I got to participate in a workshop for administrators on Twitter not long ago. That meant twenty or so principals and assistant principals sitting in a high school library taking selfies and trying to come up with professional Twitter names that walked the line between soulless and personal. I’m fortunate, with not too many Bjorn Paiges in the twittersphere, I get to go with my name.
Since I’ve been tweeting for a bit I got to help facilitate the afternoon, and as I walked from table to table, seeing some really outstanding educators working on creating accounts, I thought about the great possibility swirling around the room.
These are women and men I want to learn from. Kid focused, smart, and creative, this is the dream team of Professional Learning Networks. About once a month we get to sit in the same room, but, I got thinking, what if this PLN was able to communicate with each other (and others beyond our district) more instantly. What if we could share articles and ideas? What if our celebration of what happened on our campuses could be inspiration for each other? What if we really did all tweet?
We’re fortunate in our district to have a superintendent both familiar with and comfortable on Twitter. We have some ToSAs and teachers who use it often and well. A few of us site administrators are learning how we can use Twitter to connect with parents, students, teachers, and each other, and more than a few in our greater school community see Twitter as a way to see what’s going on on campus and to understand education a little bit better.
I’ll be honest, I’m still figuring it out. I know that I love the immediacy of Twitter for getting cool professional ideas, inspiration, and answers to questions that I have. I see it as a great way, in real time, to show off my campus: with major construction this summer I’ve been able to tweet photos of the progress, and gotten some nice feedback on how welcome this was. I also believe that Twitter may be the single most important improvement in my own professional development, as read articles I never would have found on my own,I engage with others in edchats and conversations, and make connections with fellow educators from around the country.
Now back to that library. These principals, assistant principals, and district office administrators are more than just colleagues; together we have the potential to support each other in person, on the phone, in texts and emails, and, collectively, using tools like Twitter. We have the potential to make everyone in the room better.
Will everyone in the room decide to tweet? I don’t know. One nice thing about Twitter is that it’s a world without expectation; when we tweet we choose to join in the conversation because we want to, not because we’re obligated.
So I look forward to the fall, and seeing how many of the administrators in my district will join me in an edchat, how many I can follow, and how many will decide that this might just be a way that we can really help each other. I like the odds.