Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Power of My PLN

As a teacher, I always used to be the type of guy who got ideas from conferences, and trying to brainstorm how to get through the curriculum in the least boring way possible. When I wasn't at work, I wasn't thinking about education much, and other than begging to go to FETC each year, there wasn't a lot of interacting about teaching on my docket.

As I've said before, getting online changed so much for me. Reading so many good ideas from other teachers helped me re-frame my focus. Sharing my ideas helped me to learn which ones had power.

Growing my network expanded my conference. It broadened my thinking. I started taking more chances in favor of making my classroom into a place that I wanted to be, and that my students would want to be.

The opportunity to meet friends from my Twitter PLN led me to EdCamp Citrus last fall. Suddenly, I wanted to share ideas all the time. I invited coworkers to my classroom for lemonade, cookies, and a share session called Snack 'n' Share.

As the sharing grew, I made more and more connections - online, and at work. The ideas grew in my classroom. My students were blogging, MAKEing, Genius Hour-ing. We were Tweeting, Instagramming, sharing, sharing, sharing. We use hashtags in class like #YouMatter, #ClassJoy, #100ServiceActs. We've been Skyping with classrooms around the country. And it's been a phenomenal ride for my students and me.

There have been more EdCamps, Orange, Branford.... We're planning EdCamp St. Augustine. In May, I'm headed to EdCampUSA in Washington DC. And as all of this stuff is happening, opportunities and accolades have been snowballing. I don't know where it's all leading, but I'm doing some of the best teaching of my life, and I am so excited.

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