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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.

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Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

gtchat 10162015 Gifted Advocacy

Longtime #gtchat contributor Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia led off this week’s chat by explaining, “Whenever anyone speaks up to increase awareness or explain issues, they are acting as an advocate.Parent groups can advocate by increasing information and awareness by guest speaker sessions and seminars.” Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children added, “Parents, educators and those in related professions [such as] health, mental health and extended family as well as legislators, too, [can act as advocates].” Angie French, GT teacher in Texas reminded us, “Remember, GT kids can advocate for each other too. As adults, we need to equip them with info and skills.” Jonathan Bolding, GT middle school teacher in Tennessee, explained advocacy strategies, “Parents can write op eds; groups can organize and meet with their local Policymakers; attend board meetings.” Amber Styles, Communications and Scholarship Recruitment Coordinator at the Jack Kemp Cooke Foundation, continued by saying, “Parents know their children best, but teachers and education leaders are important partners in advocacy.” Indeed, our entire chat focused on those who advocate and why they do so for gifted children.

We next considered why gifted students need special education and the responsibilities schools have for educating ALL students. The general consensus was that all students have a right to learn something new everyday; AYP [Annual Yearly Progress] applies to every student. Mary Chancellor, teacher in Texas, pointed out, “Gifted students often are reluctant to speak up in heterogeneous classrooms since classmates don’t always “get” what they’re saying.They may think of their GT classrooms as their safe place.”

How do we get beyond charges of elitism when advocating for gifted education? Sports metaphors are applicable; benefits accorded top athletes should be granted to our top scholars as well. Celi Trépanier, author and former public school teacher, told us, “We need to keep putting information about gifted children out into the public and keep advocating–never give up.”

Next we turned our attention to what should be the primary focus of gifted advocacy to better serve gifted children. Advocates need to seek out ‘best fit’ between gifted students and available programs or proposed programs. Tracy Fisher, TAGT Board of Directors member, believes, “focus should be on the importance of EVERY child having a MINIMUM of a year of growth in a year.”

Finally, we considered strategies for advocating for gifted education; effectively getting the message out. Remaining calm and professional while negotiating with school personnel is paramount to effective advocacy. Karen Mensing, elementary teacher in Arizona, suggested, “People sometimes seem to understand how essential gifted services are when it’s compared to special education.” Tracy Fisher said of her school district in Coppell, Texas, “WE STARTED A “tier services” structure two years ago. Now, every GT Learner (beginning in elementary) will have an IEP.” The moderator added, “Self-advocacy on the part of older gifted students often results in beneficial outcomes and parents should learn the language of educators; talk the talk! ” Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Kids Guide at About.com, said, “My parent group used to put on talks by experts, open to the public; went to the county fair; and left brochures at libraries.” Mary Phillips, teacher in Michigan, suggested, “Frame the conversation around who might best benefit from gifted/talented offerings, not who “deserves” it most.”

“Final thoughts: I hope we are never too discouraged or feel advocacy is hopeless. We have a mountain to move, but we can together.” ~ Celi Trépanier

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 Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays Noon NZDT/10 AM AEDT 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:

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education

RED ALERT: Gifted Education is a Civil Rights Issue

Parent Support & Advocacy: What Works!

Answering The Classic Criticism of “Are Gifted Programs “Elitist”?”

10 Phrases to Defuse Tensions at IEP (&GIEP) Meetings

Preaching to the Choir: Thinking about Gifted Advocacy

Why Gifted Students Still Need Gifted Education!

Needed: Parent Advocacy

Social Networking – Impacting the World of Gifted Education

Sprite’s Site De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes 9: One Size Shoe Cover System

Innreach’s Blog: Advocacy & 21st Globalness

Gifted Advocacy: What Not to Do

Raise Your Voice for Gifted Kids

GT Carpe Diem (pdf)

Educational Advocacy for Gifted Students 

How to Support Your Exceptionally Able Child at Home and at School (Slideshare)

Care & Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers & Parent Advocates (pdf)

Empowering Gifted Minds: Educational Advocacy That Works (Amazon)

The Blame Game! Are School Problems the Kids’ Fault?

How Schools Can Offset the “Asian Advantage” for Other Kids, Too

NAGC’s Advocacy Toolkit

The Problem with “Formative Assessment Tools” (part 2 of 2)

International Gifted Advocacy Organizations and Best Practice

Leslie Graves’ Livebinder “Gifted Advocacy”

Advocate for High-Ability Learners

Hoagies Gifted: Gifted Advocacy

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

Increasing Identification of Gifted Learners from Diverse Backgrounds

PEGY Profoundly and Exceptionally Gifted Youth: Advocacy

Closing the Excellence Gap

Hold on – Javits Works

Sprite’s Site: Asking for Help – A Guest Expert Panel Q&A Session

Sprite’s Site: Advocacy – Just ask Sprite and Company

Inside the Mind of Gifted Middle School Students

Advocating for Gifted Programs in Your Local Schools

Advocate for Your Child

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

6 Key Issues for the Gifted Community

 

gtchat 6 Key Issues 03202015

 

Six key issues for the gifted community were discussed at this week’s #gtchat. Each question referenced an issue. They were:

  • What does it mean to be gifted?
  • What is different about parenting a gifted child?
  • How does the very nature of HG/PG individuals separate them from others?
  • How do we help gifted students learn what they want to do; not just what others think they should do?
  • How do we facilitate social skills and leadership development in gifted students?
  • How can advocates positively affect others’ understanding & acceptance of gifted children’s needs?

