Blog Archives

Maximum Impact

Bumper Cars

There’s no other way for me to say this…being a Connected Educator has transformed my life and thinking. Using tools like Twitter and Voxer to collaborate with people across the planet has been one of the most exhilarating and humbling endeavors of my life. The energy and co-mingling between my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and colleagues at school helps me deliver a maximum impact for kids.

Bumper spark

At a recent family trip to the Mall of America, I was struck by the obvious reliance a bumper car has on the network of metal grates in the ceiling; my PLN is like an unceasing and conductive ceiling constantly sparking my learning.

The AMAZING staff and team we have at our school fuels a collective effort to make a difference for each and every child…together we’re able to handle the bumps and detours that are inherent in any innovative learning organization.

Most bumper cars rely on a conductive floor AND ceiling (each with differing polarities). The pole at the top of a bumper car touches the ceiling, while the contacts on the floor complete a powerful circuit. The resulting connection is rather effective…and tons of fun!

  • Where do you get your energy and “spark” from?
  • How are you able to make a maximum impact for kids each day?
  • How do you remain relevant?
  • Who inspires you to collaborate and grow?

We need to be constantly evolving and growing because our students’ world is changing. Our kids deserve relevant educators. There’s a world of collaborative educators out there willing to help…be sure to complete the circuit!

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Together We’re Better for Kids

I took this photograph of a MakerBot while attending ISTE 2014.

I rely on my PLN to share innovative ideas about pedagogy and opportunities for students. I took this photograph of a MakerBot while attending ISTE 2014.

Being connected on Twitter, Voxer, etc. has been a powerful supplement to the relationships I cherish with the dedicated teachers in our school.  In fact, the connections we’re cultivating that started out on Twitter have had a direct impact on our students.

Our school has had a core group of teachers collaborating the past year on 21st century learning spaces to promote student engagement, creativity, and innovation.  Staff have conducted site visits at other schools and met after school to collaborate on a regular basis. Their work has been inspiring, and I could go on for days about how phenomenal our team is.

As part of our conversations we have discussed bringing a MakerSpace to our school.   The purpose of these conversations and a potential MakerSpace has been centered on cultivating an ethos of student learning made possible through passion-based learning, experimentation, creation, risk-taking, failure, and design iteration. I learned about the MakerSpace concept via my Personal Learning Network (PLN).

My connections on Twitter equipped me with additional research on MakerSpaces and 3D printers to contribute to the conversations. Drew Minock, a friend in my PLN that I met via Twitter, took time to explain how he wrote a DonorsChoose.org grant for a 3D printer in his classroom.  We spoke a couple times via the telephone until I was ready to work with teachers interested in writing a grant in our school.   We submitted a grant and our project is now fully-funded!  Members of my PLN helped spread the word and retweeted project information.  We even had several people that I only know through Twitter donate to our students.  The process has been humbling!

Twitter has been a game-changing tool that empowers educators to forge supportive, student-centered relationships with one another from anywhere on the planet.   Twitter was the primary tool I used to connect to research about MakerSpaces and 3D printers. Twitter was how I learned about DonorsChoose.org. Twitter connected me to caring parents and educators across the country that also wanted to support students and our 3D printer project. However, this story isn’t really about Twitter; it’s about what some of these connections will mean for our students. When school starts this fall, our students will have an unbelievable opportunity to innovate using cutting-edge technology.

Together we are better for kids, and our students are the ultimate winners when educators collaborate within and across classrooms, schools, and states! Our MakerSpace project would not have been possible without an AMAZING team of educators at Greenwood Elementary…and the positive power of PLN.

Digital Leadership Challenge

Digital Leadership Challenge: Driven to Collaborate

Digital Leadership Badge

 A car has one windshield and when it becomes foggy the driver’s response is obvious.  The windshield of today’s school leader is not so unidimensional.

21st century school leaders are charged with leading complex change and in doing so they must serve with multiple windshields, or lenses.  Traditional lenses have included instructional leadership, culture, and community partnership. We must embrace an additional lens; our students are counting on us to provide digital leadership!

A digital leadership lens requires each of us to see the road with a new set of eyes.  Nearly every situation we encounter should be considered with this new perspective.  The reality is that our students find themselves in a connected world with limitless potential.  And still, we have barely scratched the surface of how this translates to 21st century pedagogy.

 

“If we lead today as we led yesterday, we rob our schools of tomorrow.”

~Adapted from John Dewey

 

It is a moral imperative that we model the vision and skills necessary to help students prepare for their future.  By embracing tools and technologies that are ubiquitous to students outside of school we add relevancy to the educational experience.  This is precisely where the Digital Leadership Challenge can help!

There are eleven challenges listed below for you to try.  Each challenge was designed by a connected-educator in the United States.  Submitters do not espouse to be experts in any area, and instead embrace their roles as learners.  Challenges are based upon the pillars from Eric Sheninger’s impactful book, Digital Leadership.

Educators that participate in the Digital Leadership Challenge will be eligible for an electronic badge based upon the points accrued over the next 12 months.  This badge could be displayed on a school website, Twitter account, blog, or referenced on a professional vitae.  Most importantly, your efforts will directly enhance our students’ learning experience.

The journey of 1,000 miles starts today and you are in the driver’s seat.  Best of all…you’ve got a myriad of collaborative colleagues sitting “shot-gun” and we’re eager to help.  You can track your progress by adding your name to a shared document.  Click HERE to access the shared document.  Share this link and invite other educators to take the challenge!

 

Challenge I: A School Communication Vehicle

Created by Brad Gustafson, Elementary Principal, MN

@GustafsonBrad on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Create a professional Twitter account and follow each of the eleven challenge submitters from this article.  Observe how they collaborate with their personal learning network (PLN).
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Create a separate school Twitter account strictly for school Tweets.  Post one Tweet about your school each week for an entire year.  Share pictures and insights about the amazing work being done in your classroom or school.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Participate in MESPA’s real-time Twitter chat on May 16, 2014 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  The chat will be co-moderated by Commissioner of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius.  Please use the #MESPAmn hashtag to join the conversation.  We’ll be following a Q & A format, and all educators are welcome.

 

Challenge 2: Make Your Commute a Learning Experience

Curt Rees, Elementary Principal, WI

@CurtRees on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Subscribe to an educational podcast.  There are many platforms to do this, but iTunes, Pod-o-matic, and Stitcher are the most popular.  I recommend these fine podcasts: EduAllstars, PrincipalCast, and Techlandia.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Share a podcast you enjoy with your colleagues.  Find an interesting episode and then tell your staff what you learned.  Model continuous learning by letting them know what you listen to in the car or as you run.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Record your own podcast or videocast for your school community.  It doesn’t need a lot of time or production.  Take your school newsletter and simply record yourself talking about upcoming events.  Audioboo makes it easy to record, upload, and share your voice.  YouTube Capture or TouchCast are all you need to send a video to your YouTube channel.

 

Challenge 3: A Window into your School

Patrick Glynn, Elementary Principal, MN

@GallyGopher on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Establish a Facebook page for your school.  Create one Facebook post each week describing student learning in action…and be sure to include photographs!
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Market your Facebook page to families and collect 100 “Likes.”
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Link your classroom or school’s Facebook page to your school Twitter account using Facebook’s setting options.  This will be a huge time saver and it will offer parents a window into your school.

 

Challenge 4: Public Relations in Overdrive

Jessica Johnson, Elementary Principal, WI

@PrincipalJ on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Start a UStream account at www.ustream.tv and explore how the site works.  Read this post or this post to get ideas about what types of school events you might broadcast.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Use your new UStream account to broadcast a school event. Set up the channel ahead of time and add a description. Advertise that the event will be broadcasted and provide your channel’s URL so parents know how to tune in.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Make broadcasting a regular school routine.  For example, if you want to increase engagement at PTO meetings, create a school PTO channel that will always broadcast the meetings. Then advertise this.  Share this as a tool for teachers to try with their classrooms to engage parents for special events like Readers Theater or other classroom activities.

 

Challenge 5: A 21st Century Bumper Sticker

Tony Sinanis, Elementary Lead Learner, NY

Joe Sanfelippo, District Superintendent, WI

@TonySinanis & @Joesanfelippofc on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: A twitter account is a wonderful way to tell your school’s story. Create a school or district hashtag and incorporate it into your school tweets. For example, every tweet Tony sends out about his school includes #Cantiague and when Joe tweets about his district he includes #GoCrickets! Tweet pictures of WHAT is happening in your space and explain the HOW and WHY too.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Encourage at least four (4) colleagues to join Twitter to tell the story of their students’ learning. It is imperative that the same hashtag is used throughout your organization to ensure that the brand is understood. When more than one member of the staff begins tweeting the WHATs, HOWs and WHYs of your organization, it becomes clear to the community that the brand promise matches the brand experience.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Provide at least one (1) new way to amplify your students’ voices so they can tell the story of their classroom or school. By doing so we are promoting critical thinking and communication skills while laying the foundation for students who will be college and career ready. Tony started doing video updates using the Touchcast app at #Cantiague. Students from each class are spotlighted every week. Give your students the microphone (or other communication tools) because they are the ones living the WHATs, HOWs, and WHYs of your learning organization. The goal of school branding is making everything about kids; that’s the perfect bumper sticker!

 

Challenge 6: Learner Engagement in the Fast Lane

Dwight Carter, HS Principal, OH

@Dwight_Carter on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Use TodaysMeet to create an engaging back-channel (real-time online conversation alongside a primary lesson, training, or event) in a class or at a staff meeting. Allow students/staff to post questions during a presentation or text-based discussion. Use the archive of the back-channel to assess learning and plan next steps.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Use at least three (3) monthly staff meetings as a platform for students and staff to share practical ways they integrate web 2.0 tools in the classroom to amplify student voice and increase engagement. Sample web 2.0 tools include Glogster, Edmodo, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, Polleverywhere.com, Socrative, and Facebook.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Use a current multimedia class or create a club to develop four (4) or more student-centered videos or Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that highlight learning experiences at your school. Post them to a school YouTube channel and share the link on your school Twitter and/or Facebook page. Collaborate with a teacher who is passionate about multimedia to guide the student group. Here’s an example!

 

Challenge 7: Increasing your Social Media Mileage

Dave Zukor, Integration Specialist, MN

@DZukor on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Your class can use Skype or Google Hangout to connect locally with another class somewhere else in your state.  Research information about classroom Mystery Skypes to learn about one engaging option.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Have your students work collaboratively online to create a cross-state project with students from another class in the United States. Use Google Docs, Skype, or any online tool.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Use a social media site to reach out to classrooms around the world.  Share your learning and build opportunities for your students to collaborate.  Start a classroom Twitter account, Google+, or another social media site.

 

Challenge 8: Fueling the Engine of Reflection

Rafranz Davis, Instructional Technology Specialist, TX

@RafranzDavis on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Create a professional blog site using a blogging tool like Blogger, WordPress or Weebly. Write your first post about what you hope to gain through blogging. Share your first post using a social media tool like Twitter.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Publish one (1) blog post per week for a month. Share reflections about the process, success and failures in your classroom or school. Share each of these posts using a social media tool like Twitter.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Connect with blogs written by other educators. Write six (6) blog postings reflecting on other educators’ posts.  Be sure to leave a comment in the original authors’ comment sections listing the URL to your related blog reflection/response. Share each of these posts using a social media tool like Twitter.

 

Challenge 9: Interstate Professional Development

Daisy Dyer Duerr, PreK – 12 Principal, AR

@DaisyDyerDuerr on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Join #ArkEdChat (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. CST) or another great Educational Twitter Chat. Participate in online, on-demand, professional learning with educators across the globe through social media.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Participate in an Educational Twitter Chat three (3) weeks in a row; consistency will help build a PLN and give you an understanding of what to expect from the chat’s moderators.  Then, introduce two colleagues or “edufriends” to the world of online Twitter Chats for Professional Development.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Administrators: Formulate a plan allowing your teachers to use Educational Twitter Chats for Professional Development; e.g. credit for participation in existing chats or use of stand-alone chats within your school/district. Teachers: Bring an Administrator who has never participated in this type of Social Media Professional Development to an Educational Twitter Chat like #ArkEdChat (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. CST).

 

Challenge 10: A Unique Space to Park

Terri Eichholz, Teacher of K – 5 Gifted Students, TX

@TerriEichholz on Twitter

 

Challenge 11: A Golden Opportunity for our Students

Eric Sheninger, High School Principal, NJ

@NMHS_Principal on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Leverage your social media connections to form at least one (1) strategic partnership that benefits your school (i.e. pilot Edtech program, unique professional development opportunity, guest speaker, authentic learning experience, donation, etc.).
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Form at least two (2) strategic partnerships and write a school Twitter or Facebook post sharing the benefit to your school.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Form at least three strategic partnerships and present at a local, state, or national conference on school initiatives.  Write a blog post, media release, or website entry sharing the benefit to your school.

 

How to Earn Badges

 DigiLead Badge 3DigiLead Badge 2DigiLead Badge 3

15-29 points earn the Gearing Up Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders for their collaborative efforts.

30-49 points earn the Road to Relevancy Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders for outstanding efforts in collaboration and connectivity.

50-66 points earn the Spark Plug Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders demonstrating innovation & exemplary 21st century practice while serving as agents of change.

 

Reprinted with permission from MESPA. Click HERE to view the original article published in May, 2014.

Finding Twitter

Nemo 2

Since finding Twitter, my professional growth and love of learning has been supercharged.  Being a “connected educator” has contributed to my being able to more effectively serve our school while increasing my ability to provide digital leadership.

Twitter provides me 24-7 access to research on best practices, blogs from innovative teachers, and information about communication tools that principals are using across the country.  Best of all, I have access to the creative work that authors, educators and parents are sharing around the globe thanks to the Professional Learning Network (PLN) we’re building.  Twitter allows me to share some of the amazing things that our talented staff and students are doing every day as well.

It is difficult to explain the sensation of being a connected educator until you’ve experienced the impact first-hand.  Instead, I offer an analogy that comes pretty close in the hopes you will consider getting connected.

Do you remember the East Australian Current (EAC) scene from the movie, Finding Nemo?  That rapid and exciting ocean current that connects warm water from the tropical Coral Sea down the east coast of Australia is very much like Twitter.  Those that are not a part of the EAC never really miss it…yet they may be missing out on the trip of a lifetime.

Let me explain. The fish that are meandering happily outside the EAC are perfectly content.  In fact, they are probably thriving just like many amazing educators that have not discovered the power of Twitter yet.  (Just like me before I took the plunge!) Once a fish breaks through the initial confusion and misperceptions of the EAC he’s in for the experience of a lifetime…just like Twitter.

I’m often inspired as I visit classrooms in the school I serve.  The work that teachers are doing is truly amazing.  Twitter is a tool that allows each of us to share our experiences and connect to others for additional support and perspective.  Chances are that YOU can add value to somebody else’s PLN too!

Consider expanding your bubble and growing your PLN.  When educators collaborate on their craft and embrace a learning mindset our students win!

Nemo 3

Image Credits: Disney/Pixar

Reflective Practitioners: Phases of AR in Education

Click the picture to download the complete PDF for the Phases of AR in Education.

Click the picture to download the complete PDF for the Phases of AR in Education.

Last evening I was engaged in a collaborative discussion on Twitter with two connected educators; Brad Waid and Kristen Eveland.  We were discussing the possible phases of Augmented Reality (AR) in Education.  The diagram above represents many of the ideas we brainstormed, and if you click on the image you’ll see a more complete PDF with one possible application of AR.

It’s important to point out that the phases are not intended to represent a hierarchy, and as such the “Awareness” level seemingly encompasses all of the phases.  There is certainly a comingling between different phases; certain Augmented Reality apps are inherently more equipped to allow for “Creation” than others.  However, I strongly feel that innovation is possible with most of the AR apps available to educators today.

What I valued most about our dialogue wasn’t the topic (although I LOVE the possibilities that AR presents).  I appreciated the deeper reflection and questions that our exchange generated.  Late in the evening on a Saturday night we were brainstorming the hows & whys of a game-changing tool.  It was also clear that the comments that Brad and Kristen shared were in support of creating an engaging student learning experience.

Connecting with fellow educational leaders to reflect on our practice and discuss the purpose of what we are doing for our students is one of the many things I value in my Professional Learning Network (PLN).  A special thanks to @TechBradWaid & @KEveland2 for their sharing.

What are your thoughts on the phases of AR in Education?  What did we miss?

Getting Connected

Click the pic to view episode #11 of the "2 Guys Show."

Click the pic to view episode #11 of the show.

Greenwood Elementary is filled with talented professionals committed to the success of each and every child.  Connecting with students and staff on a daily basis is one of the priceless privileges I have as principal.  

Lately, I’ve also had the opportunity to share some of the things our school is doing to engage students via Twitter.  It’s difficult to explain the magic our teachers bring to their classrooms in under 140 characters, so some of the collaboration has spilled over into video-conferencing and direct messaging.  (Twitter has been invaluable to my own professional development and getting connected was one of the best moves of my career as a leader/learner.)  

I recently had the opportunity to visit with two game-changing educators, Drew Minock and Brad Waid, from Bloomfield Hills Schools in Michigan.  We met on a popular podcast they host called the “2 Guys Show.”  They also have a website www.twoguysandsomeipads.com 

Click on the photo above to view a recording of the live show.  We had a blast discussing meaningful technology integration, Augmented Reality (AR) and making a difference for kids!  A memorable moment from the show for me was the “AR Ambush” that occurred.  You won’t believe how cool Brad Waid was under pressure and how he reacted to the Augmented Reality surprise!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the entire team at Greenwood Elementary for the passion they bring to our shared journey together, as well as the countless others that enrich my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

You can follow Brad and Drew on Twitter at:

@TechMinock

@TechBradWaid

What a Summer!!

This has been one of the most professionally rewarding summers I’ve had in a long time.  I’m taking some doctoral classes and have been immersed in some rich dialog and learning with some really neat friends and colleagues at Bethel University.  Our journey together as researchers has spanned three summers now, and the cohort I’m in has been a blessing.

I’ve also begun to expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN).  The teachers, administrators and authors I’m learning from have made me a more connected principal.  It’s been an amazing adventure and some of the educational technologies that I’m most excited about right now would not even be on my radar if it weren’t for my PLN.

Best of all, I’m able to take some of the innovative tools that I come across and share them with staff members at our school who are also exploring areas of passion.  Together we are really integrating some neat ideas and opportunities for students in our school!

Without further ado, here are my (current) favorite educational technology tools:

1.)  Twitter.  Connect, learn, grow, share, rinse & repeat.  Need I say more?  Hands down the biggest difference maker for me as a reflective and connected principal.

Aurasma

2.)  Aurasma.  Although I’m just scratching the surface of Augmented Reality (AR) apps, this one is a keeper!  It has ignited my imagination and the power of AR to bolster student creation, imagination, excitement, communication and creativity is limitless.  I originally entertained thoughts that this app may just be a glorified QR code generator, but it’s so much more.  To see a VERY basic example of what Aurasma can do check out my AR Resources page on this blog (second tab).

