I've been on Twitter since 2011, when I started serving Montpelier Public Schools as Superintendent. It's been a tremendous opportunity for professional growth, for making contacts, and for continuing to learn from others. As my MPS colleague Mike Martin (@Mike_MPS) told me a couple of years ago, Twitter is a way to connect with others based on the merit of the idea. It is not about age, job titles, or roles. It isn't even necessary to meet in person, because the connection is about the idea!
Recently I was humbled to be a part of a panel at the VITA-Learn Dynamic Landscapes Conference about the relationship between school librarians and administrators. One of the members of the panel was Michael Berry (@MichaelBerryEDU) Director of Curriculum, Communication & Innovation for MMMUSD-CESU Schools. We work less than a half hour away from each other, follow each other on Twitter, live in the State of Vermont and up until that panel conversation, had never met in person. Once we did speak after the panel, it was an easy conversation because we had mutual admiration for each other based on what we posted on Twitter.
However, the real highlight for me this year was an invitation to the First Grade Play "Wing It," and it came through Twitter. Here is their invitation. The invitation was from UES Teachers Susan Koch (@SusanKochVT), Linda Dostie (@LindaDostie) & Samantha Funk (@TheWiseMusician). I have never been invited to anything via video on Twitter and was proud not only to respond via video on Twitter (my very first) as well as go to UES for the wonderful play which was an amazing culmination of the collaboration between our Music, Art, and First Grade Teachers. A wonderful time was had by all and it was another very proud moment for me as Superintendent.
Yes, there are people who waste time on Twitter. Yes, there are people who tweet ridiculous things. Yes, there are people who post nonsense. But you can choose not to follow these people and trust me, Twitter is much, much more than this.
This platform can do so much for education and educators. It is free and allows us to connect with other people, honing our skills, learning new ones, and growing in ways that traditional professional development simply cannot approach. Most importantly for me, it is about relationships. That is the basis of what we do in education. I would have never seen Wing It if not for the Twitter invitation, and I would have missed a tremendous, student-centered event in person!
So you still think Twitter is just for celebrities?