Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Use Twitter to Advocate for Gifted Education

gtchat 03222016 Advocate with Twitter

 

This week, #gtchat celebrated 4 years of support from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Pictured below is the staff of TAGT and our Advisory Board. I am so thankful for the support they give me each and every week. #gtchat simply would not be possible without it. They are always a phone call or email away.

 

gtchat Thanks TAGT Staff

Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented Staff

 

gtchat Advisory Board 2016

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT Advisory Board

 

During the TAGT 2015 in December, the question came up in one of my sessions, “How can we use Twitter to advocate for gifted education?” This led to the topic for this week’s #gtchat. Although I am admittedly biased, I believe Twitter is the best form of social media to use for advocacy. It is concise; to the point; and without the ‘drama’ of other platforms. As pointed out by #gtchat Advisor, Lisa Van Gemert, “Twitter is less susceptible to the echo chamber that you get in Facebook.” Twitter encourages and facilitates creation of communities with shared interests, desires, end goals. (Putnam) Twitter chats with a recognizable and unique hashtag promote a continuing conversation over time. Using appropriate hashtags wisely allows advocates to reach beyond the ‘choir’; outside the box.

“Twitter is less susceptible to the echo chamber that you get in Facebook.”

~ Lisa Van Gemert, the Gifted Guru

Advocacy via Twitter can be accomplished by retweeting, hashtagging and liking tweets. One can use Twitter to identify gifted education advocates or organizations and build relationships by ‘following’; using DMs; and adding to lists.  The strategic success of advocacy via Twitter requires a fluid and an evolving approach to using social media. Over time, other forms of social media may be used to supplement the reach of Twitter by tapping audience preferences.

“Twitter brings a much wider conversation; other social media can become silos.” ~ Dr. Brian Housand

How can gifted organizations use Twitter to advocate for gifted education/children & benefit their members? As the quote below reminds us, on Twitter organizations can simultaneously provide information, foster involvement and promote advocacy. (Lovejoy and Saxton) must commit to a

gtchat Organizations Information

long-term presence on social media; specifically Twitter and eschew ‘quick result’ strategies. Twitter provides conduit to reaching existing supporters and potential audiences; i.e., educators needing gifted classroom strategies. The ‘community’ paradigm can extend to fostering interaction between organizations for the greater good. Twitter can be used to forge an authentic voice; replicate print and web communications; and as a conversational tool. Organizations can also use Twitter to share information on upcoming conferences, webinars, and chats; always using hashtags to widen reach.

gtchat Tweet Smart

Parents, too, can use Twitter to advocate for gifted children and their education. Parents meeting on Twitter can facilitate in real life meetings for kids and their peers. By Participating in Twitter chats related to gifted education and gifted students, they are able to affirm positive messages about these kids. In several states, parents along with advocates have combined forces to use Twitter to effectively appeal to politicians considering gifted education legislation. Tracy Fisher, #gtchat Advisor, told us, “Part of advocating is LEARNING! They can lurk, ask experts for info, etc.”

“It is easy to share with several groups of people by using multiple hashtags.” ~ Tyler Clark, Executive Assistant of the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children

Twitter is often used at gifted conferences as a backchannel for attendees as well as presenters. It is used to initially promote and raise awareness about upcoming conferences. Then, Conference attendees can use conference-specific hashtags to tweet from sessions. Presenters use Twitter to connect with their audience and get immediate feedback during sessions. It’s even a great way to plan Tweet-ups at the conferences!

“Commentary tweets and special twitter sessions from conferences can give people a vicarious feeling of attending.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources & Sprite’s Site

 

“A conference can encourage social media participation before and during the conference; including all!” Carolyn K., Hoagies Gifted

Finally, we discussed how to  use Twitter to connect with peers and colleagues to advocate for gifted issues. Gifted advocates can connect with leaders in the field in real-time to tweet issues important to all. It can be used to acknowledge accomplishments within the gifted community; announce new books; and link to relevant blog posts. Users can encourage followers to connect by tagging them in tweets and graphics. It’s an excellent way to build communities of like-minded advocates. A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  Noon  NZST/110.00 AEST/1.00 UK (Subject to change due to Daylight Savings Time). to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Cybraryman’s Educational Websites Page

Sprite’s Site: The Twitter Stream

gtchat Sprites Site Twitter Stream

Cybraryman’s Educational Sites: Edcamps, Teach Meets and Conferences

Sprite’s Site: Global GT Chat on Twitter

gtchat Sprites Site GT Chat on Twitter

Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy

How Organizations Use Social Media: Engaging the Public

Tweet, Tweet! Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

8 Tips for Effectively Using Social Media for Social Change

Cases on Strategic Social Media Utilization in the Nonprofit Sector (Amazon)

Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change (Amazon)

Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges & Opportunities of Social Media (pdf 2010)

Social Media Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations (pdf)

Information, Community & Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media (Prezi)

Dialogic Connections (Shaw) (pdf)

Chirping for Charity: How U.S. Nonprofits are Using Twitter to Foster Dialogic Communication (pdf)

 

Photos courtesy of morgueFile , Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain , Jo Freitag

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Bridging the Excellence Gap with Guest, Dr. Jonathan Plucker

gtchat 03152016 Excellence Gap

 

This week, we welcomed Dr. Jonathan Plucker to #gtchat to discuss the Excellence Gap and what could be done to impede its growth. Although the focus of the chat was on the U.S., it was noted that recent data shows that this phenomenon is unfortunately occurring in other countries as well.

