Over the course of the past year, I’ve come to really value Twitter and the Professional Learning Network I’m developing through my interactions there. Honestly, I started by following educational organizations or publications and not really tweeting at all. It gave me a quick way to stay informed about what was happening as journals from those same organizations piled up on my desk, often unread. Eventually, I began to retweet occasionally and started making connections with some other educators, thanks in part to some conversations with @stumpteacher and @j_bednar, who I am fortunate to know in real life, and interaction with @joe_mazza through #ptchat. With those connections come amazing resources, additional sets of eyes and ears, and support for the important work we all do for kids.
I also began reading more blogs. While I had blogged about my family’s adoption journey, I had never blogged in a professional light. Looking back, though, the adoption blog was a way to share with progress with our extended family and friends, as well as other families who were also in the adoption process. It only makes sense to that this would serve us well in other areas of our lives. So, I’d read education blogs and it would prompt me to comment or set up a blog and write a post…but I didn’t. I wanted to wait until I had time, like a day off or a class finished, or I thought something through a little more. Over spring break, my family took an awesome vacation to Disney World, and I unplugged from my school work and my doctoral work (well, for the most part) (but not from ESPN because that was when the Tebow trade was going down). On that trip, I was really energized despite the busy, busy days! As we traveled home, I wrote a list of about 20 lessons from Disney that applied to my work and I planned to write about them on. That was in March…still haven’t written. Today, though, I encountered this post on why sharing matters from another educator, @gcouros, whose candor and reflection I’ve come to value greatly (not to mention quality You Tube video sharing). And I decided today was the day I would get started and follow through (…despite, or maybe partly because of, the two chapters of stats homework waiting for me tonight!).
I’ve always enjoyed infusing technology into my work and my personal life, and I have been spreading the Twitter PLN goodness to my principal colleagues, doctoral cohort members, and my building staff. I have seen directly how my students at my school can benefit from this, too; for example, I connected two of my kindergarten classes in Illinois with kindergarten classes in Port McNeill, British Columbia, Canada for some amazing, authentic learning about where each group of students is from and some hands-on science sharing about our chicks and their salmon. I know that if I’m going to continue to develop as a leader and develop leaders and move my school forward, contributing and sharing is every bit as important as the information that is shared WITH me…and what others have shared has undoubtedly made a difference to me and helped me do that for others.
So here I am… And those Disney ideas are still rolling around in my head; so are some tweets and posts I’ve seen about the how we can promote creativity and curiosity in students given the demands and accountability placed on us, the value of doctoral programs, and the need for quality administrators and empowered teacher leaders. Now I’ve made myself a nice little place to put them!