Monday, March 13, 2017

Twitter and Conferences

Good morning:
This week I will discuss how I opened a Twitter account and attended two stellar conferences in two states, in one week. I did present at my first Google Summit this past weekend, but I need to catch my breath and digest how awesome it was. So, next week I will debrief on that experience.

So today... Why Twitter and what conferences?

So, as you may know, I recently became a Google Certified Trainer (GCT). As part of the orientation process and to become a more effective GCT, I was told to create or expand my personal learning network or PLN. It was up to me to decide how that would look. I was already on Google+ but I wasn't seriously connecting with anyone. I posted once in while, I took suggestions, but I wasn't "active". To get connected with people, I needed to create a digital footprint. I didn't even know who George Couros (@gcouroswas, let alone understood that I was trying to model my online presence after his idea of a growth mindset until I met him (see conferences).

One of the many suggestions of the GCT group was to tweet. I joined in late January 2017. And, immediately was self-congratulatory in total Twitter style. Here's my first tweet. I think the next few were the obligatory "re-tweets". I found myself overwhelmed with the fact that all I knew about Google and education was already out there being tweeted by people far more polished and interesting than me (Alice Keeler, Kasey Bell). At that moment, I realized what Twitter was going to be for me. I am going to learn from these people and embrace them as colleagues who seem to just want the same thing as me: to improve the lives of students and teachers. So, everything that I tweet has a litmus test:

  1. Does this start a discussion to improve education?
  2. Does this help students?
  3. Does this help teachers? 
  4. Does it help connect people?
  5. Does this inspire others?
I probably have tweeted out lines that don't follow any of those 5 steps. But, in general, I want to keep cognizant the reason why I'm on twitter. Follow me @techfrye and I sure will follow you. 

This brings me to conferences. I attended two stellar conferences. First, I attended MACPL17 in Baltimore, MD about personalized learning. Second, I attended NCTIES17 in Raleigh, NC which focused on technology-infused education. Twitter was the conductor of learning at both conferences. I connected to so many intelligent, funny, passionate people who I now lean on to assist in my growth as an educator. I find it interesting that the subject matter was secondary to connections. Don't get me wrong, I had great takeaways (Flipgrid, autocrat, #growthmindset, #personalizedPD, etc). Too many things to list. But, I came away with the idea that I can connect or ask people to help in my time of need. I can do that via Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Google Groups, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. It's a no judge zone. 

I would have to say the conferences were great, but they became personalized and interactive due to twitter and my PLN. I hope you have as much fun growing your digital footprint. Have a great day. 

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