On Wednesday April 21, I had the honor of speaking at the 140 Characters Conference in New York City with Steve Anderson, Tom Whitby, and Kyle Pace. This conference looks at the effects of Twitter on a variety of topics. The topic of our panel discussion was the effects of the real-time web on education with an emphasis on Twitter. Each of us spoke with passion and conviction as the discussion addressed how each of us utilize Twitter/social media in our respective positions and the implications it has on catalyzing change. Our entire discussion can be viewed below:
All four of us would love to hear your thoughts on our panel discussion. I also feel that it is prudent to share some advice of my own that I have formulated after actively learning about social media for the past year. Administrators and teachers need to begin to embrace the effective use of social media for their own professional growth, to create authentic learning environments that engage students, and to utilize the expertise of professionals in a variety of content areas. The one thing that Twitter and social media have taught me is that people truly want to share their ideas, knowledge, and experiences for the collective good. From an administrative perspective I can list a variety of reasons why all Principals and Superintendents should utilize social media:
1. Change: We can no longer settle for learning environments that are stagnant, students are not challenged to be creative, critical thinkers, and free technology is blocked as a result of misinformation and/or philosophical differences.
2. Innovation: This ties into the change process. Can you be innovative without social media? Of course you can. My point here is that tools such as Twitter can assist in the development of innovative ideas, programs, and learning activities that are meaningful.
3. Branding: Clearly articulate what it means to be a student at your school, the type of education one is to receive, and share these success stories with as many stakeholders as possible. There is no better way to do this than with the free tools that are available (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr). Take it a step further and establish your brand as a professional educator by using LinkedIn or setting up your own website (click here to visit mine).
4. Professional Growth: Create your own unique Personal Learning Network (PLN) and be driven by intrinsic motivation to learn at your convenience. A great place to start is at The Educator's PLN.
5. Public Relations: Since becoming active in the use Twitter to disseminate information to the NMHS community this past November, my school has been featured in over 14 news stories by CBS, 1010 WINS, The Global Post, and numerous local newspapers. This exposure is directly correlated to my use of social media and networking tools.
6. Opportunity: From local/national exposure to the acquisition of free technology and resources, social media/networking opens the door like never before.
Stop the excuses, take risks, and open your eyes and mind to limitless possibilities that are now before you. We live in exciting times, don’t miss out on this opportunity to initiate change and evolve into an innovative leader. As Jeff Pulver, creator of the 140 Conference says, everyone has a voice and can make a difference in as little as 140 characters.