Edutwitter Celebrities

I’ll blame/credit Stephen Downes for leading me down this rabbit hole. I read his OLDaily every day. If I do nothing else, I enjoy his commentary on the articles that he shares and, more often than naught, I’ll follow a link or two in his story summary to learn more.

This past week, this came across.

And off I went!

It took a bit of work because the links to Twitter didn’t work well with the new Twitter but eventually, I got it to take me to the right place. And what a deep rabbit hole. It all started with a conversation inspired by this Twitter message.

Along the way, I ran into opinion and shoutouts against a couple of people who have left the profession early and made a job of speaking. One person mentioned that she had ended up being blocked by this person. Follow the second link in Stephen’s story for that one.

It also leads to this article from a couple of years ago that will have you thinking, I hope.

The bottom line is that Edutwitter Celebrities or EduCelebrity isn’t something that you want to necessarily aspire to be! Link above actually goes to a parody account. It’s worth the click to read the timeline.

I couldn’t help but draw a mental comparison to your typical educational speaker before Twitter. Certainly, I’ve sat in that audience and listened to many a professional learning event speaker waxing on about what I was doing wrong and that my classroom should be more like this mythical classroom that is so well described but never really identified which makes you think it might be the things that dreams are made of.

In my work with ECOO and the WesternRCAC, I’ve hired many a keynote and have tried to avoid the speaker who drops in for a canned speech, collects her/his cheque, and then departs. I always insisted on having a breakout session immediately after the keynote called “A Conversation with …” where those who want to dig deeper on the concepts from the keynote and to challenge some of the statements given. The response when explained to the potential speaker can range from “That’s a great concept” to “I’m not coming if those are the rules”. Maybe afraid of saying Stupid Things?

One of the drawbacks of the popularity of social media platforms is that anyone can promote anything (and usually do, starting with themselves). We talk about media literacy so much – is identifying the true person behind the handle something that should be on the list. You had better have nodded to that sentence.

I’ve delivered many sessions myself and always enjoy the opportunity to talk about things afterwards. I think that it forces you to prepare better, make it relative to the potential audience, and really know your stuff. I’d hate to be called out on a fact or two that I couldn’t defend.

It’s called “making it real”. So, if I had to define #Edutwitter Celebrity, I think that would be the tipping point for me. It’s not about describing the ideal school with perfect students all achieving at huge levels and creating moon lander simulations with Micro:bits or some other technology that you don’t have and probably never will. That school doesn’t exist. It’s about describing concepts and practices that work in the mix that all classrooms have.

It’s also about those that put themselves out there by describing their professional practices and weaknesses and entertaining suggestions for improvement or enhancement. Quite frankly, that’s what inspires me to identify great Ontario Education bloggers every Friday. These are real classroom professionals talking about their own little corner of education reality. They’re the ones that you are to believe and to learn from.

My celebrities from the past week include:

  • @Dunlop_Sue
  • @staoapso
  • @raspberryberet3
  • @mcguirp
  • @PCMalteseFalcon
  • @AMKeeLCS
  • @mediasee

So, here is a complete list of my personal #Edutwitter Celebrities’ blogs.

And, a tip of the hat to Stephen for bringing this discussion to my attention.

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5 thoughts on “Edutwitter Celebrities

  1. Way to go, Doug. This has been an ongoing discussion this summer, and I agree with your ideas, particularly that concept about “keeping it real”. One of the reasons I have appreciated many of the keynotes at #BIT over the years is that opportunity to connect and ask questions after the main session. Chris Cluff put out a call for thoughts on educelebrities who might be promoting a product/service, but also were “real”. One name that came up was former #ECOO keynoter, Jaime Casap.
    Audrey Watters really hit the target for me with her comments about toxic positivity. #mondaymotivation tweets are amazing, but the tweeter also has to be able to dig into the hard stuff – the things our students and colleagues are dealing with everyday. It’s that old (but accurate saw) about power/privilege and responsibility. What are you using your celebrity to say? Who is it helping?

  2. Thanks for the kind comment, Lisa. Sadly, I think that the answer to your last question is all too frequently “helping themselves with self-promotion”.

    I think that those who don’t put themselves out there and be vulnerable are afraid of losing their next gig by being too controversial.

  3. Having a follow up session to a keynote sounds like a great idea.

    A lot of keynotes come across as aspirational rather than practical. ISTE has come under justified criticism for having keynote speakers who were entertaining and inspirational rather than practical. TV stars, movie stars, and business leaders can be pretty interesting but I’d rather hear from actual educators who share ideas that they have tried and proved themselves.

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