Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How Tweet it is

When I attended my first EdTech workshop two years ago, I had little idea what it would set in motion. Ten years earlier, as I sat in one of my first credential classes, my instructor encouraged me to keep in mind the idea of one day working on my Master's degree in education technology. She saw my natural abilities, my interest, and the way it worked for me. She knew also that it would be something I would have to return to in the future rather than pursue then and there. I have kept that in mind these last two years.

At that first EdTech workshop, "If you're not on Twitter, you should be" came through loud and clear. For a moment, I froze. The previous school year, I taught only halftime, so I devoted some of my time to my writing. Six months before attending this workshop, I did a branding workshop and launched a full social media blitz as I moved forward with branding my writing-self. Now, my teaching-self was essentially facing the same need and I feared my social media worlds would collide. The funny thing was that I knew this was the right step to take for my teacher-self. By the end of the workshop, I had created a Twitter account and even started following a few folks.

Things grew from there.

And then they grew some more.

Initially, my plan was to use Twitter to communicate with students and families, but what I found was that it was far more useful as a means of building my PLN. In fact, it was darn-right amazing. I have learned things. I have read articles, I have sought advice, I have shared ideas, I have built myself into a better teacher because of my interactions on Twitter. I have read books, then discussed them with their authors. I have experienced inspiration and challenges. I have seen a few things that aren't for me and a whole lot that are for me. More importantly, in being "for me" they are FOR my students. My students have absolutely been the benefactors of my Twitter experiences and HOW TWEET IT IS!

The people I have met on Twitter and through Twitter, and later even off Twitter have helped shape some incredible things for me and for my students. I can only hope to one day do the same for others. Twitter is less social media and more networking. There are some in the world hesitant to the idea of using "social media" to extend themselves and grow their PLNs. I will do my part to help spread the Twitter awesome-sauce and I hope you will too.

In the meantime, I originally maintained my blog as my primary means of communicating with students and their families. Then, last spring, my (then) seventh grade students helped me branch into Instagram. They invested themselves into it and helped hook me. It was a wonderful means of mini-lessons when we first started, but continued through the summer and now into the current school year. My #wheresmsrnow summer post-series was a fun learning adventure for all who followed along. I hope to keep such things going.

It may be hard for some to see, but it is educational Tweetness that rocks my world! And I am thankful for those who do see it.