Passionate for Professional Learning

Almost every educator who has a blog and a Twitter account has, at some time, written about why they like Twitter.  More often than not, some of the points that are raised include:

  • making new connections;
  • connecting globally;
  • building or continuing a discussion;
  • staying connected;
  • learn new things;

All of these are powerful reasons why you might want to get and cultivate a Twitter account and create your own learning network.  I think that the very list speaks volumes about the type of educator that is an avid user of the service.

The points above are all functional activities that, when used properly, make for a more well-rounded educator.  These are the folks that have engaging classrooms and students show up anticipating the new and exciting things that will happen each and every day.

But, what of the teacher her/himself?

I checked the history of this blog to see what I might have said about professional learning and found that I had written this.

“Selfishly, I always walk away from leading a Professional Development session with some ideas about how I can go back to what I do and make it better.”

When I think of the Twitter discussions that I either view or participate in daily, I am humbled by the interactions and contributions made by everyone involved.  More often than not, a message spawns further messaging, an email followup, or resource/techniques/new learnings shared.

And, what do you get back for doing this?  What’s the payoff?  Is there a certificate that you can print and put in a portfolio?  Does this bump you up the pay scale?  Does it fit some sort of organizational structure of PD that has been laid on?  Help us, but does it meet some district requirement of “training”?

Of course not.  When you think of institutional professional development, more often that not, there’s a clearly defined structure.  There’s the leader and there are the learners.  The leader decides when and where the event will happen and sometimes orders the food and runs off the handouts.  What you get back when you learn with others using Twitter is the energy and the intellectual buzz that comes from learning something that makes you just a little bit better for the experience. Unlike the structural event, there is no certificate or qualification that you walk away with at the end of the day.

It’s a warm sense that there are great people, learning and sharing great things, and that you’re actually part of it because you want to be.

And, you can’t wait until tomorrow to continue the conversation.

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