Home > PLN, Practical Ideas > Adding to My Own Bag of Tricks

Adding to My Own Bag of Tricks

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

When my son suggested that I sign up for twitter, I couldn’t understand why.    He’s the one I rely on to show me the things I don’t know how do do on the computer.  If the dvr has to be set on the TV, it’s him again.  If we still had a VCR, you know who would be responsible.  It’s not like  I’m totally inept.  I learned enough of the basics of computer usage to do whatever I had to do at work or at home, and that was enough for me.

 I didn’t even know what twitter was.  He assured me that I would like it, that I could connect with other educators.  Still not knowing what he was talking about, I decided I had  nothing to lose  so I figured I’d give it a try.   After helping me to set up my account, my son  tried to explain the basics to me.   It’s amazing  how  this creative, patient, talented teacher forgets that he has  all of those qualities when he has to explain something to his mother.   Be that as it may, I, with his assistance, plodded through the initial use.   He suggested people that I could follow , which I was grateful for.   Then I tried to follow the tweets of  those people.   Oh my, not an easy feat.   As you know, those tweets come fast and furious and it is quite a challenge to read them all.    My initial reaction was, this is not for me, people are talking in stream of consciousness, it makes no sense.   Frustration was setting in and I just couldn’t make sense of my relationship to twitter.

The turning point for me was #spedchat.   Here I found my niche.  Though the tweets are fast, the topics are interesting.   Since special education is my field, I felt that I could contribute some valid tweets.  It is clear that the people who come into this chat are caring, committed educators who want to make a difference in the lives of their students and their families.   Along with teachers,  parents, administrators, advocates, and  organizations, participate in this chat.   They are the pioneers of change who are questioning the system.  They are the innovators who understand the importance of not accepting the status quo.  They are the life long learners who soak up knowledge.   Some are new to the field and others are close to retirement, or like me, retired.   No matter what, they are the people who stimulate my thinking.   Reading  their ideas, sharing  thoughts and insights, offering suggestions,  is what twitter  is about for me.  My son, who is a third year teacher, but is teaching children with disabilities for the first time, participates in this chat as well.   I find myself looking forward to Tuesdays at 8:30PM (EST) to get involved in the lively, invigorating discussions .  Thanks to  @spedteacher for organizing these chats and  @damien613 for skillfully moderating them. 

The other part of twitter that I find intriguing is being able to speak to people who are all over the world.   How interesting it is to hear how schools in other countries operate but more interesting, to hear the commonalities amongst the  fabulous educators who  are striving for what is best for their students.  All this, without having to leave my home.

So as I reflect, I must admit, I still don’t get all about twitter that there is to know and I probably never will.  (Hopefully reading  Twitter for Dummies will help.)   What I do know is that I am learning more everyday.  I am directed to posts and blogs that are inspirational  and useful to read. (thanks to @gret for her last blog which inspired me to write this one).  I can make comments on the blogs of children in Argentina (kudos to @gret),  as I read their thoughts and dreams.  I can share information with hundreds of people at once and get immediate feedback. And to think,  I, who didn’t know what twitter was a few weeks ago, now has my own PLN.

   I plan to speak to my student teachers about the benefits of twitter as a way to enhance their knowlege and experiences.   I will  encourage them to sign up,  read some blogs, try some of the chats and develop their own PLN.   I will  tell them that this is a guaranteed way to add to their developing bag of tricks.  

  Many thanks to my son for sharing the innovations of twitter, encouraging me to blog. and adding  something extremely valuable  to his mother’s bag of tricks.

  1. Saeed.M.
    November 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I agree with you twitter is agreat tool to meet people who has the same interested of yours .Great post

    • November 27, 2010 at 7:53 am

      Hi Saeed.M.,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I think what’s most intriguing to me about Twitter is how easily I can connect with educators from all over the world. I hope to learn from and with you.


  2. November 27, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Hello Gail!

    What a moving post! I’ve had your same feelings as to Twitter. I’ve started on my own but I didn’t know at that time the potential it’d have for professional development. And as you’ve expressed, the chance it offers to meet educators from all over the world. Educators who care! Passionate educators like us.
    Regards from Argentina,
    Marisa (@Mtranslator)

    • November 27, 2010 at 8:02 am

      HI Marisa,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It’s so nice to know that you share similar experiences. Though I am still learning about twitter and still find it overwhelming at times, the connection to other educators who are agents of change, hearing their different points of view and being inspired by them are the greatest benefits for me. I hope to continue to learn from and with you.


  3. January 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Gail

    I just read this `post even though you wrote it a while ago. I think your thoughts reflect a lot of people’s who have realised that twitter is fantastic for professional development and not just about what you had for breakfast. As someone responsible for PD at my school, I try to encourage teachers to join twitter and start building a PLN – pointing them in the direction of posts like this one really helps to get the message across.
    thanks for posting

    • January 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate them. I am happy that this blog will be useful for you when you do PD with the teachers at your school. I think that anyone who uses Twitter finds what works for them. I am not a “techie” but still enjoy hearing about the uses of new technology in the classroom. Even if I won’t be using it myself, I can share it with my student teachers. What I find wonderful is the support network of committed educators who are part of my PLN. They are a great source of knowledge and are so willing to share information and provide links. It makes learning so easy!!!
      Good luck.

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