If you’re like me, you have a passion for learning. You feel as though you need to be as informed as possible on the latest trends and up to date with how pedagogy is changing to transform learning in the 21st century. This shift in how innovative educators are now thinking and doing is inspiring and motivating. Although I am learning daily and reading more than ever before, I remind myself that it’s a process. It takes small steps in the right direction, reflection, followed by action to make sure our practices are on point and congruent to the times we are living in.
Since November of this year, I’ve been connected globally through Twitter. I know, I know, you must be asking yourself “What took her so long?” … and trust me, I have this thought on repeat inside of my head; but all thanks to my best friend @AnnickRauch, I’m here now and that’s all that matters. You see, I believe credit should be given when merited and the “Get Nycol on Twitter Award” goes to her, and I couldn’t be more thankful and here’s why:
- I never realized how Twitter could do wonders in my field. The seasoned and forward thinking educators are all on there. In just a few minutes, you can learn something new, ask a question using a hashtag and get answers from others who have tried and tweaked it. It’s effective and efficient. I have yet to read a Tweet on my feed from someone that has a negative attitude or a fixed mindset. You choose who you follow, therefore you surround yourself with others who share the same beliefs and can challenge yours to make you grow.
- You’re instantly opened to new perspectives and points of view, which deepens your thinking and elevates learning.
- You feel empowered. All of the people I’ve been following are doing AMAZING things that inspire me to follow suit because I know it’s what’s best for our learners. If they are doing it, so can I. It changed my “I can” to “I am”.
- Being influenced by many authors, I’m seeing all of the ideas I’ve read in books put into practice: student-led classrooms, design thinking, flex seating and more. Seeing more examples of how others are doing it allows me to highlight and adjust my own practices, always placing the student in the center of his/her learning. You don’t have to physically be in a classroom to witness all of its greatness.
- The daily professional development is satisfying and literally at your fingertips from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you happen to be. Once the kids are in bed, instead of catching up on a good show, I’ve been flipping through the pages of a good book, reading someone’s latest blog post or looking at pictures or videos of events happening in classrooms around the world. PD in your pjs? Yes please!… I mean, who doesn’t look forward to learning in their pyjamas? It’s a monthly occurrence in my classroom!
Twitter is a tool I’m still discovering as I go. Similar to when I let go of some of the control and place it back into the hands of my students after I reflect and implement a practice taken from one of my inspirational reads. By allowing yourself to take risks, you reap the rewards. You can’t ever lose, you either win or learn. The same can be said for our students.
This past month, I seized the opportunity to take part in the online conference #DitchSummit hosted by the incredible Matt Miller (@jmattmiller). It’s just what I needed during my Winter Break. Having watched all of the speakers, I’ve learned during my time “off” and have added some new titles to my Next on my reading list. It’s also quite inspiring to see and hear some of the authors who have influenced my thinking and teaching practices this year, Paul Solarz and Dave Burgess specifically, in action right before my own eyes. I still wish I would have had Dave as my history teacher in high school.
All of this Twitter Talk has me thinking of how I can incorporate this tool into my classroom. I believe all the points I’ve made above are more than enough reason to utilize this tool with students in the classroom. I see young minds using Twitter and it’s impressive. The possibilities are endless. I want that for my students as well while they learn all about their digital footprint. Twitter has got me hooked. I can’t wait to see where this tool will take me next and change another I can… to I am!