I love technology and always have. Several years ago, making videos of school sporting events and showing them at our morning meetings led into a role of technology coordinator. My school knew they needed more educational technology, and since I had some skills they asked me to take on the role. Since that time, I have worked to build my technology integration knowledge and stay on top of trends and tools that might fit our learning environment. This journey has been full of peaks and valleys, but I have grown so much professionally and personally that I do not regret any of it. However, I find myself now feeling out of touch with my building.
One of my greatest learning tools has been Twitter. It has been a little over four years since I started on Twitter, and have grown to rely on it for many things, especially personal professional development. There are so many people to learn from, resources shared, and discovery of professional learning opportunities on Twitter. Just the number of weekly edchat topics is astounding, where educators from around the globe share, discuss and collaborate on various topics. I have never met most of these people, and yet connect with them on a regular basis and feel like I have known them for years. But is this authentic? Is this Twitterverse the true Augmented Reality?
I find myself wondering this as I have moved further forward in my technology role this past year. Given a stronger position, I was eager to bring in the knowledge I have gained with greater consistency to all parts of the school. Yet I feel like I am too far ahead with the things I mention. People don’t see the need, or understand the road technology has taken in education, not just for students but for staff as well, at least from what I have learned on Twitter. Ideas and thoughts for personal professional development get the strange stares and wondering on who would participate in a Twitter chat, let alone grasp the understanding of the power of Twitter.
So then I ponder, is the Twitterverse creating for me a false sense of belonging? When I am collaborating and communicating with my Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter or other places such as Google+, I feel like I fit in, I feel like I am on the right path for my thoughts and ideas. We are all discussing the same articles, posts and blogs. The @Zite articles we share are similar and are continuously retweeted to spread the information. The information I gain seems to make sense, until I bring it back. Then I feel like I am a fish in the wrong pond.
When I feel out of touch, I think back to March when I traveled to @i_Con2013 and event I learned about on Twitter from Patrick Larkin (@patrickmlarkin) and Andrew Marcinek @andycineka. It was a great day of professional development on learned about on Twitter. I was out of a session early, and heard another presenter talking about Twitter chats, so I popped in. I introduced myself and it turns out the presenter was Sandra Paul (@spaul6414 ), a woman I had communicated regularly with on Twitter. It was like seeing an old friend. That day felt like I was in touch. Same as to when I attend the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Academic Tech Retreat and find colleagues talking the same cares and concerns surrounding educational technology.
I think also to the fact that around the same time I was contacted my Tom Murray (@thomascmurray) to collaborate on the idea of an edtech twitter chat. After a Google Hangout with Susan Bearden (@s_bearden), Katrina Stevens (@KatrinaStevens1) and Alex Podchaski (@ajpodchaski), #edtechchat was born. The chat has taken off and connected so many more people with regards to educational technology. So can we all be so out of touch that what we are discussing is not reality?
If it is tech related, some people think it’s my realm and don’t appear to have the personal motivation to gain understanding. This the professional goal I have set for myself, to help bring people the table to gain from the learning that is out there on a daily basis. I want to show them the power of personal professional development and how rewarding and invigorating it can be. I want them to know that the Independent School Chat (#isedchat) was started by Lori Carroll (@lcarroll94), someone who is in our own state. They need to “meet” Scott Rocco (@ScottRRocco), Brad Currie (@bcurrie5), and Bill Krakower (@wkrakower) who make Saturday mornings so fun with #satchat. They need to experience the wonders of Jerry Blumengarten’s (@cybraryman1) website which has a page for everything and is one of the moderators of #edchat. These people are just a few of the amazing people in my PLN that remind me everyday that I am not out of touch and have the power to help others learn. I thank all my PLN for making me keep swimming upstream.