ISTE 2014 gave me the opportunity to connect with other tech coaches from around the country. Of course, then we all went home, and those newly made, fragile connections could easily have waned. Enter Twitter.
Now I know what you are thinking. "Isn't that the social network that all those celebrities use to share unnecessary details about their lives?" Well, yes. But it turns out that Twitter is also one of the most widely-used professional development tools by educators. Does that surprise you? It did me.
Encouraged by my experience at ISTE, I brushed the dust off my little-used Twitter account (see my feed to the right on this page) and I joined my first Twitter chat on Tuesday, July 29. If you'd like to know more about Twitter chats, check out Janet Fout's blog post on this topic.
This online discussion was dynamic, energetic, and inspiring. Moderated by PBS Digital Innovator Adam Babcock, who asked a series of great questions, the discussion centered around how to empower students to lead in technology use and integration. Participants exchanged ideas, suggestions, questions, needs, and resources, some of which I've been able to use or pass one to our Tech Club. I was inspired and honored to be a part of the conversation.
So what can I take away from this? The power of connection. As educators we can easily become isolated within the four walls of our classrooms or offices. But our profession is inherently a creative and personal vocation, and if we don't feed that creativity through energetic interaction with others, we run the risk of stagnation, frustration, and loneliness. It isn't always easy in a busy school day to work creatively with colleagues, but five or ten minutes of interaction on a social network like Twitter, especially when combined with curating and sharing resources on Pinterest, can make all the difference.
"Finding the Right Balance in Tech Use" (Tormala), Edutopia, April 10, 2018.
"Keynote is just a slide creator...isn't it?" (Tormala) EdTechTeam, Jan 2018.
"Getting Girls into STEM: The Power of Blended (and All-Female) Instruction". (Tormala) EdSurge, March 21, 2017.
"Confronting the Abominable Snow Day". (Gilbert & Tormala) Edutopia, Feb. 2017.
"Video Interviews with iPads: The Power of Mobile Technology". (Tormala) EdTechTeam, Jan 2017.
"Discomfort, Growth, and Innovation." (Tormala) Edutopia, Oct. 2016.
"5 Epiphanies on Learning in a 1:1 iPad Classroom." (Tormala) Edutopia, July 2014.