To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
embarrassed to confess that now in my 16th
year of publishing pelinks4u, I've
managed to avoid, actually intentionally avoided,
almost any participation in social media.
In 1999 and a much younger person, I was on
the cutting edge of online technology. Facebook's
billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg was only
15 and probably a high school freshman. The
Internet was in its infancy, still difficult
to use, and its value unclear. A few years
earlier, George Graham and his doctoral students
at Virginia Tech conceived of a way to use
the Web to promote physical education and
in 1996 PE Central was launched.
Not long afterwards, I found myself on sabbatical
planning one project but then being distracted
and intrigued by the potential of the Internet.
I saw it first as a way to link my college
students with information they could use to
improve their teaching skills. This idea then
morphed into a newsletter sharing links, news,
and opinions. Remarkably - at least in reflection
- pelinks4u began as a weekly publication
and continued that way until sanity set in
and I switched to biweekly. Even more remarkably,
it took a couple of years until the present
monthly publication schedule began.
Physical Education Institute
July 28-30, 2014
Asheville, North Carolina
See the flyer
When pelinks4u started I did all
of the information gathering and HTML coding
myself. Fortunately, through the support of
several generous site sponsors - many of which
continue to support pelinks4u today
(thank you) - I was able to get some assistance.
Teaching colleagues volunteered to write teaching
tips (also many thanks). But most notably
Terri Covey began as the pelinks4u
Webmaster while still a student. She's continued
to do it for many years now as a Central Washington
University employee. Terri probably knows
more about pelinks4u than me. Any
credit I've received for pelinks4u
actually belongs mostly to Terri's truly outstanding
dedication to the publication.
But of course times are changing and, as
I've often warned in regard to the PE profession,
nothing lasts unchanged forever. I want to
publicly express a huge THANK YOU to Terri
as her job moves her on to other challenges.
Over the next few months, pelinks4u
will be redesigned as we try to better meet
the needs of current readers and those we'd
like to attract. There's more than a quarter
million of us out there just in the USA, and
we're going to need to better connect to preserve
public school physical education in the future.
Which brings me back to the title of this
editorial. Clearly, social media isn't going
away. It's not necessarily an age thing, although
I'm guessing that our younger teaching colleagues
- many of whom grew up only knowing an Internet
connected world - embrace the use of social
media as a way of life. And while social media
may not be so "essential" to those of us who
would still much rather curl up clutching
"real" books and magazines, clearly we're
a minority and we'd better get over it or
risk getting left behind.
And so, after reading Lynn
Hefele's social media article appearing
in this month's pelinks4u, I decided
it was time I made the jump. Not Facebook.
Not yet. That still looks like too much work
for me to keep going. But Twitter looks doable.
I already have an account. I live on an island
and "tweets" inform me when the ferry is down
- sadly a far too frequent event. But I'd
never tweeted, didn't know how, and was unaware
there was a flourishing online Twitter world
of physical education.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've tweeted
a bit and learned that there's some interesting
stuff (as well as the other) constantly streaming
out to us 140 characters at a time. If you
haven't tried it, I encourage you to be bold
and give it a go. It's not hard. In addition
to Lynn's article there are lots of online
tutorials. Incidentally, my Twitter username
is #pelinks4u - Join me. I'm still
a rookie but I'm determined to better understand
how this social media stuff can help us.
More in this month's pelinks4u...
Over the past few months, several pelinks4u
authors have questioned the purpose of physical
education. Among the suggestions was the value
of emphasizing the play component. Commonly,
we find ourselves attempting to justify PE
for reasons other than the value of play.
This month, play advocate John
Kilbourne shares a personal experience
he had years ago with his daughter Zoé
that illustrates the valuable rewards young
people get from play.
Utsey suggests it's time for us to get
back to the "basics" in teaching and coaching.
He describes how by focusing on teaching children
functional movement skills we can reduce injuries
and improve performance. Martin
Donahue recounts an effective way to celebrate
our students' successes using what he terms
a "Brag Board."
With summer arriving, Gerry
Cernicky reminds us that it's a good time
to reflect and plan for the new school year.
However, it's also important to encourage
our students to stay physically active over
the vacation and for us to follow our own
advice. Finally, Christine
Lottes continues another installment of
her series on "psyching for sports." You can
find specific psychological skills training
drills to use with your athletes and a handout
they can follow at home.
Personally, I wish you a good end to the
school year and a wonderful summer. Travel
safe, stay healthy, and enjoy time with your
family and friends. And if you have time,
I'll see you on Twitter!
Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher