Sunday, November 2, 2014

Connected Educator Month Is Over...Now What?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present at our district's professional development day.  It was set up sort of like a trade show at a conference.  Teachers could stop by any "booth" and stay for as little or as long as they liked.  My booth was "Twitter, It's Not Just For Justin Bieber Anymore."  Those who know me know I am a huge proponent of using Twitter for educational purposes.  I originally thought Twitter was stupid because I did not understand it.  Many teachers feel this way.  My goal on this day was to convert a few of them by explaining the benefits.

One teacher stopped by my booth and said "I have a Twitter account, I tried to use it with my class, it was hugely unsuccessful.  Twitter is dumb, and nothing you are going to say to me will change my mind."  Game on.

I asked her how she was using Twitter and she explained that she was tweeting questions hoping her students would respond and they were not responding.  I told her I thought that was a pretty creative idea, but asked her if she ever thought about using Twitter as a research tool.  She had not.  I began showing her how she could connect with other educators in her content area and how she could learn lesson ideas they were sharing on Twitter.  I showed her that Twitter could be a tool for research and connecting.  

Four minutes had elapsed since she made her initial statement to me.  She was now hooked.

I used to be the anti-technology anti-social media principal.  The main reason was, I just did not understand it.  Once I did, it was like a new world had been opened to me.  I will never go back.  Our school has benefitted greatly from the connections my staff and I have made.  It was certainly a group effort.  Some examples are:

  • School Twitter account
  • School Instagram account
  • School Facebook Page
  • Teach Like A PIRATE Day
  • Mystery Skype
  • The Video Newsletter
  • Genius Hour Club
  • School blog
We learned about many of these from other educators and tweaked them to make them our own.  There is no sense in reinventing the wheel if someone already has and they are willing to share.  We simply modify it to make it the best wheel for our kids.  Our communication with families has never been better and I believe our kids have never loved coming to school more than they do now.

So to all of the new educators who joined Twitter in October, keep connecting, keep reaching out, and keep bringing great ideas to your school.  Your kids will be glad you did.

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