Friday, May 18, 2012

Twitter the Best PD going!

I am a department chair at my school.  This means that I teach two classes and supervise the department during the other hours of my day.  This year, due to a spike in enrollment, I taught two sections of AP US History.  I will not get into the details of the year but I will speak briefly about the impact the AP course has had on me the last 3 weeks!

I would classify myself as a Twitter newbie when it comes to using the medium for professional purposes.  That usefulness was relayed to me at the Teaching the iGeneration workshop I attended earlier this semester.  Since then I have been managing multiple streams with pertinent hashtags, following dozens of Ed. leaders, teachers, and bloggers, writing a bit (and posting it), and dabbling in Twitter chats (which I still have not fully figured out!).

Then....BOOM! (a couple people I follow use this as they Retweet great stuff, I love it!)  The AP crunch hit me and it hit me hard.  I found myself reviewing with groups of students, preparing review activities, planning a pre-AP test breakfast...etc.  I would gaze at the pinned Hootsuite tab on my Chrome and make a decision, can't now!  I would open the iPad to check email and the FlipBoard app seemed to be begging to be opened.  I passed.

Here is what I learned during this 8 day hiatus.

1. I can walk away for a while, it is possible.

2. I did not miss the devices or the technology or the bells and whistles.  I missed the advice, conversations, links to pertinent articles, reassurance, and the professional connectedness

3. I do not want to disconnect for a stretch like that again.

The reason is that Twitter has introduced me to an ongoing conference, a non-stop workshop, and an ongoing PLC meeting.  It allows me to come and go and to grab what I need.  I get to eavesdrop on some meaningful conversations that are often directly related to questions we are asking at our school.  I was beginning to develop what I can only assume is some Twitter confidence to start posting more myself.  I was beginning to leverage the # and tried a scheduled chat (#edchat).  I have missed the professional gratification and development the last few days.

As I look to next school year I know I am going to schedule in "Twitter" time on a daily basis.  One year ago I would have laughed at that.  To take 15-20 minutes each day to check the feeds and streams and line up articles and blogs to read later is Professional time well spent.  So, while I missed the Twitter PD over the past few days I have learned its usefulness and my need to incorporate it meaningfully into my daily routine and plan.  Best PD going!


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