The Excellence Gap refers to differences in advanced achievement between groups of students; usually focusing on gaps in underperforming groups based on race, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Individuals in all demographic groups have the potential to achieve at advanced levels, but identification is key. Competency must be addressed at every level of achievement; not just the minimum level.

According to Dr. Plucker, “Many different factors have caused the existence and persistence of large excellence gaps including poverty, discrimination, poor access to quality education, psycho-social barriers, among others.”  Excellence gaps can occur due to inadequate funding and resources in schools serving low income and disadvantaged minority communities; inadequate training for teachers working with underperforming subgroups of students; and because of attitudes about high achievement potential of low-income and minority students.

Dr. Plucker pointed out, “It is important to close the Achievement Gap for two reasons: to improve the lives of gifted poor and minority students and to provide our economy and culture with the talent it needs.” According to the NAGC, “Reducing and eliminating excellence gaps is an issue of equity, social justice, economic advancement, and national security. Increasing the number of students realizing their full potential puts the nation back on the path to global leadership. A 5 percent reduction in the 4th gr math excellence gap would increase performance at advanced levels by 80,000 students.”

How do we address and overcome the challenges presented by excellence gaps? Dr. Plucker told us, “Scott Peters and I just finished book on this. Our “Big 6” strategies include: 1) realistic opportunities, 2) universal testing and local norms, 3) ability grouping, 4) better educator preparation and support, 5) improved K-12 accountability systems with adaptive testing, and 6) psycho-social interventions with college students.”

“Relentlessly respect the gifted student’s right to learn something new every day!”   ~ Jeanne Bernish

We then turned out attention to what effect the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) might have on closing the Excellence Gap. “We’re not sure yet, as the regulations have yet to be developed; but it COULD mean more adaptive testing and better data reporting. ESSA throws it back to the states, but we need to keep the pressure on at the state level. It cracks the door, but we have to open it,” said Dr. Plucker.

Where do we go from here? What steps should be taken to ensure the momentum continues to close the Excellence Gap? “Keep Excellence Gap data in front of policymakers. Get needs of advanced students into teacher and administrator prep. Get excellence into your state accountability system,” Dr. Plucker told us. Advocates must be vigilant that local LEAs adhere to new rules in ESSA and continue to raise awareness of inequities in educational opportunities for all students.  Jeanne Bernish, Founder of Heather Hill Media, made the excellent point that we should “relentlessly respect the gifted student’s right to learn something new every day!”

“Data are depressing, but we should be energized. We firmly grasp the problem and policymakers are coming around. Full speed ahead!”                                                              ~ Dr. Jonathan Plucker

A transcript a may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (13.00) NZDT/Noon (11.00) AEDT/Midnight UK (Subject to change due to Daylight Savings Time). to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

NAGC Position Statement: Addressing Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education (pdf)

Progress Lags in High School, Especially for Advanced Achievers

‘Excellence Gap’ Robs Talented Students of Their Potential

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: Report Card of State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students (pdf)

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and CLASS Coalition Host 2nd “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit http://goo.gl/KKYBTm

Top 10 Moments of 2016 “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit

Finding Teachers Who Can Stimulate High Achievers (pdf)

Center for Evaluation & Education Policy – Excellence Gap 2012

Connecticut Association for the Gifted – Excellence Gap

UK:  Why Isn’t Pupil Premium Closing Excellence Gaps?

Why Minorities Can’t Be Left Out of Gifted and Talented Programs

How Family Background Influences Student Achievement

Advocating for High-Achievers

Excellence Gaps: Role of Translational Research Implementing Large Scale Educational Change (Video)

Dr. @JonathanPlucker ‘s Website

“Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence”

“Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps & America’s Persistent Talent Underclass”  (pdf)

Interview with Jonathan Plucker on Talent on the Sidelines (podcast)

Tackling Inequality in Gifted-and-Talented Programs

Questions and Answers about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (pdf)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Does Changing the ‘Gifted’ Label Change Anything?

gtchat 03082016 Gifted Label

 

“We need the word until we, as a culture, can see the distinct and varied permutations of human intellectual difference without feeling fear, threat, or envy for those whom the word “gifted” fits.” ~ Pamela Price

 

In education, labels are used as the basis for requesting appropriate programs, challenges, enrichment, and accommodations. Without labels, services may not be offered. According to Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia, “Labels help to determine the educational, counselling and parenting provisions that are needed.” Alex Clough, a school counselor, added, “Labels are protective, allowing school staff to plan appropriately for students.” Gail Post, a clinical psychologist, explained, “A label, term, diagnosis, etc. can be tested, validated, or disproven.” Kathleen Eveleigh, a K-5 gifted specialist in Chapel Hill, N.C., also told us ” Gifted students have special social and emotional needs that regular education teachers may not know about. The label helps us advocate.”

