(Cross-posted from The Educators’ Cafe)
I’m a firm believer in using social media for informal professional learning. I believe that being a connected educator has not only improved my practice, it has also helped me grow professionally in ways I could not have imagined, pre-social media. For example, the first ISTE conference (then known as, NECC) I attended was in New Orleans in 2004, before Twitter. I met many people in 2004, but nothing in comparison to my attendance in Philadelphia in 2011. Being able to meet people I follow and connect with on Twitter and other spaces face to face was an unbelievable treat! I was even able to participate in my first flash mob! It’s all about building connections, sharing passions, collaborating, learning, trying new things because you have a trusted safety net, and challenging ourselves and our beliefs.
People say social media is a narcissistic waste of time. I say it can be if you use it that way. People say they don’t have time for social media. I say you make time for what you think is important, and if you want to improve yourself, professionally and informally, you should at least try Twitter for a while. People ask why would they want to connect with people they don’t know? I say, building a personal learning network (PLN) will enrich and energize your life as an education professional. I want to share an example of the power of being a connected educator and having a PLN that rocks. Last week, the @moedchat moderators (aka modsquad) were putting the final touches on that night’s chat. I commented that it would be cool if Sue Waters could join us. I have ‘known‘ Sue for many years and had the pleasure of participating in an #etmooc session on blogging. I say ‘known’ because I have never met Sue face-to-face. I know her through social media. Sue lives in Perth, Australia and works for Edublogs, but she is a supporter of all blogging educators. Check out the following conversation:
I tagged Sue Waters in this post hoping she would see it and consider joining us. The #moedchat moderators continued planning via our planning document and Voxer, an awesome app that turns your smart phone into a walkie talkie.Eighteen minutes later Sue responds.
I share that next week’s topic is going to be student blogging. Sue sends out a tweet promoting @moedchat’s topic of personal blogging. Awesomeness! Sue asks William if he would like to support #moedchat’s topic of student blogging with her. I am sharing this with the moderators via Voxer, and we’re all very excited!
Oops! William and one of the #moedchat moderators, Laura Gilchrist (a #moedchat moderator) will both be attending #edcampKS next week. (UPDATE: William and Laura were going to try and participate, but we have since decided to postpone this chat a week or two.) The #moedchat moderators were doing the happy dance on Voxer, at this point.
And the rest, as they say, is history (and archived, too).
To recap the head-spinning events that happened here,
- #moedchat moderators from around the state of Missouri were planning a Twitter chat on the topic of personal blogging using a Google Document and Voxer.
- One decided to tag an expert, Sue Waters, who lives in Perth, Australia, in a tweet hoping she would participate.
- In the meantime, she responds and another Missourian, William Chamberlain, who happens to be at the airport in Orlando, Florida responds, too.
- William can’t make this chat, but he and Sue exchange tweets and decide to help out #moedchat in a future chat on student blogging.
- Sue participates in the chat sharing her expertise in personal blogging with educators following #moedchat that evening.
This is a true story of the power of being a connected educator. Open sharing, connecting, collaborating, and searching for ways to be a better educator along with the trusted members of your PLN and the trusted members of their PLNs, all with the focus of increasing the learning and engagement of students.
Oh, the places you’ll go, and the people you’ll meet!
Do You have a story of connected learning? I hope you’ll share!
True Stories of Open Sharing – by Alan Levine
Ode to My PLN – The Educators’ Cafe
The Strength of Weak Ties – by Mark S. Granovetter
Blogging as Pedagogy: Facilitate Learning
Personal Blogging – by Sue Waters, Edublogs
Comments4Kids – by William Chamberlain
Candy Wrapper Store – used to create opening image