This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the EdcampKC technology conference in Kansas City, MO. This was my first
"unconference," which basically means the entire conference was
participant-driven and each session was presented by someone who was
actually attending the conference. There was a big board set up in the
main room, and before the conference officially started any person
interested in presenting was able to sign up to present. This was an
awesome format because each session had a presenter who was passionate
about his/her presentation topic.
Everything about this experience was great...except for the fact that
the people I met all live in different cities throughout the United
States. This completely reaffirmed and reinforced my belief about
Twitter as an essential tool in the educator's tool belt. Twitter is
without doubt the best way to learn from and stay in contact with the
highest number of great educators from around the world. Here are 5
ways you can help transform your department, building, and district into
an environment that embraces 24/7 professional development and the
power of the "Tweet."
1) - Share resources you discover by using Twitter with others - this is a perfect way to segue into the strength of Twitter
When other educators start to see and hear some of the great ideas you
are discovering, they will naturally want to know where the ideas are
coming from. Take a few moments and show them the benefits of Twitter
as they pertain to your growth and development. As others start to see
and hear about your engaged students and staff, they are definitely
going to want to know how you are doing it...share the wealth!
2) - Find a "tribe" of like-minded educators who can help you spread the word
Seth Godin wrote a great book called "Tribes." This book is about
establishing a tribe, and most importantly the strength of a group of
people with a common interest. Find some educators in your department,
building, and district who are already using Twitter as a PD tool. Meet
with them and discuss ways to help share the power of Twitter. Focus
first on the educators who you think will be easy converts, and once the
group grows the Twitter revolution will be under way.
3) - Encourage and invite others to follow you and see what you are doing - don't force it!
Taking step number 2 to the next level. You CAN'T force this upon
people! Take some time and slowly show people how they can use Twitter
to grow and develop as an educator. You will need to be a salesman to a
certain extent, but it is absolutely crucial you do not try to force
others to use something in which they are not interested. Encourage
educators to be consumers of information before becoming creators of
information. Watching and observing how Twitter works can be the
perfect transition before really jumping in.
4) - Show your students and / or parents how you use Twitter to
become a better educator - students and parents can be valuable
"connectors" (Gladwell - The Tipping Point)
Recognizing the power and influence of parents and students can be
extremely valuable when sharing ideas and information. As we all learn
fairly quickly, parents and students talk, and they talk a lot. Let's
share the tools we are using to grow and develop by empowering these
"connectors." When parents and students are talking about you, make
sure to give them the ammunition so they can say great things!
5) - Lead by example...tweet and tweet like there is no tomorrow (value tweet, don't spam)
Leaders lead by example while simultaneously empowering and bettering
those around them. Help spread the word about Twitter by being an
example of how it can positively affect the professional growth and
development of educators. When you tweet make sure you are tweeting
information of value...the fastest way to turn off someone on the edge
is by tweeting useless information they can't use.
If you have any additional strategies or tips please comment and share
your experiences so we can compile an even larger list. Thank you, and
good luck Tweeps!