Ode to Twitter and PLNs


April 10, 2012 by Brad Currie

This past October I was fortunate enough to attend NJPSA’s Fall Conference (@njpsa) on effective school leadership. There were many wonderful keynote speakers and workshops for school administrators to attend. One in particular, Leading with Social Media by Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) changed the way I viewed social media and the important role it plays in school. In particular, he spoke about the importance of using tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Blogging to communicate with stakeholders and expand professional learning networks. Upon returning to school the next day I immediately contacted building (@cathollinger) and district (@MHall_MST) level administration to share my excitement about the prospect of using social media to inform stakeholders, expand PLNs and promote student achievements. Fast forward to the present and @RMS_VIKINGS has over 200 followers on Twitter and Facebook and close to 1,000 hits on our blog https://bcurrie.wordpress.com/ that promotes student and staff achievementsImage. The social media initiative for Readington Middle School, where I am the Vice Principal, has fortunately now become a way of life.

Over the past five months social media has had a profound impact on my professional life. Twitter has provided much “food for thought” and I am now connected with educators from around the world. At first I followed people like @tomwhitby and @NMHS_Principal to gain insight on cutting edge web 2.0 tools and best practice educational strategies. Then I began to feel comfortable enough to retweet articles, blog posts and educational resources. Soon, I had people following me (@bcurrie5) and commenting on my tweets every once in a while. Fast forward to April and its nice to know that currently I am following over 200 educators world wide and have close to that many following me. Great connections have been made with such educators as @ToddWhitaker @Dynamic Schools @scottrrocco @iSchoolLeader and @TeacherCast. Many opportunities have come to the forefront because of my ever expanding professional learning network. Recently I joined several educators on @TeacherCast podcast and will soon be hosting a live Saturday morning chat on Twitter with @scottrrocco under the hashtag #Satchat pertaining to school leadership.

The positive impact of using social media to promote student/staff achievement, inform stakeholders and expand professional learning networks has been so tremendous that I am now trying to get others to “drink the Kool-Aid.” Over the past several months I have made “Twitter PD” presentations at various department meetings and curated daily Bundlenuts (http://www.bundlenut.com/b/187027) containing useful EdLinks that are emailed to staff and shared on Twitter. Every morning when I wake up, the first I do is open up the iPad, tap on the Twitter app and read away. Some of the great people to follow in Twitterland are @bhsprincipal @iEducator @cybraryman1 @rmbyrne @Joe_Mazza to name a few. Recently I did an online radio interview and I was asked about the state of education. My reply was that it is the most exciting time to be an educator due to the fact that technology has allowed us to collaborate and thus provide our students with a top notch education. This indeed is an exciting time for education and for that I give thanks to Twitter and my ever expanding professional learning network.

3 thoughts on “Ode to Twitter and PLNs

  1. It’s great to read articles like this. Brad is a great educator and a great writer. We are happy that he was able to join us on the TeacherCast podcast and would love him to be a returning guest very soon. We are also excited to have him as a guest blogger on our website http://www.TeacherCast.net.

    Thanks for the mention Brad!

    Best of Luck,

    Jeff Bradbury

  2. Brad,

    I couldn’t agree more! I have had a similar experience that started around January. I, too have done a professional development workshop in my district related to developing PLNs through Twitter. I think there is a natural progression of how Twitter PD evolves. As a matter of fact, I just started a blog with a very similar post (www.principalar.blogsop.com) and just began a school Twitter feed @BearTavernES. I look forward to learning with and from you as part of my PLN. Great Post!

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Brad Currie

Brad Currie

Brad Currie is the Middle School Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is the co-founder and co-moderator of #Satchat on Twitter. Brad is passionate educational technology and social media in the school setting.

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