My first full-time teaching gig started February 2004. That puts me 10 years into this whole education thing. I don't think I could have imagined 10 years ago that my best professional development would revolve around a hashtag.
Twitter has proven to be my favorite and most productive way of learning about my profession. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but now I can't imagine my life as an educator without it. Twitter allows me to connect with passionate and unbelievably competent educators around the globe on a daily basis. During my first few years of teaching I felt isolated. I'd reach out to like-minded teachers in my district but only collaborated during workshops and district meetings. We'd go to conferences and return inspired (and with lots of email addresses), but once back into the daily process of the job the emails would become less and less frequent. Then I started blogging.
Well, reading blogs. Dan's came first. And his led me to many others. All of a sudden I was reading about the ideas of a teacher in Wisconsin and realizing that I was having the same ideas. I could contact that teacher and work together to make our idea better. We could share strategies about implementation and reflect on our experiences.
Twitter took it to a whole 'nother level. Twitter took all those blog authors and put them in one place. Twitter allowed those authors to share a thought or a link or a resource instantly. Twitter connected me to everyone those authors were connected to. And now I'm part of #caedchat.
#caedchat is a weekly discussion on Twitter for educators in California. Moderators ask a series of questions and participants respond with Tweets. Last night was my favorite #caedchat. The topic was Design Thinking and the conversation was invigorating. I first heard about Change by Design through Chris Lehmann's blog. I read the book, loved it, and began to incorporate the principles into my daily work. However, I can't say that I ever expected that it would be the topic of a conversation I'd be having online with hundreds of educators I'd never met. I was hooked in with these educators around the state (and outside of it, I'm sure) who were brainstorming about bringing Design Thinking to our classrooms and our school systems. Incredible.
Professional development used to be something I'd "go to." A conference. A workshop. Twitter brings it to me. #progress