I stopped by the middle school yesterday to help one of my good friends get set up for Dropbox. She was looking to share pictures of her students at the local Special Olympics with their families and was amazed at how easy it was. In our conversations, I keep mentioning to her, that she needs to get involved with Twitter. Twitter is kind of like the gateway to change; it has opened my eyes to thoughts, discussions, and overall philosophies that I never connected with before. The educators that I follow have become celebrities to me that are actually WORTH following. As a life skills teacher, I believe that there are people available to her that would allow her to become a better teacher and essentially, “take control” of her professional development.
As teachers, we are all told that we need to differentiate the styles in which we teach so that everyone learns, and that is definitely true. I’ve been fortunate enough to teach in a few different districts and all of the professional development has been very broad and very plain. Recently, my district has taken great steps to start differentiating to the teachers and allowing more teachers to run programs, which I think is AWESOME! Each teacher chooses a topic to share with other teachers and we are able to learn from each other. Teachers can pick and choose what they want to learn about to benefit their classes and students. Twitter does much of the same, allowing teachers to follow those that interest them. What’s great, is that teachers can follow and participate on their own time. I follow chats while watching baseball games, or I go back later and read conversations.
Another colleague of mine went to #edcampphilly this past week, where much of the discussion was using technologies in the classroom. He was floored by how the face of education has changed in five years. That prompted him to get onto Twitter and start seeing what else is out there. It literally opens your eyes and breaks down walls.
Let’s continue to share, follow, tweet and retweet. The face of education IS changing. Let’s stop teaching from 30 year old binders and learn something new. Not only will we benefit, but so will our students; and that’s what’s important.