This is my online reflective diary on how social media – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, to name a few – is being used by teachers to build their PLN - Professional Learning Network and invest in their PD - Professional Development. What cannot be ignored is the institutional shift to and investment in web-based platforms to provide ongoing development for their teachers.
Over the last two or three weeks, Twitter chats have drawn my attention to a few points:
There is a major difference between COLLABORATION AND COOPERATION, which we probably all know, but never give it thought when it comes to connecting with other educators on Twitter.
In the second, I can do it on my own; in the first, I can't do it without you - the skills or knowledge you have add to those that I possess.
One of the missed opportunities in connecting with other educators on platforms like Twitter is that people may not be willing to propose their ideas or suggest changes to format that is already working.
Twitter chats are seen as invaluable informal PD. As a chat moderator, I have had the chance to connect with other educators and think up ideas/topics for the discussions. This interaction can take place in either one of the two ways:
Guest moderators follow the format given to them by the hosts, who provide the questions and the photo cards, if so desired. (after all, guests are guests, right?. And another, thing - if it ain't broke, don't fix it)
Guest moderators propose topics and questions, different ideas or new formats to meet a personal goal that lines up with those of the chat. As long as hosts facilitate this swapping of ideas by making guests completely at home. (Bringing new perspectives and ideas might be the much needed fresh air to spark everyone's imagination and promote legitimate learning)
As my colleague Gust Mees (@knolinfos) argues in this post - updating can and should be synonymous with innovating and promoting deeper critical thinking. This is sadly what seems to happen in schools and other traditional learning contexts - educators cooperating and not really collaborating, out of fear of disagreeing or promoting different ideas. Click below to answer this quick poll