I am not into a lot of social media. In fact, I am one of very people few who are not on Facebook. The reason? My life isn’t that exciting, so I wouldn’t have much to post, and if I was on Facebook, my life would be even less exciting because I would be spending too much time looking at Facebook to see what others are doing. I say this to introduce the fact that, even though I do not use a lot of social media, Twitter is a form of social media that I am totally on board with.
I am surprised by how much I’ve come to enjoy and rely on Twitter to connect with other teachers. I follow many, many wonderful teachers I work with in State College Area School District. When I am curious about what is happening elsewhere, I reach out to educators I’m following on Twitter. People such as Kristin (@MathMinds), Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp), and The Two Writing Teachers (which is really more than just two teachers – @ClareandTammy, @Betsy_writes, @raisealithuman, @Tara_Smith5, and more) have taught me so much! When I’ve tweeted or contacted them directly (DMed in Twitter lingo) with questions about teaching, curriculum, coaching, and/or professional development, everyone has been eager to share. These are people whom I’ve never met face-to-face, but I feel like I know them based on their Twitter feed and blogs. All of this has enriched my life personally and professionally.
A highlight for me this year was meeting someone whom I follow on Twitter, Heather Rader (@HeatherRader1). Heather is a literacy coach from the Seattle, Washington area. She was just as smart and charming in person as she seemed to be based on her tweets and her blog. When I met her, I told her that I feel like I already know her from our many contacts on social media. It was easy to begin a comfortable conversation with her because, even though, technically, we had just “met”, we had really met many months ago on Twitter.
Recently, our district had a K-12 professional development day. Part of the learning included teachers tweeting about what they were learning throughout the day and attaching a hashtag that we’ve used in past Twitter chats (#insplearning #SCASD). It was great to share and learn together through this simple, yet powerful social media tool. When I went home that evening, I read through the many, many tweets from the day and continued the conversations and the learning.
One final Twitter story. (Can you tell I’m a hooked?!) Something pretty remarkable happened this week that showed me, not only the power of Twitter, but just how small our world has become. When I checked my Twitter feed Thursday afternoon, I saw a tweet and a picture sent by Tanny McGregor (@TannyMcG), author of what is, in my opinion, one of THE BEST teacher resources ever – Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading. Standing beside her was a teacher from Indianapolis, Indiana whom I had met over three years ago when we both arrived in Washington, D.C. for an award ceremony. I did a double take. I was like, “Hey! I know her! That’s Laura! And she’s with Tanny McGregor!! How cool is that!?!” I replied and favorited the tweet that Tanny had initiated, and throughout the evening, she and I exchanged several more tweets as we marveled at the connection we had made.
What do I have to thank for the fun and remarkable moments AND the ongoing learning that I’ve mentioned? Twitter! Lots to learn and enjoy 140 characters at a time. #powerfulPDtool
How do you use Twitter or any other social media tool for learning and sharing?