In February of 2009, at the urging of the edurockstar Tony Vincent, I signed up for Twitter. In terms of professional development, it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. By following like-minded educators all over the world who graciously share their expertise, resources, and words of encouragement, I have grown immensely over the nearly seven years.
This week, I made some new discoveries via Twitter. From Toby Price, I learned about Storyline Online, an educational website that hosts a collection of videos of famous actors reading children’s books. The videos feature pleasant music behind shots of the book’s pictures and the actor reading. I immediately shared the site with my staff, thinking this would be a great resource, especially for primary classrooms.
I learned from Tony Vincent about Air Scanner, an iOS app that turns your iPhone or iPad into a mobile document camera by wirelessly mirroring your device’s camera to a web browser, which can then be projected via an LCD projector. The app is normally $1.99, but Tony tweeted that it was free for a limited time (it's now back to $1.99). Again, I quickly sent email and Remind messages to my staff letting them know about this gem. Teachers are already using the app in their classrooms to quickly and easily display student work during lessons.
And if finding those two resources wasn’t enough, I read a tweet that led me to an inspiring blog post by Adam Welcome about how the impact we make on our students goes far beyond simply teaching them to read and write. You can read Adam’s post here.
But you know what’s crazy? I found all three of these resources within a span of 24 hours. I became more informed, armed with more resources and inspiration, and in turn shared this new knowledge with my staff, making them stronger. All in less than 24 hours. I’ve never met Tony, Toby, or Adam, yet because of their tweets, I’ve grown professionally.
I was reminded once again about the power of Twitter and became re-energized to spread the word about this online tool. There is so much to be learned, 140 characters at a time, and so many educators out there don’t know it yet. It reminded me of The Matrix.
In the movie, Morpheus tells Neo that what he has accepted as real, isn’t. If you’ve never seen the movie or need a refresher, watch this short clip.
And now the parallel…
How many teachers and administrators have accepted that the only place to learn is within the walls of a school, face to face with others? How many have accepted this as real, when in fact, Twitter could open their eyes to a world of learning previously unimagined? Twitter is like the red pill.
Have you taken the red pill? Have you discovered all that Twitter has to offer, if you follow the right people? Or have you previously chosen the blue pill? If so, it’s not too late to change your mind.
I was inspired this week to do my part to get more of my colleagues on board, to take the red pill so to speak, so I’ve scheduled a workshop within my district to teach those interested about Twitter and how it can help them become better educators. If you’ve already experienced the power of Twitter, leave a comment letting others know how it's positively influenced you. Let’s help spread the word!
Which pill will you choose?
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for over 20 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
Brent on Twitter