Arguably, any one of these could have been the topic of an hour chat. It was soon evident a few of the questions evoked strong opinions from some of the participants, but all voices were heard.

What does it mean to be gifted? The meaning of gifted is one issue that often elicits strong emotions. As pointed out by the moderator, “Gifted means feeling the impact of so many different definitions in every facet of life – school, home and society at large.” The way in which people interpret what gifted means can affect accommodations for gifted students in school, treatment by age-peers, how parents advocate for their child, the types of programs offered by schools, and how society responds to its most highly- abled citizens. For these reasons, many people believed strongly in the need to change the term or eliminate the idea altogether.

What is different about parenting a gifted child? Parenting gifted children is not as easy as some might think. The parents at this chat made it clear that the need for guidance in the early years is so important, yet difficult to find; especially prior to identification. The Internet has certainly made the process easier in recent years, but it’s still difficult to find answers when you’re so involved in raising an intense child. Parents of gifted children often experience isolation from other parents due to others’ lack of understanding, lack of acceptance, and myths.

How do we help gifted students learn what they want to do; not just what others think they should do? It was clear from our discussion that highly and profoundly gifted children experience life in a very different and unique way. “Intensity” was an oft repeated response to this question. These are those with IQs more than 4+ above standard deviations. A major difficulty for these kids is finding peers; especially if they are restricted in age-based education systems. They are often misunderstood by age-peers as well as adults.

It’s imperative to understand that gifted students need supportive services to address complexities and sensitivities. Counselors, therapists, and psychologists who work with gifted students need to be educated in the gifted field to avoid misdiagnosis. It should be recognized that gifted students need resources and guidance in planning for education, career and life choices

How do we facilitate social skills and leadership development in gifted students? Teachers can learn how to help these students to develop social skills and inspire leadership. All adults working with gifted students need to realize that a primary need in life is to belong. Parents, teachers, counselors … need to recognize that values, ethics, integrity are integral part of leadership.

How can advocates positively affect others’ understanding & acceptance of gifted children’s needs? It is essential to keep advocacy on a positive course. Advocates need to be knowledgeable about giftedness and skills needed to be positive influences in gifted children’s lives. They should be able to identify issues, needs, resources, educational laws, and strategies. Advocates must also support the need for gifted students to develop self-advocacy skills.

A full transcript of this chat can be found on Storify.

 Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:

“Guidance & Counseling for the Gifted”

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Amazon)

Competing with Myths about Social & Emotional Development of Gifted Students

What is a Gifted Child?

What is Gifted?

Web Resources for Parents

Suggested Reading for Parents

FAQs about Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children

The Mysterious Case of Extreme Giftedness

Is It a Cheetah?

All Children are Gifted

A Handbook for Counseling the Gifted & Talented (pdf)

Counseling, Multiple Exceptionality, and Psychological Issues

The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook (Amazon)

The Professional School Counselor & Gifted & Talented Student Programs (pdf)

“Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship

Developing Leadership Skills in Young Gifted Students (pdf)

Leadership Development and Gifted Students (pdf)

Authentic Character Development – Beyond Nature and Nurture

15 DOs and DON’Ts of Advocacy

Effective Advocacy

Effective Advocates (pdf)

Advocating for Appropriate Education for Your Child (pdf)

Hijacking Your Child’s Education: Jane Andraka at TEDxQUT

 

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad and the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

What’s the point of gifted advocacy? This is the question we tried to answer. Too many advocates these days seem to be focusing on everything except the gifted child and their ‘right’ to an appropriate education. Of all groups studied in today’s classrooms, the identified gifted learner is making the least progress. Having topped out on most standardized tests, what will make the difference in the life of these kids? A full transcript may be found here.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented on Twitter happens weekly on Fridays at 7PM ET/6PM CT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and 11.00 in Australia (ET) on Saturdays. Polls for topic selection are posted on Tuesdays and the link is posted by @gtchatmod on Twitter. Please join us!

Links:

Why Geniuses Don’t Need Gifted Education” 

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education” via Gifted Exchange

Why Gifted Students Still Need Gifted Education!!” via @davis_joy 

RED ALERT: Gifted Education is a Civil Rights Issue” via @DeborahMersino

Preaching to the Choir: Thinking About Gifted Advocacy” from Crushing Tall Poppies

Professor James J Gallagher: “Advocacy for Gifted Education a National Priority

Paradise Valley USD in AZ Gifted Program with Self-contained Classrooms.

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

Needed: Parent Advocacy

Social Networking – Impacting the World of Gifted Education

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