Photo Credit: Yahoo Images

I’ve been on Twitter for just over a year and continue to be amazed at the power of social media as it relates to my own growth as a school leader.  When I connect with colleagues and meet new principals one of the first things I share is the value of Twitter as a professional development tool.  Admittedly, my Twitter exaltations have included plenty of buzz words, so my goal here is to provide a pithy and rhetoric-free explanation of how I’m using Twitter to learn and connect.

The impact of a PLN cannot be Overstated

“You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren.” ~William Hudson

Twitter has allowed me to expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN) to include some of the most experienced and inspirational teachers and leaders in the country.  The staff at Greenwood Elementary is amazing…truly amazing.  When I connect with additional educators around the country I am able to quickly exchange ideas and bring some of the best resources back to our school to support areas that our teachers are interested in.  The sum of all of us is better than each of us working independently, and the collaborative environment that Twitter provides helps me to fly more like an eagle instead of a wren working in isolation.

Learn with Others that Share your Passion for Learning

“Birds of a feather flock together.” ~Author Unknown

Networking with other educators that share my passion for helping kids succeed is inspiring.  This Sunday evening I was working on an Augmented Reality project and was thinking through the best way to approach some of the technology work-flow pieces.  I posed a question to somebody I really respect on Twitter and received his opinion back in less than 2 minutes.  The access Twitter provides to other like-minded professionals is uncanny, and by using hash tags and Twitter chats I’m able to further connect about issues important to our school.

Each of Us has Something to Offer….and Something to Learn

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” ~Chinese Proverb

The breadth of experts in the fields of education, business and technology is staggering.  The fact that I have access to their insights is really quite cool!  More importantly, I can connect with other principals and teachers that are doing the work every day.  Twitter provides an outlet for the teachers that are doing exceptional things to share with others; it allows me to personalize my own learning.  The vast amount of quality resources, links, podcasts and blogs that are shared on Twitter would take a person weeks to discover on their own.  Twitter enables those that have ideas to share with others looking to improve and grow.    

Twitter has helped me broaden my PLN, connect with others that have similar passions and exchange resources and research like no workshop or conference ever has.  Most importantly, I’m able to take the ideas/support that I receive via Twitter and bring them to the dedicated professionals at our school. 

I recorded a baby bird that fell from a nest beneath our deck and created a short video tribute to the power of Twitter and soaring with your PLN.

About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on July 20, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I just joined Twitter myself for the reasons you described in your blog. Thanks for the video. What exactly do you use Augmented Reality for at your school? I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that many of my connected colleagues have mentioned it.

    • Hi Angelica, Thanks for your feedback and question. I just learned about Augmented Reality (AR) a few weeks ago through networking with my PLN. I plan to use the technology to enhance communication and integrate some additional innovation into our Professional Development processes. We’ve got an amazing team of teachers, and my guess is that they will also see value in the possibilities of AR. I will document some of my trials (and failures) in the weeks to come. Thanks again!

  2. Natalie Petersen

    I completely agree with your view of Twitter and have had the same beneficial experiences over the last two years or so. I also find Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to be fabulous resources for educators. Those sites make learning new things so interactive and fun!!
    As I read your post about Twitter, it made me realize that I often ”take” ideas on all these social media networks, but I rarely comment, share, or post my own ideas. ”Giving back” is being added to my to-do list today! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing, Natalie. I just came across a new communication/creation app called “TouchCast” from somebody I follow on Twitter today. One way we can all “give back” as you mentioned, is by I plan to share some of the best tools I’ve come across with our staff this year. Should be fun!!

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