I cannot make this up… I did not do this on purpose. I promise it just happened this way.
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) July 12, 2018
Today is my FIVE YEAR Twitter-versary!!! I signed up for Twitter five years ago today! And the fact that I am writing a blog about Twitter and how amazing it is on our 5th anniversary is a bit mind-blowing! Isn’t that crazy?! … Okay, back to the book!
This incredible book, which pretty much serves as a user’s manual to create & use your own professional Twitter account, was shared with several hundred North Carolina educators over the past week. I’m fairly certain the words, “best PD I’ve ever had… ever” came out of my mouth in association with using Twitter as my primary platform for being a connected educator. Numerous photos were taken of the cover of the book, and a couple even purchased the book while sitting right there in my sessions.
In two weeks, I am so fortunate to work with superstar educator, Emily Brown, to connect dozens of educators (possibly even up to 140, ironically enough) with one another through Twitter. We are facilitating a session called #Twitter101: Unlock the Power of Being Connected (link to session presentation to be shared after presentations are complete) at the North Carolina Digital Learning Competencies For Educators By Educators “traveling roadshow”. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Digital Teaching and Learning Division selected 33 educators through an application process to serve as Ambassadors for Digital Learning Competencies. Emily & I both felt that Twitter has been a powerful tool and, as she and I are Professional Learning Network (PLN) friends, we decided to work together on the development and implementation of this session! Ambassadors travel to 4 locations in the western half of the state and 4 locations in the eastern half. Roughly 500 educators per location are able to attend through registration. They will receive up to 5 sessions (and lunch) of professional development in digital learning, which is the equivalent of 0.7 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). A minimum of 2.0 CEU in Digital Learning Competencies are required for teaching licensure renewal in North Carolina.
After encouraging and helping our new friends create a Twitter account, we will show them how to use it to create basic tweets. Each participant will complete #MyFirstTweet while there. I am so excited! I’ve never been in a delivery room to witness the birth of a child, but I would imagine it will feel almost like that to see these educators take their first steps into becoming connected… Okay, maybe that’s a bit exaggerated… maybe. We’ll see.
If the participants choose to stay for the second part of the Twitter session series with me, they will embark on creating a PLN. It’s so important to find your tribe on Twitter. We believe in the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I will teach these educators how to fish by engaging them in a LIVE #ncdlc chat each day! It is my goal that teachers will feel confident with the typical guidelines of a Twitter chat and Q1/A1 format by having someone there to walk them through a chat in person, helping with tweet composition, etiquette, etc. I hope you will join our chat at least once, if not all four days, from Monday, July 23 – Thursday, July 26, 2018. The tentative time for the chat portion of these sessions will be 11:00-11:30 AM EST. Please drop in and show these newly connected educators the power of Twitter in education! I will continue to advertise this information throughout the next two weeks on Twitter.
The final two sessions of the day will be about #BookSnaps, founded by rockstar author Tara Martin, who wrote the 51st DBC book, Be REAL: Educate from the Heart! Participants will learn how to connect the text and the tech using Snapchat, Google Drawings, Seesaw, Google Slides, etc. You can find Tara’s How-To videos on her blog here. Below are examples of #BookSnaps I created and tweeted about 140 Twitter Tips for Educators.
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) July 13, 2018
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) July 12, 2018
My personal journey on Twitter began in 2013 when I used Twitter for all things Hollywood gossip and Panthers football. I didn’t tweet, but I followed all the blue checks I could, ha! In 2014, I met Lucas Gillispie who inspired me to try it out as an educator to gain insight, resources, reflect, and share. Lurking for many months, I finally jumped in to a few chats and would tweet occasionally while attending edcamps. I’m not sure why I started becoming more invested, but one day in 2015, I received a direct message from a friend telling me about an opportunity to apply for the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network through the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. I applied, was accepted, and just finished my third (and sadly, my final) year as a mentor for that network of professionals. I credit my connectedness on Twitter to many successes I have had in education, and many of the successes of my students. I also give my PLN credit for picking me up when I felt knocked down. There were years that I’m not sure I would have returned to education if it weren’t for the amazing educators on Twitter constantly lifting me up. I feel selfish when I don’t share how incredible my PLN on Twitter is with other educators because it truly is the best professional development I have. It benefits both me and my students, which is a win-win! I feel that each and every educator needs to be connected, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Our world is wide open now, and we need to get into it – sharing, collaborating, and reflecting on our practices. That, in turn, makes our students’ experiences in school better which leads to lifelong learners.
It feels as if it’s a Twitter love story of sorts. HA! Are you rolling your eyes? Stop rolling your eyes, and hear me out! It’s kind of like Twitter and I met in 2013 through a mutual friend; we’ll call that friend Hollywood. We went out a few times, but it was never anything serious. I never completely gave up, but I was quickly losing interest. Then, a friend came and told me various examples about how wonderful Twitter was, and I decided to it was worth a second chance. Maybe it had changed… so we started dating here and there again. Then, one day, after about 9-10 months of sporadic dating… it just happened. Connection. Love. Inspiration. I was hooked. Twitter and I have been together exclusively for almost 4 years now. It’s been wonderful. We have many mutual friends and I want to share Twitter’s awesomeness with everyone around me. Luckily for them, Twitter has many doppelgängers, looks just like my Twitter, but has a different personality and will meet their own needs.
See… love story… that’s why we’re celebrating our anniversary… (Yes, I did. I went there.)
My implementation of this book, as I celebrate five years of Twitter, is to continue doing what I do on Twitter, but do more of it! I collaborate, share resources, advocate for students, retweet other educators, and participate in chats with educators who share my vision, as well as educators who challenge me. I tweet what my students and teachers are doing throughout the school year, as well as during conferences and blog posts.
For me, this book was affirming. For those who are not yet connected, this book is a must have!
You can follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #140EduTips! The website for 140 Twitter Tips for Educators is here. Check out Vicki Davis’s (CoolCatTeacher) blog & podcast with Brad and Billy, Join the discussion on Flipgrid! Andrea (the genius behind the idea of using Flipgrid for #DBC50Summer and my #tlapsister) and I would love for you to show some love to those you think everyone should follow on Twitter, and hashtags that you can’t live without! As always, the password is DBCSummer – and don’t be afraid to step out and be a trendsetter. This space will become a global book study for all DBC books, so go ahead and take the leap! Again, go grab a copy of this book… Book 14!
Book 15 is a book I wish I had when I taught 5th grade math! If I had Ditch that Textbook and this book during that time of my life, implementing the ideas and philosophy behind both of them, my students would have been much happier and would have had increased critical thinking skills and would have been better problem solvers, rather than workbook navigators! I am so looking forward to reading The Classroom Chef by John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey! Dave Burgess says he gets asked all the time about creating Teach Like A Pirate style lessons for math – this book is it! Soooo cool! Grab your own copy because I’m off to read book 15 for myself!