Expanding my PLN on Twitter

My twitter journey began in February 2009 during my first year as a principal. Like most, I was reluctant to sign up after hearing about it, but finally signed up after my 2 favorite principals on the Practical Principals podcast mentioned it in a couple of their podcasts. In the beginning I only followed about 10 other principals and built some strong connections with those that I followed. I couldn’t believe how much I could learn from others online in just 140 characters. I can recall one night when I spent hours searching who each of them were following so that I could follow as many principals as I could find.
For probably a year (possibly longer) I only followed principals on twitter and had my account set to secure/private. This changed after I realized how many other great people I found to follow because someone else retweeted one of their tweets. I can recall trying to retweet a great tweet with a link, but couldn’t because they were set to private and realized that I was preventing myself from gaining other great followers to connect with if I was set to private. I also started finding great blog posts and other resources to share with my staff so I began expanding my PLN (Professional/Personal Learning Network) even further by following as many great teachers as I could.
I talk about the great things I learn from twitter as much as possible. I cannot tell you how many times I have shared something with a teacher/colleague and was asked, “where did you learn that?” My reply always is, “I learned it from someone on twitter.”
Within the past year I have made it my personal mission to spread the word about twitter to as many as I can, because it means I can expand my PLN and learn from even more great educators/administrators. I have written about it for a colleague’s grad class which I also posted here.I taught teachers about it last summer at the Regional Summer Teacher Academy (co-founded by @MrAaronOlson and myself), which I also recorded screencasts of here. This week I had the pleasure of sharing twitter with my administrative colleagues at the AWSA (Association of Wisconsin School Administrators) Convention along with @WiscPrincipal and @PosickJ, 2 amazing admin colleagues that I met on twitter. Here is the presentation we shared (it wasn’t just “sit and get,” we gave a lot of time for hands-on experience and help getting started using twitter):

I was excited by how many of our session attendees started using twitter that evening and even more excited to see this tweet today:

Even though many think I’m crazy when I say, “I learned that from twitter” I’m not going to stop, because once they get started they are also reaping the benefits of my PLN!

This December we will be sharing again at the SLATE Convention (School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education). So, if you’re in Wisconsin reading this and know others that don’t know the power of Twitter yet, please tell them about it and encourage them to go to SLATE if they have the opportunity as well.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Deborah Lemmer

    Hi Principal J,
    I am a principal and was directed to your blog on my first ever interactive experience with Twitter! I have been reading and tonight I took the plunge to join a conversation (a few blunders as I got started). I’ve been reflecting and wondering about how to make my walkthrough visits to classrooms meaningful feedback to teachers and an opportunity to shift them forward some. So…I put it out as a question on #cpchat and got a response and directed to your website. I’m pretty jazzed right now because I keep hearing how developing these PLN’s can open the world and up until tonight, I felt like an outsider.
    As I read your blog I also smiled because I created a blog as a communication/inspiration tool for staff and call it ‘Friday Flash’…same thing you are doing! I’d love to look at yours and see how I can improve what I am doing.
    So, hello! Also, my question on twitter was about developing a form for classroom walkthroughs…a handy form is nice, but most important, how can the form and the ‘look-for’s’ be meaningful to teachers. Your thoughts and practice?
    Thanks for all that you offer!

  2. henriksenlearning

    I love your presentation, Jessica.

    Twitter has been an amazing journey for me as well. I can’t believe I have only been tweeting since July! I have learned so much from so many wonderful educators. Every opportunity I get, I talk about how amazing Twitter is for professional development. Most people just look at me like I’m crazy. I’m okay with that though and it won’t make me stop sharing! 🙂

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