If you asked me two years ago, if I thought I was using Twitter effectively, I more than likely would have said yes. During that time, I was utilizing the twitter handle Ms_Kof (I thought this was a good idea because of the many consonants in my last name), sharing a few ideas, using it as a public note taking platform at conferences and occasionally collaborating with a small group of educators. Checking twitter wasn’t part of my daily routine, and it shouldn’t have been, at that point, because I wasn’t taking advantage of all of the opportunities it offered me. I thought I was exhausting its resources, but I had not even touched the surface.
It was almost impossible to find me due to handle name (Ms, an underscore and half of my last name = not the best combo), but I didn’t mind because I didn’t share or utilize twitter often. I started to realize this was a big mistake when I was attending and speaking at conferences. Attendees were trying to connect with me to collaborate after my session but couldn’t search for me. I was missing out on opportunities to further my relationship with other educators because I remained almost anonymous as Ms_Kof. Not only was I missing out on building relationships, but also restricting myself and my students from making connections with other classrooms, content experts and the vast amount resources/ideas that are shared every day on Twitter.
Flash forward to today, I have updated my handle to my actual name, share my thoughts, participate in chats, and make new connections daily, but I am still not an expert Twitter user nor am I using it to its maximum capabilities. The major difference is I am aware of its endless opportunities now, and I am working on using them. To help me understand my learning process and reflect, I have written a short note to past self, Ms_Kof:
I have a challenge for you. I know you are a passionate educator who is open to learning so I have a feeling you will accept it. I challenge you to take more risks, pose new questions, share your ideas/ thoughts/ resources and ask for feedback/suggestions. This may seem like a large task to do everyday, but you have a unique tool right at your fingertips in the form of Twitter!
Good news, you have already taken the first step in creating your account but do not limit yourself. There is so much out there, and it is exciting to be a part of it. Make connections, build relationships! Do not just read great tweets respond to them and share what you have learned!
You have a network but expand it! You are going to meet some amazing people at conferences that you attend this year. The best way to continue learning with them is connecting with them online. There will also be a large number you will meet online before ever meeting face to face. You will make mistakes and grow but most importantly learn. Remember there is always something new to learn and push your thinking. Continue to search for it.
I cannot thank my PLN enough for what they teach me every day. You push my thinking and continually challenge me to better myself as an educator and learner!