Thursday, 11 December 2014

Dear Santa

It's been another busy year! Have I been "good"? Well, that's always open to interpretation, as this T-shirt reminds us -

However I can tell you that I've enjoyed being more active on Twitter this year than I was in the previous three years after I created a Twitter handle and had absolutely no idea why, or how I was meant to use it. Somehow I think I just assumed that creating a social media presence would mean that I was...... well..... "present", somewhere....... socially. However it wasn't like that Santa. In the early days, I didn't Tweet, no-one followed me and I made very limited inroads into working out who / which organisations I should be following.

Oh sure, Twitter was very helpful, by sending me intermittent emails, telling me that so-and-so "had tweets for me", and suggesting Twitter handles that I should follow, using clever algorithms derived from my ghost-like activity on the platform.

But you see, Santa, I just. didn't. get it. Twitter that is - why would I tweet? (Who was listening?). What would I tweet about? (I am really only interested in the inner-most thoughts and daily routines of my nearest and dearest and had seen some truly mind-boggling over-sharing via Facebook). And who would want to interact with me via this medium? (I know who I know, but I don't know who I don't know). Total confusion and bewilderment.

It turns out Santa, that what I needed was some Direct Instruction. I know, I know, that's not popular anymore, and you of all people know how fashions and fads come and go. However I was fortunate to find Professor Dorothy Bishop's helpful blogpost A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic which I sat down and digested in full, and then I understood enough of the why, what and how of Twitter to really get into it. 

A year on, Santa, I find myself feeling much more connected with an international community that shares my interests - though not always of course my perspectives, which is just fine, and is often quite informative in its own way. 

I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but Santa I do mind when people reject good science in favour of propping up an ideological position that entrenches disadvantage for children who are not even at the developmental starting line when they commence school. 

So Santa - I'm wondering if you could pop a copy of the latest edition of the Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities into the sacks of academics all around the world (but especially in Australia) who teach our next generation of primary school teachers? The paper entitled 

What teachers don't know and why they aren't learning it: addressing the need for content and pedagogy in teacher education by Louisa Moats is this year's must-have for all teacher educators.

Santa I think this could be a wonderful gift to the children of the world, and who knows, your job might be made easier too, because you'll receive such well-composed letters in future years! Though some of them are already pretty cute, as you'd have to agree.

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