I think what we're running into is a lesson in physics, specifically inertia. It's hard to get the rock rolling, but once it happens, it then becomes hard to stop. If that is indeed what is going on, we are still in the hard-to-get-going phase of the process. Christopher Bergeron (@eLearningChris), a tech coordinator at a district in New Hampshire, was quoted in an NEA article* talking about how educators can use Twitter:
"Twitter,” Bergeron says, “is like the ticker at the bottom of CNN -- only a ticker populated with information about those people or things you care about, want to learn from, or want to know about.”
*You can read the whole article here.
Bergeron hits it on the head for me. With no data to back this claim up, my feel is that many teachers who stay far away from Twitter do so because they feel like they'll be bombarded with Justin Bieber and other TMZ-esque updates. There is a misunderstanding of how much we control what pops up into our own Twitter feed. While there are paid advertisements, they mostly focus on topics that you've shown interest in through your tweets and followers. For example, Google for Education was the last paid advertisement that popped up on my feed a few minutes ago.
The purpose of this particular post is three-fold. First, I haven't blogged here since the end of April. A combination of a busy end of the year mixed with a little burnout led to this. I had a good writing process and habit - now I have to rebuild that habit somewhat after about 5 weeks without writing. That's frustrating, but probably a good life-lesson. I stayed away from Twitter for a few weeks. This exemplifies the best aspect of Twitter - you can come and go and never feel like you've been left out. Anything that is really good cycles its way around. You'll catch it eventually.
The second purpose is to reach out to my colleagues at Center. I work at an incredible school. I attended Center schools from kindergarten through high school graduation and am really lucky to be back as a member of the staff. I just finished my fourth year of teaching and this is the first year that I finally felt more like a teacher than a glorified teaching assistant who had been given his own class. Part of the ongoing hope of this blog is to encourage others to write about and share their experiences before they feel that they are a master teacher. The reflection and collaboration of this blog and helped me to make great strides in my own classroom.
Twitter is another tool that helped push me to this point, where I felt like I had something to offer the teaching community. Chats are key. The wonderful Colleen McLain (@colleenmclain) hosted the first #CenterSD chat the other night, and it was a great success. Follow her if you don't already. Hopefully we'll keep that momentum going next Monday! Check out the Storify of the chat below. (HINT: Go all the way to the bottom first to start at the beginning of the conversation)
The final purpose is to get some stories from other teachers around the world who are at schools where Twitter is regularly used. How did it happen and what can we do at Center to get there?Twitter is, at its heart and soul, all about collaboration. Let's fill the comment section with your stories and suggestions! Thanks in advance!
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