 

gtchat Notion Better Than

 

Unfortunately, the ‘gifted’ label has become divisive. Sarah Smith, a gifted education teacher said, “I struggle with the label because some think it to be a synonym for perfectly behaved or high achieving or motivated,etc.” Gifted advocates need to do a better job at educating the general public about the true nature of giftedness. Different areas of the U.S. and other countries use terms such as high ability, AIG (Academically and Intellectually), or high potential. Alternatives exist to make the idea of ‘ability’ more palatable to the general public.

 

gtchat Gifted Feel Different

In the end, will it make any difference if we change the label? Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, made an important point, “Once you’ve stopped labeling something, it’s easy to pretend it doesn’t exist.” Carolyn of Hoagies Gifted added, “changing label will change little, but confuse many. Not worthwhile.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Why We Need the Gifted Label

Giftedness as a Social Construct Does Giftedness Really Exist?

Giftedness: The Word That Dare Not Speak Its Name?

Again With the “All Children Are Gifted” Talk

Time to Ditch ‘Gifted’ Label? Every Child Should Be Challenged in School

Sprite’s Site ~ GT Chat: Labels: Good, Bad, or Simply Wrong

Why Do We Need To Define Giftedness?

Let Me Tell You about…Why Gifted Identification Matters

Why the Word “Gifted” Still Matters

Why Having a “Gifted” Label Matters to Me

Why Identifying High Intelligence Might Change Everything

Sprite’s Site ~ Giftedness: Why Does It Matter?

Giftedness: Why does it Matter?

Giftedness: Why it Matters

My Kid is Gifted (YES, I’m that Mom)

Hoagies’ Blog Hop May 2014: The “G” Word “Gifted”

The Gift of Giftedness? A Closer Look at How Labeling Influences Social and Academic Self-Concept in Highly Capable Learners (pdf)

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop – Giftedness: Why It Matters

Sprite’s Site: The G Word

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Enrichment for Gifted Students

gtchat 03012016 Enrichment

 

While enrichment alone is not gifted education, gifted students can benefit from it; both in and out of school. Enrichment can strengthen current skills and interests as well as allow students to explore new subject areas. They benefit from the camaraderie experienced when learning with like-minded peers.  When being with others with similar talents and interests, long lasting friendships often develop. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources explained, “Enrichment can give students experiences and learning that is different -deeper, broader, higher level than the regular curriculum.” Lisa Pagano, Gifted Education Specialist in North Carolina, added, “Enrichment can provide higher level opportunities for students to interact with content.”

“Enrichment” allows time for self-soothing in sensory friendly spaces, mentors and social-emotional development.” ~ Bob Yamtich

Extenuating circumstances may make it difficult for all schools to provide adequate resources for enrichment. Even if enrichment is provided by the school, parents may still want to provide additional enrichment for their children.

Teachers can help parents and families determine the best enrichment opportunities for students. They can suggest specialized topics not typically covered in the regular classroom. Many teachers have a list of programs and academic competitions available in the local area. Students can learn skills such as playing chess in school; then compete in tournaments outside of school.  Some schools use academic competition practice as enrichment activities in school; then take students to competitions.

What constitutes outstanding enrichment for gifted students? Enrichment for academically talented students should be challenging and include research-driven courses. It should expose students to new areas of interest which open their minds and developed a new found love for learning. Enrichment in a relaxed and supportive environment that values creativity and intelligence constitutes outstanding enrichment. Clinical Psychologist Gail Post of Gifted Challenges described outstanding enrichment as, ” What expands and nurtures their passions and strengths; enhances creativity; involves higher level thinking.” Hope Scallan, Enrichment Coordinator at Round Rock ISD in Texas, told us, “Outstanding enrichment has some amount of voice and choice, but also creates a positive environment with highly self-motivated students.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Curriculum Enrichment Resources 

Online Math: Options for Advanced Learners

Enrichment Opportunities for Gifted Students in North Carolina (pdf)

Puerto Rico: After-school Enrichment Program for Gifted & Talented Students

Great Books Summer Program

The Tres Columnae Project

Exploring Tomorrow Institute of Meaningful Instruction

Play With Purpose

Disclaimer: Links provided during this chat or in this blog post do not imply an endorsement of any particular program.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain 

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