I signed on to Twitter in the summer of 2010 and immediatley became a lover of this social network. It was so different from Facebook because I could see what the world had to say about topics that I was interested in. My favorite band? There were a bunch of people talking about Phish summer tour. A book I just finished reading? I found the author. So on I went being enamored with my new found form of social networking viewing the power of connections. But was I participating? Not really. At most, up until about a year ago, I would consider myself to be a stage one Twitter user: a reader and a retweeter, but often times too nervous to come up with anything I thought to be clever enough to contribute.
As I continued using Twitter to see what people were sharing with each other, I also started following educators from around the country speaking about best practices in the classroom. Never before have I had a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips. The blogs that had been posted by everyday educators were some of the most mindful and thought provoking points made on education that I had ever before seen. In one week of reading articles, blogs, journals, and watching videos, I received years worth of professional development. And it was all available online! I was beginning to realize that Twitter is a place where teachers can get together, celebrate their passions, and collaborate together to continuously evolve education.
Just this evening, I attended a Google Hangout with folks that I don’t know. Isn’t this what our parents warned us about: not talking to strangers? What mom and dad don’t know, however, is that without the idea of taking risks, nothing will ever change. Through Twitter and volunteer conferences such as EdCamp, passionate educators set out to connect with each other because they understand that education should never be about one person; it needs to be shared with others so that bigger and better ideas can be formed. What I learned from my attendance at our first #MichEd Google Hangout tonight was that not one person attended for selfish reasons. There was no “expert” in the room. It was a bunch of people getting together discussing how to promote and celebrate education that is happening in our great mitten state. We’re looking to share and learn from others because as educators, we understand that synergy means 1+1=3 (thanks, Covey!).
So, my dear friend Twitter. I’m just beginning to understand your power.