Four years ago, my family and I made the decision to officially “unplug”. We deleted all of our social media accounts and even eliminated TV from our lives. Initially it was a change I was not happy to make but after 2 months of adapting I found I was much happier, mindful of the current moments, and had SO MUCH more free time! However; when I left my Principal position to come to the ROE it was obvious I needed to expand my networking across a global perspective to better support my Kane County Districts and to stay “Innovative” (thus my title – Director of Innovative Professional Learning) hahaha. Everyone I talked to told me I needed to join Twitter.
I do not consider myself a bandwagon educator. I have never been someone who hears something at a conference, or reads something in a book and immediately change my educational beliefs or practices. If you know me, you know I am WAY more skeptical than that! When I hear new ideas or concepts that challenge my current values and/or protocol my interest ispeaked and I start doing more research. I research to find more perspectives, examples, and data before I make the decision to implement new concepts into my classroom. After A LOT of deliberation and even MORE research, I jumped on the bandwagon and joined Twitter (@Katie092513)
I made the conscious decision to only use Twitter for professional use as I didn’t want to fall back into the social media pit I found myself in previously. Of course, I did research to know who to follow and how to use Twitter for professional learning. Every day I would read through the latest tweets, like someone’s post, reply to others, and maybe, if I did something interesting that day or had a new professional learning opportunity, I would choose to Tweet out (and no, I don’t just mean retweet, an actual tweet with my own picture, thoughts, ideas!).
Initially, I found Twitter VERY beneficial: I made a lot of great connections, I was able to “see” the amazing learning taking place in classrooms across the country, I was learning something new from an amazing educator EVERYDAY, bottom line….Twitter provided the platform to challenge my educational philosophy and grow my networking circle beyond my wildest expectations.
Recently I have found myself accessing my app sparingly, I can’t tell you the last time I participated in a Twitter Chat let alone started following someone new. Did I succumb to the bandwagon and peer pressure? Did I only join Twitter because my new peer group was doing it? I have been pondering this for several weeks now. The data from my research is still true, Twitter can help educators do many things, here are a my top 5:
- Find and share resources
- Be informed
- Embrace new ideas
- Change the conversation
So, knowing the benefits of this professional learning tool, why am I not utilizing it to my benefit? I could give you every excuse in the book, my work has been so demanding, my daughter’s schedule is hard to manage, we’ve been out of town, I’ve been sick…but those would all be excuses. I literally have access to amazing educators and resources at the tip of my finger, not being connected via Twitter to enhance my knowledge is educational malpractice and it stops TODAY!!!!
As most of my readers know by this point, I am solutions focused in every challenge I face personally and professionally. That said my solution to the Twitter turmoil I find myself in is simple, I am embarking upon a Twitter Challenge!!! For the next 60 days (starting today, March 19th) I promise to post an original tweet (no retweets) each day…yes, this includes the weekends!!
Who’s with me?!?!?!?! Maybe you are like me and in a rut with your usage (or lack thereof) of Twitter, maybe you don’t have an account and see this challenge as an exciting way to start, or perhaps you are active on Twitter but are up for a fun challenge. Respond to this post, personal message me on Twitter @Katie092513, or email me that you are up for the challenge and provide your username! Who knows…at the end of the 60 days there might just be a prize at the end (an no, I am not just referring to the amazing learning you will engage in over the next 60 days!!!)
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning