For the last four years I was living in Shanghai, stuck behind The Great Firewall of China, and it was frustrating! The government restricted internet access to the sites that they wanted people to view and nothing else. This meant that social media sites like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and many blogs were considered off limits. Fortunately for communication purposes with my family and friends back home I was able to find a way to access Facebook 🙂 An even better break was that I learned to access and take advantage of Twitter and blogging as a tool for professional growth.
Over the last few years I have slowly built my Personal Learning Network (PLN) in what, I’ve come to realize, is a very close knit and supportive educational network organized on social media sites. It was no accident that I came to be involved in this network, it was very intentional and motivated by the tremendous amount of articles I was reading about Twitter for educators.
As I continued to read about the power of social media, specifically Twitter, as a tool for educators to grow professionally I realized I needed to investigate further. I started my Twitter account and began lurking, it was intimidating for a long time, so I just kind of watched. Then things slowly started to come clear and Twitter became a tool for my personal growth. At the height of my use I was interacting with people all over the world on a regular basis including standing, hour-long, Twitter chats twice a week. I’ve slowed down a bit with the transition to a new job but I continue to use Twitter as a resource for professional growth. The power of social media to help educators find the tools, resources, and support needed to grow in a very individualized way is truly inspiring.
Next week we will hold our first SIPs of the year and I will be offering a SIP on getting your Twitter network up and running. I plan to supplement this session with follow ups and perhaps more intermediate level sessions in the future. If you could use a solid resource for growing as a professional, come check out my SIP. If you’re at all intrigued but just not sure of how or what to do, please come to this session. If you’ve heard of this “Twitter thing” and just want to learn more about the possibilities, come investigate!!
This past summer by PLN led me to some amazing opportunities that, without Twitter, I would’ve never discovered. I attended a free edcamp, I was given a free book and wrote a review for Middleweb, and I was able to meet some of my virtual PLN friends in real life…it was really cool!! I’m still learning, growing, and expanding my PLN – the process will never end.
At this point in time, with the power of the internet and social media, there’s just too many amazing ideas out there for you NOT to go explore and discover. Take the leap, get connected.