In September 2010, I signed up for my own professional Twitter account. Before PLP, I viewed Twitter as the social network used to follow celebrities and people out of my "average-life" reach! While Facebook was the social network I used to connect with people I knew and therefore, were within my reach. Since then my view has changed.
My first tweet was definitely exciting - I think I actually typed in "this is my first tweet." Silly...I know! :) Our principal, @Lyn Hilt, encouraged us to begin participating in #edchat, #elemchat, and to start "lurking." She would retweet our messages to help us reach a broader audience, in hopes that we would build our PLN. I also found lists of educators on Twitter to follow through Google searches and blog posts. It was intimidating for me to tweet in the beginning. Usually, I am extremely shy before you get to know me then, once you know me, it becomes hard to keep me quiet! :) I did not know the people on Twitter and I felt like they did not know me. At first, I felt as though I was an outsider to those who had already learned to rely on one another as they connected on Twitter. As a result of my Twitter insecurities, I lurked for many months. I would tweet randomly throughout the school year - mainly asking for comments on my students' new blog posts using #comments4kids.
I will admit, 'lurking' did give me a lot of interesting ideas and methods to use in my classroom and I learned more than I thought was possible. But is that fair? I am not sharing my ideas with others...this is how you begin to build a true PLN. This may be the BIG reason I feel disconnected when using Twitter. Recently, I have made a few new connections with other fourth grade teachers, one of them from our class: @pattigrayson. We have hopes of connecting our classrooms next year and I am super excited to begin working together. Also, taking the advice of individuals in Teaching 2.0: Learning in a Connected World, I tried to participate in my first #4thchat on Monday night. I started with a few tweets in the beginning, which was very impressive for me; however, there were very few responses to what I said. Soon, there were tons of tweets pouring into the chatroom. It became difficult for me and I stopped participating. How do I stay connected in a Twitter chat? I know this is a great way to "meet", collaborate and learn from other people.
To this day, I am not sure if blogging will be my thing - but I do know that Twitter will allow me to learn from and collaborate with educators from around the world. This is a very powerful thing, and I hope that by the end of the summer I can truly say that "I feel connected."
This blog will be a reflection of my experiences this summer and beyond, as I strengthen my PLN and discover new Web 2.0 tools that will engage my students in authentic learning experiences. Also, this blog will be used as my portfolio - a collection of created "products" - as I explore different online tools and activities. Through technology, we have the opportunity to connect and communicate with individuals from all over the world. My hope is that this blog will develop into a resource and inspiration for other educators.