Then, at FETC in Orlando, Florida last year, I found out that if I tweeted about things at the conference, I could win things.
Teachers love winning things. Our pay does not match well with our desire to provide cool opportunities for our students. Free is good, and we all want it when we're at conferences.
So I tweeted. And people responded. Weird. A favorite, a retweet, they're better than a like on Facebook, so ding, I tweeted more. I didn't want JUST ads for products to be in my history, so I tweeted things about FETC. More responses. I followed, people followed back.
And in that, I was suddenly realizing how much good there is in the teaching world of Twitter. It's almost like a its own thing. Later last year, I found out about all of the educational chats on Twitter, and I started joining in.
And my teaching world changed.
On a personal level, I grew so much from the reflecting and communication about my craft. My confidence in my ideas skyrocketed. When I thought something might be good to try, I had enthusiastic pals in my PLN (Professional Learning Network) with whom I was bouncing around the best ideas of my career.
Because of my connectedness online, I've made a classroom that has gotten me attention, praise, and a happy group of 3rd graders. I've had the backup I need to put more and more power into my students' hands. I've discovered one of the best ideas I've seen in my career, using Genius Hour (or Passion Time) to give students the power to take charge of their learning. And recently, through hashtags that have been introduced by pals like Rosy Burke, my students and I have been doing cool things like sharing our #classjoy and #100serviceacts. We're writing about how #YouMatter, we're taking time to #Read4Fun. We're Tweeting out student blogs and Instagramming pictures of fun things we're doing in class. We're Skyping with other classes.
On Twitter, I learned about EdCamp, a teaching phenomena that's growing and growing, I've made face to face connections with some amazing teachers, people like Tammy Neil from Branford, FL. I've attended EdCamp Citrus, Orange and Branford, and had some of the best professional development and educational conversations of my career. With some friends from my school, and help from Tammy, we're putting on EdCamp St. Augustine on May 9, and I'm headed to EdCamp USA on May 29.
I've made friends with the people behind the Superior Tech for Teachers Conference, and am planning to speak and present this June.