The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Why educators should start a blog and join Twitter

Tomorrow morning, I’ll make a presentation at 7:30 in the morning to get our district technology camp started. My topic is “Building your Professional Learning Network,” and will focus on how professionals can use social media to enhance their skills. As I prepared, I thought a lot about my audience, some dedicated educators from our schools who are facing the constant challenge of doing more with less. My job is to convince those gathered that it is worth their valuable time to create their own digital footprint. After some reflection, here’s my 6 point argument:

Twitter and blogs connect you with smart people from around the world.

Thinking about my own PLN, there are classroom teachers, administrators, college professors, consultants, and others connected to education that have ideas that allow me to learn more. Articles, perspectives, and strategies are shared that enhance the work that I do in my professional practice.

Twitter and blogs are always available.

My schedule, like everyone else in our profession, is rather hectic. Some mornings I leave before the sun comes out and I return home after the sun has gone down. If I have 10 minutes to look at what is new on twitter or in the blogosphere or 2 hours, there is always ample material to think about.

Whatever your passion, there is someone out there to learn with.

If you’re fired up about reading, elementary education, leadership, core curriculum, world language, or anything else, you can find someone else talking about it on Twitter. I believe that teachers know where they need to grow and what they want to learn about. Social networking allows educators to find their own PD, anytime.

Collaboration is key.

As I posted recently, our business model is all about collaboration. District and local collaboration is outstanding, as is hearing from colleagues from around the country.

Articulating your values makes you a better educator.

It is not enough just to read and take in the information online. You must be a contributor. You’ll encounter some that agree and others that do not. These moments allow you to really clarify who you are and what you are about. Research tells us that reflection leads to better professional practice, these tools allow you to do so.

Education is a profession, not a job. To show the general public this fact, we must all contribute.

You never know who your readers are. While some will be your colleagues from our profession, others will be parents or the general public. A blog and twitter allow you to advocate for our profession, simply by sharing the work you are doing.

I plan to close tomorrow by challenging those gathered to join the conversation on twitter and to start blogging about their work. It will enhance everyone’s professional practice.

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18 thoughts on “Why educators should start a blog and join Twitter

  1. I could not agree more wholeheartedly with your plan here, John. I will be working with our new faculty in a week and had the same topic on list of things to do with them. I am hoping to get them started establishing a PLN right out of the gate. The wealth of collective wisdom and passion out there in the twittersphere is unlimited and a wonderful source of personal PD. Please be sure to let us know how it goes. Good Luck!

    http://smacclintic.edublogs.org/

    • Thanks for the supportive words, the presentation went really well and I think the message was well received. I’ll be working hard this year to encourage staff to grow their PLN, I’m hopeful we can stay connected to share our tales of success and challenges to overcome.

  2. Nailed it again, John! Your staff and students are lucky to have you.

  3. Excellent post! Teachers need to become reflective professionals. I don’t see enough of this in my own school district. Not many teachers blogging or tweeting. I commonly hear colleagues saying that they don’t get it or it’s just not their thing. I think it’s important for educators to understand the importance of reflection and how blogging can help achieve that on a professional level. It’s important for teachers and students to become reflective learners.

    My blog: http://jottingmatt.posterous.com

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  5. Another reason: You should model the types of things you’d like kids to do. Putting yourself out there, taking risks, sharing, and collaboration are some of the skills we would like kids to learn. I know my students respect me more because of my willingness to get out there and share what I do.

  6. I hope you also are very careful to warn of the pitfalls: any comment made on social media websites can be picked up and used out of context to persecute and even prosecute a teacher for breach of contract.

    My advice is to do exactly as you say: use the networks as your PLN and to support the profession – but do so using a pseudonym that cannot be linked to you or your school.

    • Hi Robin,

      I didn’t recommend using a pseudonym, but I did speak about the need to be professional and remember that we represent our school in our online activity.

      Thanks for the contribution,
      John

  7. Valerie on said:

    I totally agree with you. I have really just gotten started myself with a PLN. I want to work together with my faculty to intrigue the staff to also begin. Thanks for your information.

  8. Hi, I think you made quite a valid and thought provoking point.
    More people ought to start utilising the internet more, and in particular, the social media, which has had quite an impact globally in the past several months.
    Thanks,
    Pope

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