Back in 2011 I became enthralled with a social media site called Twitter. While attending the NJPSA/FEA/NJASCD Fall Conference Eric Sheninger opened my eyes to the power of Twitter for professional growth purposes and as a way to brand your school. Some time later in 2012, Scott Rocco and I connected on Twitter and launched #Satchat as a way for educators to share best practice ideas and resources. Fast forward to the present, and I am honored to announce the release of a book that I co-authored with Billy Krakower and Scott Rocco titled 140 Twitter Tips for Educators. The passion the three of us have for this magnificent tool will no doubt come through in this how to guide.
Throughout my fifteen plus years as an educator, and especially the last five as a connected educator, I have heard people criticize or question others for using buzzwords. Quite frankly I never understood why people need to do this. Last I checked people have the freedom to say what they want, when they want, and how they want. If educators are committed to taking risks and evolving over time, then they should be allowed to use whatever words, phrases, paragraphs, etc they want. In fact, I don't even think of buzzwords as buzzwords. Rather, I think of them as what they are, words and phrases pertaining to the tremendous things going on in our classrooms, schools, and districts.
Here are a list of what some refer to as buzzwords or buzzphrases that I love to utilize. To me they are best practices and healthy steps forward in the educational world. Feel free to keep using these words...
Personal Learning Networks
Professional Learning Networks
I was speaking with Dr. Spike Cook a while back at an educational event and he made mention of the fact that my early morning Facebook Check-Ins from the gym inspired him. Actually his exact words were "how come you don't check in from the gym anymore?" At which point I told him that I stopped working out. But I digress. Recently I reflected on this conversation I had with Spike and wondered if this same sort of story applied to educators and the vast amount of sharing that takes place on various social media sites.
I truly believe that the ideas, reflections, resources, and best practices we share on social media sites inspire others. A simple tweet, Facebook post, Vox, or update on LinkedIn may not seem like a big deal to you, but undoubtedly impact someone else. Over my five plus years as a connected educator I have had the distinct pleasure of learning from so many classroom, school, and district practioners. The exposure to various initiatives, lesson ideas, technology applications, units of study, and educational philosophy has made me better at doing my job.
I would imagine that most educators who share on social do not realize that they inspire other educators. But they do! Ultimately this creates a cycle that directly promotes the success of all students. Social media is not the only way you can share best practices and inspire others. The OpenEd movement has given educators a clearing house of free resources that can be adapted in whatever way you see fit.
There is no doubt that this is one of the most exciting times in education. Technology has allowed educators from across the globe to connect and learn from each other. Sharing and inspiring are contagious and can be a major factor in improving school culture, teaching practices, and leadership style. Just look at what the EdCamp Movement has done at the local, state, and national level. So if you do not think you have something to share or the ability to inspire, think again! You do, and it starts today.
In fact, as you read this blog post I am going to head over to our local gym and work out for a bit. Don't worry, I will check in on Facebook so that everyone knows. Not because I am some buff gym rat, in fact not even close. But because it might inspire one of my friends to do the same. Then, after working out, I will hop on Twitter and look for some inspiring tweets. Hopefully you can do the same.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities and the newly released Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Google Certified Trainer. Brad currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Dean of Students for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is a Google Certified Trainer and speaks nationally about tech integration. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.