Almost exactly one year ago I told my friends Bo Adams (@boadams1) and Jill Gough (@jgough) that Twitter was for people with nothing better to do than broadcast their latest coffee venue. They told me to get over myself and get in the game. They were right. If you are an educational administrator and not encouraging/requiring your teachers to engage in Twitter, you are wasting the least expensive, most flexible connectivity tool for professional development that we have. Really.
This morning I saw the #Satchatwc (that is West Coast Saturday morning chat, hosted by Shelley Burgess, Asst. Superintendent at a major California school district @burgess_shelley) fire up. I don’t participate every Saturday morning, but today I did. If you are not on Twitter it is almost hard to explain. In about 30 minutes I was able to get the pulse on 4-5 prompted questions from about 50 educators I have never met, from all over the country. Many had resources attached. All were borne of experience in and with the classroom. Today the questions and answers dealt with stimulating and measuring rigor in the classroom; another chat will have another focus. Most of these people I will never meet face-to-face; that does not matter. One participant said “One bad hire creates years of entertainment”. Others shared ideas for what works in their professional development stream and what does not. On and on. Click here and you can see what is called a Storify, or archive of the comments from the chat. Is every comment a game-changer? No. Is it worth some mining for the nuggets and connections? Absolutely. This is now innovation happens.
It is free. It cost me a half hour. In that half hour the people on the chat had the equivalent interaction of a two-day conference, and many will stay connected to each other. Instant professional learning community. What if you paid your teachers $30 to spend a half hour once a week rather than $2,000 to attend a conference across the country one a year? I know which would yield better results!
This is what I mean when I talk about “high frequency, low amplitude” innovation. This is what David Monaco (@dmonaco) means by getting his teachers up into the Jet Stream. Small bits, low cost, frequent. Now, stop being stubborn like I was, and just do it! Uncomfortable? Good. It is like a first date; tough to take the first step but easier each time. New? Follow these four people I have cited in this blog, and a few of their followers; check once a day for five minutes, or once a week for 20 minutes. Link to a few blogs they post. That is it. Here’s the deal: there are a TON of teachers and administrators out there who want to help you not stub the same toes they have. Join them up in the Jet Stream.