TouchCast3.)  TouchCast.  Got communication?  This app has all the bells and whistles you’d ever want to start creating your own podcasts.  Best of all….it’s easy to learn and has a very professional aesthetic.  I’ll admit my first TouchCast was an epic fail, but sometimes that’s where the best learning occurs.  If you’ve ever pondered replacing a traditional classroom/school newsletter with an interactive podcast that’s intuitive and fresh TouchCast is a MUST SEE.  Love. This. App.

Smule AutoRap4.)  Smule (Auto Rap).  Ever wish you were a rap star?  This speech converter is my wife’s nemesis!  A principal named Curt Rees shared this one with me, and I spent the better part of a day creating school related rap songs with my three young kids.  Can you imagine the creative potential in an elementary classroom?  Instead of a summative assessment at the end of a unit, how about a solid rubric and Smule’s Auto Rap App?!!  PS – Here’s a sample off my kids’ first solo album: http://khush.smule.com/autorap_52195b7a1902c&v2

5.)  WordPress.  I really enjoy writing, reflecting and sharing.  WordPress has been a fun new tool to connect with others and document some of my own learning as a school leader.  (Thanks for reading this blog by the way.)

“Connected” Principle #1: Be Your Best Pineapple

Kabob

If you’ve ever tried to be somebody you are not…this blog post is for you.  If you’ve tried to do every cool thing found on Pinterest or Twitter in the same school-year…keep reading.  And, if there’s anybody in your Professional Learning Network (PLN) that you want to be more like….you’re not alone.  Aspiring to grow and develop as a reflective practitioner is important.

In many respects, growth and change are NOT optional.  We cannot confine students to our own status quo; their ability to thrive in this global, hyper-connected environment depends on our readiness to learn!  That’s one of the primary reasons we connect with each other using Web 2.0 technologies.

However, students need professionals that are also comfortable leveraging, developing and sharing their own strengths.  Stay with me…here’s where the pineapple comes in.

While enjoying an anniversary grilled lunch with my wife recently, I looked at a shish kabob and began to draw connections to educational vision, collaboration and synergy; this analogous thinking can be an affliction, but it makes for interesting conversation at dinnertime!

Now back to the shish kabob.  The most magnificent thing about a grilled kabob is the glorious manner in which a diverse group of meats, veggies, and marinades commingle to create something that could not be accomplished individually.  Can you imagine if a fresh piece of grilled pineapple was so enamored with the beautiful, buttery goodness of a grilled red potato that it was consumed with actually becoming a spud?  Or what if that same pineapple absent-mindedly aspired to take on the best attributes of all of its other skewered companions?   Sounds unrealistic, right?!

The truth is…a pineapple doesn’t need to become a potato or any other kabob ingredient; a pineapple’s only job is to embrace its “pineappley goodness” (and stay connected to the kabob skewer so it doesn’t perish in the bottom of the grill).

We’ve all been impacted by inspiring educators doing really great things for kids.  I work alongside some of the best in the business, and also follow some really amazing teachers and principals on Twitter as well.  Learning from our PLN and connecting with them can be a magnificent thing.  However, it’s probably unrealistic to do all of the best things that others are sharing.

I recently had a revelation; when I focus on just a few difference makers, or key “change” ingredients, I’m more effective and can better support those around me.  Instead of trying to actually become the potato…and steak…and green pepper, try learning with and from them.

What if a kabob consisted of only peppers?!  Embrace your inner-self, collaborate, never stop learning…and above all, be your best pineapple!

Disclaimer: Author not responsible for any damage caused to your spell-checker by words made up in the aforementioned post.

CRYING “FOWL” ABOUT TWITTER? YOU MAY BE MISSING THE GOLDEN EGG.

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.

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