Sunday, February 2, 2014

Twitter ties up all the facets of me

As a scrapbooker, I always have dreams of chronicling every moment of my life.  As each new year starts I download new apps, read magazines, join new online communities, all in the hope of increasing my “Year in the Life” mega scrapbook.  Every year I fall short.  
Twitter is not new.  It could be just another form of social media that eats up the precious moments of my life, but it isn’t. Using Twitter has helped me grow as a professional, and tied the many facets of me up into a better teacher and learner.

As a teacher, each year I have moments that inspire and renew me.  I enjoy these moments, and then my  memory lets these moments fade.  Luckily these moments re-occur often, so I continue  to teach.

As a tech geek, every year I hear about some fantastic app/web page/tool that can help me teach/learn/craft.  Sometimes they are brand new, sometimes I revisit an old tool that I think I can re purpose for teaching or scrap booking.  I use them periodically shifting from one to another like a puppy with a wicker basket full of new toys.  

As a learner, every year I find that my non fixed mindset allows me to learn new things and apply my new found knowledge to my classroom.   The result is usually an awesome learning moment that I try to hang on to and share with my colleagues in school, but never share with a larger community.  

Twitter is nothing new.  For every commercial you watch, article you read, advertisement you see, there is an at symbol or hash tag telling you to share your experiences and learn more.  But there is so much more there.  Twitter ties up all the facets of me.  

As a learner, it provides me with teachers. Within twitter I have developed a Professional Learning Community (PLN).  Inside this community I have authors of my favorite professional books like Stephanie Harvey (@Stephharvey), Kelly Gallagher (@kellyGToGo), and Donalyn Miller (@Donalynbooks). They shoot me words of wisdom all day everyday. I read protions of their new books, attend their virtual conferences, and chat one on one with them on topics I need to learn more about. Twitter allows me to build a learning community designed specifically to to my needs. By following people who share the same beliefs as I have, I get support through the knowledge they share.

As a tech geek, it provides me with new ideas and opportunities.  Everyday on Twitter someone is sharing a new idea with me: how to flip a classroom, the best free education app, how to take pictures like a professional.  It gives me a chance to share that information with others.  It often feels like the conference room floor only here the  vendors are giving me sneak peeks into their sandbox instead of pencils.  

As a teacher, it broadens my new colleagues.   In my network I communicate with others teachers. Some of them teach the same grade as I(@kbport714, @shannonclark7), others the same curriculum (@shannonmmiller), while others are gurus of subjects I teach (@theresagray, @MrSchuReads,@ormsby25 , @mhelmer2).  Having a larger community of professionals in my field benefits all of us. I see what works in their classroom (and what doesn't), and they get the same from me. My learning community does not end with those individuals. Because one of the features of Twitter is the ability to retweet what others say to your followers, what I share about my classroom may reach thousands of other teachers. Likewise, when one of the people I follow find something worthwhile to share, they share it with me, and thousands of others. This means the group of professionals in my learning community is now limitless.   

As a scrap booker, it provides me a “Year in the Life”  of pictures of my classroom.  The latest benefit I have found of Twitter is the ability for me to have a diary of what happens in my classroom each day.  Part of what I use Twitter for is to share the positive things that happen in my classroom in regards to the Common Core and Next Gen Standards.  I want to educate and inspire others about the learning going on in my classroom.  The  hidden benefit of this is a  log of all the positive learning that has happened in my classroom.  

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