There has never been a better time to be an educator. We finally are moving away from teacher directed classrooms full of compliance and charging full steam ahead on the student-centered, passion train. Moving towards what matters - the child - has never been more apparent. So what has happened to cause this swift, encouraging movement? Easy, TWITTER!
We now live in the Twitter education era. Twitter is the biggest game changer in education. I deem Twitter is what pumps the blood in education, and I believe my claim can be supported.
Have you ever gone into a classroom and a class is doing something so innovative and fantastic they don’t even see a new adult has entered the room? There is a great chance that what they are doing stemmed from an idea shared on Twitter. The educators up on Twitter are always pushing the boundaries and then sharing their amazing lessons and stories. These ideas seamlessly find there way across the globe.
An example of this is a letter I wrote to Megan, a shy girl that needed to feel valued. Earlier this year I gave her a letter asking her to doodle on my teacher desk. The purpose was I wanted her to feel appreciated to boost her morale. You see, she is the best doodler on the planet! The problem was she never saw that as a talent. The desk, an area often seen as off limit to kids, quickly became a canvas for the world to witness. Quickly retweets and positive comments from other educators flooded my Twitter, which I of course shared with Megan. It was a mere day later that I observed many more “Megan’s” on Twitter. My letter, with a different student name on it, appeared in three other classrooms across North America. This is not a rare example. Ideas are shared and stolen all the time. Just last week I asked Dave Burgess to steal his #TLAP topic and he replied, “Of course, we are pirates and that’s what we do!”
But we are more than just pirates, we are passionate swashbucklers! The educators who are participating in edchats, sharing ideas, lurking and building a personalized learning network (PLN) are job oriented, vehement educators who don’t stop work at 3:00 but rather continue to educate themselves so the kids in their class and school get the most out of their education. They sacrifice family time to join these professional chats with smiles on their faces knowing that they are becoming more knowledgeable. Every single moment we are on Twitter our practices are improving and in turn our students are gaining opportunities that would have been unthinkable in the pre-Twitter era.
But most important is the fact that the more a teacher is on Twitter, the more engaged and passionate they become about teaching. I went on Twitter just over a year ago, and I believe that Twitter has allowed me to find “me”. I look at the pre-Twitter me and feel like I was directionless. I knew what I liked but I did not know what I fully valued. Twitter brought out the fire in me to better my pedagogy. It gave me a platform where I can build off of my values and tweak them accordingly. If you were to read my prior blogs, my about.me/rondorland page or my Twitter profile you would read all about how reaching the student’s heart is what I believe reigns supreme. This concept, which now fully encompasses my beliefs, only came to the forefront because of this game changing, world improving platform.
I want to thank my friend Hugh McDonald for sitting down with me at Starbucks two years ago and opening my eyes to the power of Twitter. Sorry for taking a little time to see the value but I finally came around! And because of you I have gained knowledge, a burning fire to better my practice and I have gained amazing friends. Now I want to hear your stories and I ask the Tweducators around the world to spread Twitter like a wildfire, and get your friends on this miraculous platform. Your classroom and your kids need a tweducation!