Using Twitter for 24/7 Professional Development

Jessica Johnson, Principal, Dodgeland Elementary School

“What is twitter?” “Isn't twitter for celebrities?” “I don't have time for twitter.”  “There's no place for social media in the school.”

These are all comments I have heard before and I, too, thought twitter was ridiculous and a waste of time, even after I first signed up and tried it.  

Twitter is an extraordinarily powerful way to connect with inspired, innovative educators who have a wealth of resources and information to share. It’s easy to develop a network in a short amount of time with this tool, and it’s very easy to share ideas and resources.  I have made connections with other principals and teachers on twitter that have allowed me to ask questions to improve my practice and share resources with my teachers.  

You know that feeling you get when you attend a conference? That feeling of inspiration or affirmation of the work you’re doing and the excitement to get back into your building to do great work? That's how I feel each day when I check my twitter feed.

As an instructional leader of a school, it is essential that you are continuing to learn and model learning for your staff. This is why “twitter time” is valuable to my professional learning and growth.  I have developed my own personal Professional Learning Network (PLN) through twitter. I continue my learning every day by reading blog posts, news articles or new research that other professionals “tweet” each day. I can tweet a question and get replies from other administrators almost instantly. Someone recently tweeted the quote “great leaders learn from their mistakes, brilliant leaders learn from other mistakes.” The only way to learn from others is if you are connected.

I have had the pleasure of sharing the power of twitter along with fellow principals Curt Rees (Onalaska) and Jay Posick (Merton) at the AWSA convention and SLATE conference.  It has been amazing to see the Wisconsin PLN expand on twitter.  Chad Harnisch (Principal in Rice Lake) sent out a tweet that is a perfect example of discovering the benefits of twitter: “27 hours after my indoctrination, I’m left to wonder what took me so long...Twitter is changing my brain.  Great way to find the good stuff.”

So, are you ready to get started?  http://bit.ly/AWSA2011

Here’s a helpful checklist of things to do once you’re on twitter:http://bit.ly/twitterchecklist

Some great principals to start following:

@AWSALeaders1 (AWSA)

@PrincipalJ (myself)

@WiscPrincipal

@PosickJ

@principal_rlhs

@HowePrincipal

@epvandenheuvel

@ToddWhitaker

@eduleadership

@L_Hilt

@bhsprincipal

@NMHS_Principal