I have been spending quite a bit of time keeping abreast of posts on the ISEnet Ning. (Independent School Educators network Ning. What’s a Ning? According to Wikipedia, Ning is an online platform for people to create their own social networks. You can find out more about Ning on the about page. A number of us Ningers have wondered to one another what it stands for, and turns out that the word simply means “peace” in Chinese. A nice thought for a social network :-).)

Another type of social network is Twitter. Several of my students twitter, and they describe it as a micro-blog because each entry, or tweet, may contain only 140 characters or less. 

What do the Ning and Twitter have to do with each other? An esteemed colleague, who I have only met via various online networks, has created a Twitter account to share the “challenging queries and statements” of Eugene Randolph Smith. I’ll let Peter explain in his own words:

In 1920 the head of the Park School of Baltimore was invited to tell a group of Boston parents about the latest in educational thinking and practice. By the time the evening was over, the parents had decided that Eugene Randolph Smith was the person they needed to hire away from Baltimore to build a new school in Boston.

Smith, a devotee of Dewey and Kilpatrick and a fervent progressive, led Beaver Country Day for 23 years and was an important figure in the Eight-Year Study, which demonstrated the effectiveness of progressive educational methods in preparing students for college.

During his years as head of BCDS, Smith regularly posted challenging queries and statements for his faculty to discuss and dissect, a model of idea-driven professional development that I love. In 1963 Smith, long since retired, collected many of these queries and assertions into Some Challenges to Teachers, which was published by Exposition Press.

In the interest of passing along Smith’s challenges, I have created a Twitter account as “Tweetcher” from which I will be tweeting a daily excerpt from Smith’s book, compressed into 140 characters where necessary.

It turns out that WordPress has recently added a Twitter widget to their stash. Partially to check out this feature, but more so to easily follow along with Peter’s tweets, I have added the widget to the right side bar. Just scroll down to the bottom to see the most recent five challenges. [UPDATED April 29 – I have switched from Peter’s feed to a feed for BrainBits.]

I am curious how many of you have Twitter accounts and would appreciate, please, if you would participate in this poll. Thanks! 



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