask him what his opinion is on the importance of conventions and the use of MSN-speak in written work.
    2) He didn't answer the question.
    3) I'm sure Dr. Lutz does fine work, but it was a somewhat obscure reference. I think it's very white male to reference another white male when talking about the marginalization of Indigenous knowledge.
    4) This conversation pretty much lived up to my expectations.