There is a lot of talk about “The Twitter” these days in education. It almost has turned into a buzzword, and if you are “doing it” at your campus then you are a rockstar and the most tech savy, knowledgeable teacher out there. Don’t be fooled. If you are tweeting with no reflection or process, chances are you are not really reflecting, which leads to growing! If you have never used Twitter or professional purposes, I urge you to connect, but Twitter isn’t the only way to connect.
In this AMAZING book by three amazing educators I connected with on Twitter they elaborate on the idea of connecting through many outlets. These are people I have never met, but I liked what they stood for from participating in a chat session and followed them. They are so kind and genuine in wanting to connect and help educators.
As I met with my P2LN the other evening, I connected this to the book I am reading and began to think of what I do differently since becoming connected with them. (Not sure what P2LN is? The P to the power of 2 stands for Personal and ProfessionalI wasn’t either until I read the book below. It is a MUST read. So many amazing ideas and examples. An ideal campus book club selection! It will change your life. .
Here are 2 huge factors that played a role in my connected educational journey, so far!
First, is a group a dear friend and my fellow late night collaborating colleague, Erin Gerdes, started among educators with like minds to meet and discuss the digital changing we were going through. We meet every single month, even through the summers to collaborate, share ideas, learn, and grow. This turned into our classrooms of students collaborating through Skype and other things across schools in our district. We are the DIGITAL DIVAS! This is my Professional Learning Network that has turned into my Personal Learning Network of peeps, but now also my dearest friends. This is what happens so often.
Second, I began “lurking” on Twitter educationally about 3 years ago when I was accepted as a Digital Classroom Teacher. I finally jumped in and began joining the Chat Groups that interested me. It was like 2 at first, but what matters is that I began connecting with more people in my district and out in the social media world. (Confession: Along the way, I did delete my Twitter account because I honestly couldn’t figure out what the point was and why only 140 characters! I opened another later on.)
Fast forward to this past summer….my world changed and I was lit on fire by attending iPadpalooza in Austin, Texas! It honestly had nothing to do with iPads and technology, as much as it did the spirit, passion, and energy from the Keynote Speakers I heard and from the people I met there! I wholeheartedly mean it. There is this crazy intoxicating energy you get when you are around people like this at an amazing conference! Check out the youtube channel from iPadpalooza of the mini keynotes. This is one of those moments when I will look back and say my professional focus shifted at that moment and I am on fire!
I made the decision right then that instead of just randomly posting a pic of my class on Wear Your Favorite Socks day or a Here is what we did in Math kind of pic, I began reaching out to random people because of their thinking. That’s crazy a thought, right?! 😉
Here’s the thing: The most unbelievable thing happened…they reached back! Without even knowing who I was! I thought that was the most bizarre thing since pre-iPadpalooza I would do “research” on someone and their thinking before even considering following them! So within a short time frame of one “unconference” I had extended my professional learning network a ton with some AMAZING people! This was only the beginning.
Here is what started happening over Twitter:
- I began exchanging awesome ideas and Best Practices for the classroom or school with others.
- I began reading inspiring quotes and articles people tweeted to build others up.
- I began reflecting and seeking out different perspectives in order to grow.
- I began sharing GREAT things happening in our school.
- I began sharing GREAT things happening in other schools with our school.
- I began taking more risks.
- I helped connect others for global projects.
- I was having conversations with people I had just met because of a belief AND they TRULY wanted to HELP you!!
- Keeps me on FIRE and loving this ever-changing profession!
- Gives me the easiest and best way to seek out new best practices! You have round the clock access to brilliant minds. Have a question? – Tweet it out!
- Provides 24/7 Professional Development!
- Sometimes we can’t fly to Chicago for that awesome conference you are dying to go to, but you can follow their #hashtag and still learn so much.
- It challenges me and stretches my thinking!! Big time! Why? The people on Twitter bring such a wide variety of experiences and knowledge and when you connect and gain their perspective, you can’t help but rethink how you are doing things.
- There is SERIOUS reflection going!
Don’t underestimate the power of people. If you want to know outstanding people to follow, go to my Twitter @OCTVisser and look at who I follow. See what they stand for, and if you like that give them a follo. Build your P2LN and remember…..