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May 27

Chris Smeaton

Educators need Twitter!

I read a message while following the chat at #connectedca that stated, “I’ve learned more from Twitter in the last year than in the last 5 years of PD activities.” This message was similar to one I provided at my opening address beginning this year. This does not imply that I have not attended some powerful professional development opportunities over the past five years. In fact, my learning has been positively impacted in a number of PD activities and conferences. But Twitter provides me with a couple of things that even the best conferences or other PD activities cannot.

Twitter is immediate and revolves around my time. When I’m at my computer, I have Tweetdeck running constantly. The pop up function allows me to engage in a conversation of interest if I choose. The part of “if I choose” is the important piece. Twitter can be down right addicting, but I’m really in control of it. It allows me to have more autonomy in my professional learning. I remember being concerned that I would miss something when I wasn’t on Twitter, but George Couros helped me understand that the information is always available. The ability to engage with other passionate educators anywhere and anytime is powerful. The opportunity to connect with superintendents, educational leaders, teachers, parents and others passionate about education is invigorating. And yes… I get to do it on my time and when it is convenient for me.

A second aspect of the importance of Twitter deals with the overall positiveness of the conversations. Quite simply, it is uplifting listening to people around the world talk about their best experiences and sharing their expertise. Contributors in general, are about “Real change, not better sameness!” They are about I can not I can’t! They are about opportunities not barriers! They are about change not status quo! And finally, they are about commitment not compliance! In my position, I get to hear from all the nay sayers. Education reformers, some government officials and often unions tell me all that we do wrong. But on Twitter, I hear the opposite! I hear what we do right and just as important, how we can make it even more right for our students.  It allows me to believe that the glass is half full not half empty and that transformation is occuring one person at a time. 

I’m witnessing a number of our schools engaging in Twitter workshops. The majority of our school administrators are involved as well. It is exciting to read the conversations as they attach the hashtag #hs4 for our division.  The increased amounts of collaboration and opportunities for professional dialogue are providing positive results. Twitter offers educators an example of doing something different. With time being ever so precious, the ability to choose when to engage provides a motivator to engage. Thanks to all those on Twitter who have made such a positive impact on my professional learning!

3 comments

2 pings

  1. Tia

    Hi Chris,

    I can’t say enough about how much I echo everything you write in this post!

    Twitter has been such an amazing journey about what is possible. As you said, it is a positive place where learning and sharing is encouraged and not questioned. Twitter is a place where you can ask questions and there is always someone there willing to answer. Twitter is about ongoing professional grown and real collaboration – at any time of day, every day of the year! That kind of professional development cannot be beat.

    I, too, used to worry that I was going to miss things when things got too busy. But, you are right, there is always learning going on. Do I miss things? I’m sure I do, but there’s always other things to learn from and be inspired by. Always.

    It has been wonderful watching our school district’s hashtag (#sd36learn) be formed, grow, and now blossom. It is such a great place for learning and sharing. This type of collaboration is what teaching, learning and leading is all about.

    Thanks for this post.

    Happy learning,
    Tia

  2. Meghan Calder

    The inspiration has come from you. Thank you.

    1. Chris Smeaton
      Chris Smeaton

      Thanks Meghan, but in reality it is because I’m surrounded by excellence that allows me to get out of my own comfort zone. Very fortunate to be in Holy Spirit!

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