August 1, 2012 by Brad Currie
It is definitely an exciting time to be in education, with the ever emerging technologies and web 2.0 tools available to promote the success of all students. Furthermore, the professional development opportunities available through such vehicles as Twitter, Blogs, Bundlenuts, Edcamps and the like have become a “game-changer” in the way we learn as professionals. Quite frankly it is a “no-brainer” for educators to expand their PLNs each and every day. It is our duty as emerging and current school leaders to continually model and promote the use of these tools to sharpen our skills and in turn impact the way instruction is delivered in/out of the classroom. The culture of schools has dramatically shifted over the years into a collaborative and sharing environment where people lean on each other to solve issues and make our world a better place.
Twitter has become the “go to” resource for educators around the globe. There are so many things you can do with this wonderful PD tool a book can be written about it. Within an actual tweet educators can post ideas, share web links, show visuals, create a hashtag, upload video clips and make useful documents accessible. One of the more enjoyable initiatives I have undertaken with Twitter has been hosting #Satchat every Saturday morning at 7:30am EST with @scottrrocco. This is a great way for current and emerging school leaders to come together and learn from each other each and every week. Over the past few months topics ranging from crisis management to the effective use of social media have been discussed. Moving forward it is our hope that many more educators will join the chat and share their expertise.
Edcamps have been another way educators can connect and improve their craft. Throughout the year Edcamps are being hosted around the globe. Recently I attended Edcamp Leadership and was amazed with the wealth of knowledge people shared for free. The healthy conversations that took place were inspiring and solidified my thoughts on how important being apart of a PLN truly is. Another charge educators should undertake can be found in the blogging world. Blogging has become very important to me in a variety of ways. I am able to promote the outstanding learning experiences that take place in our schools and also share my positive viewpoints about the educational world. The daily and weekly Bundlenuts I send out to our school staff members via email and also tweet out provide everyone with many “tools of the trade” that engage learners and make learning relevant.
As you can see there are many positives pertaining to New School PD that further strengthen what is learned through Old School PD. Educators now teach in the 21st century and need to keep in mind that there are thousands of new ways we can reach students. The way in which we can professionally develop ourselves are not only endless, but free and innovative and in turn postiviely impacts what goes on in classrooms. Moving forward it will be common place for school leaders to encourage staff members to log onto Twitter and connect with like minded educators from around the world on a daily basis. Such initiatives as Twitter Tuesdays and School Based Hashtags will unite educators and have them collaborate at levels once unimaginable. New School PD is both engaging and relevant and goes a long way in promoting the success of all students and staff.