There is a revolution happening in education. No, I don’t mean the reform bills that politicians and so-called “educational reformers” are trying to pass as a way to enhance student achievement based on more standardized testing. Educators have their backs against the wall with the incredible amount of directives that are handed down to us, as well as how we are portrayed by some in societies’ eyes.
You know those myths:
Teachers have summers off
Teachers only work a seven hour day
Teachers have too much time off
Your school is failing because students are not passing a test
The revolution I’m referring to is global collaboration, flattening of our classroom walls, and self directed professional development. Gone are the days of working in isolation in the confines of your own classroom and grade level teams. Through the use of web tools such as Skype and Google + Hangout, as well as social media, educators can make incredible connections, grow professionally, and exchange ideas with others around the world, 24/7.
This is the revolution. This is now. Educators are connecting in ways that were never possible before the adoption of social media and blogs. Not only does it provide a platform to reflect on your own practice and extend your thinking, but the abundance of the sharing of resources is remarkable. Go ahead. Dive in. Looking for ways to understand twitter? How about doing a quick search on Pinterest for Common Core resources. The possibilities are endless!
Here is a real life example.
Thanks to the connections I’ve made through Twitter and my PLN (Personal Learning Network), I was able to connect with fellow educators around our country to discuss implementation of the Daily 5. For those unfamiliar with the Daily 5, click this link. The educators I was able to connect with were @jennregruth, @apratt5, and @ncarroll24.
Side note: If you don’t follow them on twitter, you probably should!
The only experience I’ve had with the literacy structure is the reading of the Daily 5 and CAFE Book. However, they all welcomed me with open arms, positive attitudes, and a sincere willingness to help through sharing their own experiences. We even managed to share some great tips about how our classrooms operate.
What’s incredible about this learning is we did not connect because it was mandated or required of us. We connected because we truly believe that sharing experiences, successes and “failures” in a risk free environment will not only benefit us as learners first, but our most precious commodity, the students. Self directed professional development at its finest.
Is connecting with others the magic bullet to solve our educational issues? Absolutely not. But to deny the power of connecting with others around the world to learn and grow, is IMHO, doing yourself a disservice. Through the use of archived chats via twitter or subscribing to your favorite blogs using an RSS feed, you can find the balance in your life needed to keep your eyes and ears on the pulse. (Note to future self – Write blog post about finding balance)
Are we the crazy ones for believing that by participating in this “Not-so-quiet” revolution we will grow professionally? Are we the crazy ones who believe we can create a shift with how professionals learn? Are we the crazy ones who believe we can make a difference using social media tools at our disposal?
No. We are not the educators who believe we can. We are the educators who know we can!
Follow me on Twitter: @mrsapia_teach