Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reflecting on the 140 Conference

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).  It’s my hope that the New Milford High School principal will always be sharing in Twitter and Facebook, building on the presence that I’m currently creating in both spaces.  However, I also want to create a professional presence for myself that I can take with me when I move into new roles.

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.


  1. Great job the other day! It was awesome to have you there to talk about the power Twitter has and can have on education. (Twitter IS the best PD.) This is a step in the right direction to help public perception in terms of what we do. Thanks!

  2. You enthusiasm for the subject is catchy!

    Your love of spreading knowledge is tangible.

    Technology is a free resource, develops our life skills and life views.

    This is one way of taking positive action.

    Do you realise each one of us is self-taught in this arena...

    Do you realise the possibilities of self-education.

    It is an equalizer...

    My kids put me on Facebook when I was computer illiterate and I built a global network.

  3. You all spoke with such passion and conviction. There's no doubt that you all are starting a real revolution of change in education. Glad to be a part of the conversation.

  4. I love the way you guys modeled fearlessness for educators, parents, and administrators. I particularly like your 'change' and 'branding' reasons. They are something everyone who works in and with schools should keep in mind.

    Great to meet you this week!

  5. I appreciate the "stop the excuses, take risks" approach. I've been using Twitter for awhile but just recently started an account for our school. We're going to post updates and take our communication to the next level. I appreciate your insights and always learn a lot from your posts!

  6. You are definitely making an impact. I've had several teachers catch this vid and send it to various folks around the admin office. Thank goodness! It is so much easier to push change bottom up rather than top down.

    I agree with mshertz, the branding idea is terrific. We educators don't normally think with that lens, but it is key.

    Super work!

  7. Eric you are very passionate about Twitter-what an inspiration! You are right, we have to get the administrators on board! I am also a Principal (MS) that is relatively new to using Twitter for professional development. We started off with a bang at the beginning of the school year by introducing it to my staff at the movies some pictures- . I originally wanted staff to begin using Twitter for backchanneling with students. I could'nt figure out how to make it purposeful and meaningful until about a month ago. Now I am trying to get them all on board. I would love share ideas.

    We are also using Twitter and FB to communicate with parents-- I have links and a Twitter feed on our website which helps . Keep up the great work! I'm kipprogers on twitter.

  8. Your enthusiasm and risk-taking are motivational and inspiring.

    We in education are singing the praises of using Twitter as a PLN, but I think we are just beginning to appreciate the power of the brief, focused comment in an environment saturated with info.

    Twitter forces a writer to get to the point. That trait by itself improves writing and thinking.

    Thank you for your dedication to sharing with the larger education community.

    Let's all keep talking.

  9. The change/shift is not only for students - we've got to be willing to model the deep dive for other administrators to see our consistent growth and expanding elc. Requires committment on our part

  10. Eric, I haven't watched the video yet, but your closing is excellent. Going to cite it in an upcoming pres. I'm making on Twitter for teachers. Good insights!