Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Power of This Connected World We Live In

Until recently, I had not been a Twitter user.  For one thing, I didn’t understand it.  I followed a few news organizations and personalities, but that was mostly uninteresting. I didn’t send Tweets because I had no followers to receive them. 

Then one day while searching, I found some educational organizations. Following them, I happened upon an ASCD chat one evening with guest host Grant Wiggins.  I’m not going to lie; that was cool. Especially when Wiggins tweeted a response to @sullivan884.

I left that chat session feeling like I had engaged in a personal conversation with a sage whose work in education influences what I do each day. 

Twitter addiction about to happen.  That event piqued my interest. Who else can I follow?  What chats can I join? What more can I learn?

I have since — ha!  All of three weeks, maybe?--  found interesting hashtags, more chat sessions, and dozens of energetic educators who share ideas, pose thought provoking questions, link to articles and personal blogs, and offer intellectual challenge and learning within the confines of 140 characters at the time.

After last night, I’m really hooked.  I joined #ELAchat at 8:00 PM and continued with #TeachWriting at 9:00 PM.  The ideas were flying by on my screen. I had so much fun! But more than that, I learned from others, and I shared with others. Some tweets reinforced my philosophy; others challenged me with new ways of thinking.

Not only did I find and follow new personalities, but also I received some new followers.  One in particular made my day.  She asked for ideas about how to write in ways other than formal paragraphs and essays.  I offered some suggestions.  Today, she tried one of those suggestions in her classroom and sent me another Tweet to say how well it worked. You think she was the only one excited?  I was excited, too. And I have a sneaking suspicion that her students were excited trying a different style of writing today, also.

My goal as an educator is to help students learn better and to help teachers teach better.  In 140 characters or less, I made a difference in some students’ lives today because their teacher connected with strangers to improve her professional practice. That’s the power of this connected world we live in.

Professional development via Twitter.  Quality ideas shared with thirsty educators.

What chats do you join?  Which educators do you follow?  Share your ideas. Let's grow together.

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