Connected Educators, Building a Community. #NAISToF #edchat

Another post for NAIS’ Teachers of the Future program… Original post here:

Let me start by saying this was not my original idea for this blog post. But after being a part of the planning committee for edcampmetrodc and watching the Connected Educators Google Hangout, I decided that I needed to write a post about being connected and the power of twitter. I have learned from more amazing educators through twitter than through any conference or professional development opportunity. To me, twitter is the single most important tool that I’ve found in terms of keeping me inspired, creative, and staying on top of things (as best as one can, at least). Twitter allows me to stay connected and expand my connections constantly.

We have talked, many times, about how we can be more connected in the Teachers of the Future program. We have discussed google hangouts and twitter chats, but nothing has really taken off. As we come close to the end of the school year, I feel a little saddened by the fact that I feel I’m going to lose touch with what you awesome educators are doing. I really, really enjoyed all of the videos that we put together at the beginning of the year – they gave me a real personalized sense of who everyone was and a glimpse into passions and interests. I have also really enjoyed everyone’s blog posts… But I just feel like we could be doing so much more!

So I guess this brings me back to the importance of twitter. Just reflecting on edcampmetrodc, when putting together a summary of the day, the first thing I took to was twitter. Twitter is a powerful backchannel at conferences, to share and keep track of ideas and resources from sessions. Additionally, when searching through what people had tweeted for the day, I was able to learned about what went on in the sessions that I could not attend (since multiple ones were going on simultaneously). The twitter feed from the day was also a way for me to keep connected with people that I met, for me to learn more about what they are currently doing, and to keep up to date with their projects in the future. I think one of the reasons we didn’t start using twitter to keep connected early on was because some people didn’t really use twitter or didn’t feel that comfortable with it. I’ll be honest (and I know I’m being a bit extreme here), but I almost think that being on twitter should be a requirement in this program. I don’t think that a weekly twitter chat is necessary, or even the best way to get things started. In fact, that could be overwhelming to most twitter newbies. When I started using twitter, I just lurked at first. After a couple months of that, I just began retweeting. It really took me several months to feel comfortable sending out my own tweets. I’m on the shy side, and putting myself out there like that was just scary at first. But once I started to really see the power of twitter and what an amazing community I could become a part of, the excitement of it all way overpowered any fears, and now I don’t know what I would do without my twitter buddies. So I’d like to propose the following: let’s just start by creating a hashtag – #NAISToF (capitalization doesn’t matter). Those of us using twitter already can get things started by tweeting to that hashtag (or adding the hashtag to a RT). If our goal could just be for each of us to contribute 5 things to that hashtag, that would give us a great place to start. I’ll be responsible for sharing that out with the group for now so that even people who don’t yet have a twitter account can follow. I really hope that this post sparks some conversation.

Please feel free to disagree with any (or all) of what I’ve written. My hope in all of this is that we stay connected and learning from one another, well beyond this year!

PS – For those of you new to twitter, who would like a place to start, you can also just take a glimpse through my daily reads list.

I would recommend following these #edchat Super Stars

PPS – If you have a daily reads list, please share in the comments!

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