Teach Like a Pirate

So this post is going to probably start out being about Teach Like a Pirate but will end up being about Twitter--I can just feel it! So here goes!

Those of you who know me know that I love the book "Teach Like a Pirate" by Dave Burgess. I first heard about it last summer on Twitter. As a matter of fact, Twitter was all abuzz over this book. Since so many people were talking about it (it has its own hashtag, for goodness sake! #tlap) I had to check it out for myself. The book is a quick read and full of practical applications that any teacher can put into use in their classroom. Needless to say, I was hooked! And I knew that I wanted all teachers in Norfolk Public Schools to hear the PIRATE message.

So we developed our technology training for the year around Teach Like a Pirate. For the first Geek Gathering of the year we were able to purchase 20 books and give them to the first 20 people in the door at our Geek Gathering. Along with the help of Lisa Pospishil and Leann Widhalm, we introduced PIRATE to our geeks and had a great time!

Around this same time, we were looking for a keynote speaker for our January inservice. Of course I wanted Dave Burgess. So I DM'd Dave on Twitter and he replied that he would be interested. We exchanged some emails and it turned out that Dave was already booked for the day we were looking at. I was not to be deterred! I wanted to get Dave to Nebraska somehow! I forwarded Dave's speaking fees on to Bonnie Sibert at the Nebraska Department of Education who in turn sent them on to Rick Katt, director of Career and Technical Education. I was hoping that NDE would have Dave come for the Nebraska Career Education Conference in June.

In the meantime, we were ready to have our second Teach Like a Pirate Geek Gathering. This one I wanted to be special--I wanted to see if the pirate himself could join us via Google Hangout. Dave was absolutely game but he was already booked the day of our event. So instead of doing a live Hangout, Dave joined Lisa and I in a Hangout on Air which we recorded to show at our Geek Gathering. Dave was great! You could feel his energy coming across the screen. It was a great conversation that could have gone on all morning! So we showed the HOA during the Geek Gathering and our attendees were amazed that we had made this connection. The actual author of the book was there before them on the screen! I was Tweeting as I was watching and Dave who was flying to or from somewhere joined us on Twitter! How small does Twitter make the world?

Just before Lisa and I did the HOA with Dave, it was announced that Dave would indeed be at the NCE Conference as a featured speaker. So during our HOA, I told Dave that I would be in Kearney and we would definitely have to get together.

Last week was the NCE Conference. I got to meet Dave face to face. Even better, we took him out to eat one evening. The conversation was great and he even entertained us with some magic tricks. I was able to sit in on three of Dave's sessions at the NCE Conference. I think I have found someone who talks even faster than I do when I present! Dave's energy and enthusiasm are contagious! I would love to be in his classroom watching him work his magic. I tweeted during one of his sessions that I love watching a presenter who truly loves presenting. Dave is absolutely, hands down, one of the BEST presenters I have seen.

So back to the Twitter thing. None of this would have been possible without Twitter. I wouldn't have read the book, I wouldn't have had a Hangout with the author and I wouldn't have taken the author out to dinner! Even though I had never met Dave in person, I felt like I knew him since I have been following him on Twitter. Total strangers had tons to talk about because of the connection we made on Twitter.

A few things to take away from this post. Number 1: get on Twitter! You simply do not have the time to NOT be on Twitter. It is about connections. It is about people. It is about learning. Just do it! Number 2: read Teach Like a Pirate. And then read it again and again. I've reread the book several times and it never gets old. It is full of practical examples that you can put to use immediately. Number 3: if you get a chance to see Dave Burgess in person, do it! He is a great author. He is a great follow on Twitter. He does an awesome Google Hangout. But he is simply AMAZING in person!