Friday, March 27, 2015

What the Heck. Let's Just Do It!

Last night, we had our first district Twitter education chat, #wgsdchat. It just so happened to run concurrently to our iDEA (district PD) committee meeting. The confluence of these two events made for a rich and robust online PD experience. The iDEA folks joined our edchat from their meeting and continued to meet after the chat ended. This being our first district Twitter chat, we intended to chat for only a half hour but as the time went by, it was obvious that enough people had joined in and had so much to share that we were going to go overtime. The educators involved included teachers from all levels, principals, our superintendent, assistant superintendent and technology specialists. When this many educators with these different backgrounds get together to share, only great things can come from it.

Melissa (@melissahellwig4) and I had discussed launching a Twitter edchat for our district a while ago. We were busy with other things at the time and let the idea go with the intention of revisiting it later. About a month ago, Jason (@thetechspec) and I were in a Twitter edchat (#sunchat) and threw the idea back and forth a few times until we finally decided that the three of us would launch this baby. We figured, "What the heck. Let's just do it!" That Monday, Jason, Melissa and I planned out the details, brainstormed the first three week's worth of questions, and publicized the chat.

We had immediate buy-in. John (@jdsnwg), our assistant superintendent, was pumped from the beginning. He saw it as another way for teachers to share and learn together. We all did. With a good number of us talking it up, we had some Twitter newbies in the chat as well as some Twitter veterans. Our focus for this first chat was "getting to know you" but the conversation quickly escalated into what amazing things teachers are doing in their classrooms, how we can support each other, and the beginnings of some collaborative projects both between schools and grade levels. In just forty five minutes in a Twitter chat, some formed new educational partnerships, we cemented an online venue for sharing, and we have created a weekly sharing session for district educators. I would say that we accomplished our goals!

I feel very fortunate to work in a district where this kind of thinking and initiative is supported and encouraged. We will continue to create, innovate and risk because we have such a great network of support both from our colleagues and from our administration. We could not ask for a better environment in which to grow as educators and as people.

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