Tuesday, January 24, 2017

George Couros, Connectedness, Twitter And a Challenge

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of listening to George Couros. George was the keynote speaker for ESU 8's Winter Workshop. This is not the first time I have heard George and I certainly hope it won't be the last. I learn something new every time I hear George. George always pushes me to think differently and I appreciate that.

I sat down this morning to send an email to my administrators summarizing my thoughts on George's presentation. And then I thought, this message should be bigger. So I decided to do a blog post instead.

Here are the Tweets I sent out during George's session yesterday.


It's no secret, I love Twitter. And I love what it has done for me as an educator. I get so many ideas from Twitter. I strive to do better because of all of the awesome things I see people sharing on Twitter. Twitter makes me want to do more, try new things, be a better educator. Prior to Twitter, I thought I was good at my job. After joining Twitter, I realized I had so much more to learn.

George said a lot of great things yesterday. But two things in particular resonated with me:


When I first started my teaching career, I taught in a small town in the middle of nowhere - the sign outside town literally proclaimed it the "middle of nowhere." I was fortunate that I had another business teacher in my school that I could collaborate with. When I first started my teaching career, the Internet was just coming to K-12 education. So those first years, I had the teacher next door and got to meet occasionally with other business teachers at the ESU or at a statewide conference. But isolation was definitely a thing back then.

George said "isolation is a choice educators make." I couldn't agree more. We have so many simple ways to connect. No longer do we just have to learn from the teacher down the hall. We can learn from teachers all over the world. If you choose not to take advantage of the power of technology to connect, that is your choice.

Illiterate is a strong word. George used it when talking about hashtags and Twitter handles. If you don't know what those two things are (and I would add how they work) you are becoming illiterate. What? Teachers illiterate? Wow. Big statement but I completely agree. At one point in time it was okay to think, "Oh this Twitter thing. It is just a flash in the pan. It isn't here to stay." Twitter launched in 2006. People, Twitter is TEN YEARS OLD! As of March 2016, Twitter had 310 MILLION active users. Twitter is here to stay and you can no longer ignore it. 

So you don't know how to use Twitter and you are scared. I get it! I was the same way when I first started using Twitter four and half years ago. What do you do when you don't know how to do something? Reach out to someone for help! I would love to help you on your Twitter journey. My good friend, Craig Badura, offers these five tips for Twitter newbies. But don't be afraid to reach out to someone for help. It is okay to ask for help. 

Now, this is where I need to get real with my administrator friends for a minute. I hope George got you thinking about yourself and your "connectedness" and your use of technology. Now might be the perfect time to dust off that Twitter handle and get in the game! And it might be time to encourage your teachers to do the same. We cannot expect our teachers to take the leap if we don't first. Buildings who have technology using principals have technology using teachers. Buildings who have principals who are willing to take a risk when it comes to technology and put themselves out there, have teachers who are willing to take risks when it comes to technology. I have seen this first hand! In my buildings where I have technology using, Tweeting administrators, I have technology using, Tweeting teachers. If you want your teachers to feel comfortable with trying new things with technology, you as the administrator have to model that. I can't get more real than that.

This was my first Tweet, June 27, 2012


Over the last four and a half years I have Tweeted 18,526 times. I have shared thousands of resources with teachers but have gotten so much more in return. I have met amazing people on Twitter many of whom I call my friends and many of whom I have never met face to face. These people encourage me, support me, challenge me and make me a better educator. I have chosen to be connected. The time is now. Make a choice. Do you choose isolation or connection? Do you choose to be illiterate or educated? It is scary but it is absolutely worth it.


2 comments:

  1. Nicely stated, Mickie. Using twitter more often will need to become a habit for me. I feel I view and RT quite a bit but rarely post an original message. #dobetter#growtoit

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  2. We appreciate the extra time you put into your message. I like the genuine "real" feel to it and your passion for what you do comes out loud and clear. The thing that stood out for me during the presentation (and you stated this earlier) was George talking about "making kids do what works for us", but we struggle with letting them "do what works best for them". When we allow students to demonstrate what they can do (and provide opportunities for them to showcase how they do it well) and we truly invest in their unique talents, engagement levels soar and real learning occurs and... deeper connections (not just digital) form). Keep teaching and reaching with your message! We will keep working at being better "connected" in the future. #oldschoolevolution

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