Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When I'm on Twitter

...I am a better teacher. I am more thoughtful of what I teach and, more importantly, how I teach it. I am more aware of how people interact. I am more thoughtful of my contribution to education. How can something like Twitter do all of this?

At first I tweeted in the classroom, learning the ins and outs a bit as well as seeing parent appreciation for receiving a glimpse of daily learning experiences.  Once I was ready and had the time (summer) to muddle around Twitter I immediately was empowered. Creating a personal account (my preference) I had access to incredible resources that included fabulous tech tools to use in the classroom, ed-related articles, and educators from around the world. I could request advice from an array of professionals and tweak my craft at the same time. Being on Twitter regularly for the 2010-2011 school year allowed some pretty powerful and amazing learning to occur. My favorite things were our use of twitter, blogging to comprehend math, and the multi-media projects we created.

Being a tweeter I have multiple opportunities to engage in chats, delineated by hashtags (#). I chat in #edchat, #elemchat, #midlevchat, #4thchat, and #tichat whenever I can. One thing that was abundantly clear is that kindness is expected in chats and amongst tweducators. Chat moderators make sure that things remain civil, ensuring that all opinions are respected. Beyond this I began to notice how people treat each other on and offline. We are aware of how stressful teaching can be and in turn become competitive and biting. We also know that adolescents can engage in cruelty online as well. It is my intention to bring that Twitter positivity into the offline world.

There is a growing number of adolescents on social media and an increased awareness for the potential for cyber cruelty. I myself have been attacked on social media on a couple of occasions. Because of all of these things twitter has inspired me to change our students' purpose for social media ~ learning and sharing. Inspiring other educators to use social media in their classrooms, at all ages. And engaging educators in a chat that I co-moderate, #digcit, about being more thoughtful about the types of citizens we are creating on and offline. Of course, blogging has also been a way for me to not only reflect on my teaching but to share some tools that I adore (Evernote, Goodreads, Twitter).

So it is with this reflection that I am realizing I need to go back to the twittersphere, my PLN. I have not been on as often this school year and have engaged in fewer conversations. In turn I am noticing the impact. I am incredibly dissatisfied with my teaching and unfulfilled professionally. I suppose that I am uninspired. I am promising myself to return to Twitter. Becoming empowered once again, and continuing to make a difference.