technology

The Power of a Chosen PLN

Guest post by Laurie Barron:

Why do I need Twitter? I certainly don’t care about when Lindsay Lohan is back in court, Justin Bieber is in trouble with the paparazzi, or Miley Cyrus is twerking (whatever that may mean). And what is a hashtag? It just didn’t sound like something that was appropriate to be talking about in conjunction with my professional learning.

Imagine my delight upon realizing that I could use Twitter to choose to learn from those I do care about hearing from and use hashtags to follow topics I find professionally rewarding!

I admit it: Twitter was slow to grow on me. I also admit that I now can’t believe how much I have grown as a professional as a result of learning from a customized professional learning network that occurs when and where I want it. (And, if I get bored, I can leave without worrying about that awkward moment that seems so disrespectful when people walk out of a presentation.)

Through my professional learning network on Twitter, I have learned from some of the most effective educational leaders from across the country: leaders who have defied the odds; leaders who have done what many say is not possible; leaders who believe in students whom, unfortunately, many have given up on; leaders who realize that, while students may come from a home that struggles economically, this economic disadvantage does not define a student; leaders who understand that our job as educators is not to judge students for their status in life but instead to ensure that status isn’t an impediment to their education. I have been amazed by people who have challenged me to grow, learn, and stretch myself, all as a result of sharing knowledge with educators from across the nation, most of whom I’ve never even met.

And so, no matter which day of the week you may be reading this, I offer a longer-than-normal #FF for some of those who probably have no idea the impact they have had on my career, Twitter friends and colleagues such as @TrevorLTGreene, @casas_jimmy, @NASSP, @MarkWilsonGA, @SlatonJessica, @NMHS_Principal, @patrickmlarkin, @RickWormeli, @ToddWhitaker, @dpk933, @bcurrie5, @Joe_Mazza, @mwdegner, @BUCSlead, @Jennifer_Hogan, @jackson_carrie, @charlesdumais, @DaisyDyerDuerr, @DruTomlin_AMLE, @blocht574, @d_mulder, and @aschmuhl.

Through the incredible world of Twitter, I have found myself surrounded by people who inspire me, people who help me build relationships, people who have similar goals and aspirations. I am certainly looking forward to NASSP Ignite ’14 to learn with my Twitter PLN in person!

New to Twitter? Jump start your engagement and build your professional learning network by attending the Tweetorial Friday morning, February 7 to start your Ignite ’14 experience. You can also check out this simple guide for educators on Tweeting.

Laurie Barron (@LaurieBarron) is the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year. She will present at the Ignite 2014. For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.