Presenters: Abby French, History Teacher, Shenandoah County Public Schools; Patrick Hausammann, Supervisor of Instructional Technology, Clarke County/UnisonEDU/VSTE
Few tools or software have revolutionized on demand professional learning like Twitter. No teacher, anywhere need feel isolated and unable to seek inspiration, guidance, and collaboration. These powerful components of professional learning are all within the world of Twitter and at the fingertips of any educator.
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Welcome everybody to our session on professional learning and really learning and growing with Twitter and on-demand professional learning in that realm I am joined or I guess I should say I am Patrick Hausman and I am joined by Miss Abby French and Abby I'll let you introduce yourself and then we'll take it from there thanks Patrick so I'ma be French and it's really great to be here continuing our discussion Patrick and it's been a pleasure working with you on different projects in different fronts I'm excited today to talk a little bit about my journey into not only student-centered learning which is something I'm really passionate about I am part of a student-centered learning team of 6th grade teachers we kind of pioneer this effort and Endeavor to try to revamp the way we did things to curate and cultivate learning experiences on our team cross-curricular centered around putting kids at the center of their learning having kids doing not having like education, like learning happened to them but happened through them and I explain a little bit about that in our first first talk but today I really want to talk to everyone about the power or of connecting and leading your own learning as a professional I think that's one of the one of the things that'll be a constant theme throughout when we talk this time and that is trying to align some of those best practices that we see is awesome things in the classroom like student-led learning and letting them have voice and choice in different things but often that doesn't necessarily transcend into the world of professional learning for teachers and some of those best tenants kind of fall off to the side and we have set sessions and we have one-size-fits-all sessions and traditionally a lot of times those things dominate our professional Learning Tree landscape in education and I think one of the first things I was going to ask him if partially answered it there and maybe you can elaborate to or see if it's the same thing that's happened for you but a lot of times when you bring up the world word professional development or professional learning teachers kind of cringe or it's not necessarily a positive thing have you kind of experience that as well Mom I think we all have I think that and you know it I don't think that is ever anyone's intention I don't think it's your building level admin or a speaker that's brought in or someone from central office or School Board office delivering some professional development but it's never their intention to make teachers feel negative or to add one more thing or burden or or just bore I mean there are so many demands during a school day that are put on everyone that that that are part of the community as professionals whether you are a building like I said administrator or related arts or you or your class core content teacher whoever you are you are interacting with students you are interacting with your colleagues there are so many decisions that have to be made that happens for the moment there's so many issues going on that you have to act on that you can't plan for it by the end of the day when there's a fat body Workshop or when it says a day of professional learning yeah it can feel like just another thing and that's a shame because we need to have things we know we need to pour back into ourselves we need to expand our thinking and we need to be curious and we need to constantly be pursuing best you know best practice test norms and in that takes investigation and it takes yeah I just hit it takes learning and what kind of conditions does that happen in the most authentic way and I think that you know when it so badly Workshop you better have you better have a table of food entering and you know and then you just cross your fingers and hope for the best and teachers are some of the hardest sells you're going to have it as an audience that it's definitely always done with the best of intentions there are without a doubt sometimes things that everybody needs so it makes sense for everybody to be in the same space at the same time but unfortunately I think we fall into the end of the status quo or the it's just easier to keep doing it that way even if it's not necessarily the best fit for different things cuz not everybody is going to want to use or need to use the same piece of technology that may work in one person's room it may tank or just not be a fit it all in the next room down the down the line so I think we definitely have to start embracing some of those best practices on the side of people that kind of offer those developments or kind of create those opportunities but I also think just like we encourage our students to kind of lead their own I think teachers on the whole really need to start embracing that mentality as well as far as going out and getting learning for themselves and looking for it and actively engaging in it. I think I think those are excellent points and what occurred to me like why you what you were saying about your teachers need to be able to do that well I think often though it's something similar to like Wi-Fi with my students when I want them to start taking agency over their learning you know when I want them to start leading their learning I go through a. Of time where I have to almost convince them know I want you to do this I want you to take charge like no I'm handing you it's yours it's almost like teachers need that I don't know if it's commission but that culture that says your professional and I you are respected as such what are you interested in what areas do you want to learn more about how can I buy me as an admin How can I help you with your journey what what do I need to do to be able to help facilitate that so you can go for it because I think that is so empowering to know that you're your administrator to know that they believe that you are a skilled competent professional that should go explore and that's where it really becomes we don't need to be cookie cutters in our buildings we need we need to develop skills and be the best who we are authentic Lee and and yes of course there's professional development training that we all need to have for certain aspects of running our buildings and supporting structures within those systems of learning so I get that I don't really mean that but beyond that you know if it Patrick you and Technology you know you are so passionate about about the use of that and you're so passionate about putting that knowledge into the hands of what talking Equity is all school systems in all people that's your passion and I'm passionate about these set of things and we should have this because together and we had so much to a community and that's really I want my students I don't my soon-to-be cookie cutters I want them to be unique and I want them to be fully realized and who they are is that rich and I want my colleagues to be feel that way too because Deb is so awesome at doing Deb and Mike is so great at Mike and he should be more Mike I couldn't agree more everybody has it's like our students every teacher has a thing that really drives in something that really passionate about and things are really good at and then when you build that Collective community that says this is a safe place to go out and explore these new things to try these new things even fail at these things and then on the flip side recognize that hard work in some way at our school divisions and let teachers get maybe research points or give them opportunities the present at faculty meetings and show these things that they're passionate about recognize is that learning in the fact that we trust you enough we're not going to give you credit or we want to give you a stage to share that to Medias is the most powerful in that is giving others the opportunity helping amplify who these up like The Learning the passion the interest of other people and in doing so and doing that helping promote what's important to other people you help you help them see themselves you know in a different way and you as such a valuable piece to that what you said Collective community and I am not sure there's anything it's one of the most powerful experience has to have somebody say all I want to hear your story or I want to know what more about what you you have to say formational you hit on an another really important thing there is far as people need to feel that Comfort but then like we're discussing now like they they have to feel it but then they have to see it realize so that's where that comes in that's where that opportunity to share comes in because if you got to you got to talk to talk but you got to walk the walk on the flip side and actually get into it good I was going to say like I think like and by doing that so so you you are let's say you're you're passionate will it is about Equity a lot of what you do is about equitate digital equity you have an opportunity to share that and talk to it and talk about your things that excite you about that and installing those issues you having two stage to do that then of course I learn about that and if I have a you know if that isn't a strong area for me or if if I just am curious don't then I can go in that direction and go find you or pursue that on my own and then vice versa like whoever shares but I think that's how we we can learn and one of those I mean we can learn about how much we need to learn is what I mean by you sharing your thing I can find out o I don't know anything about that I need to I need to know more but I think that's the valley won't talk about introduced me and spoke about Twitter that's what Twitter is done for me when I say that to people that aren't really familiar with Twitter or don't use it I know it don't sound like I make any sense at all but that happens to me often when I go on my tangents but I would say that I'm not sure that I haven't found it yet intermittent what speaks to me and what is offered me the opportunity to really explore areas of interest for me and education connect with other people and incredible opportunities I never would have had in any other capacity Twitter has done that for me as a professional and a professional learning community that I've called today so I really really want to talk about that and I will say I think when I forget what conference it was at but Twitter really hit for me and the power of it and that you just touched down in the opening of doors as far as opening the door is not only to professional learning opportunities but then that virtual pln that you then begin to cultivate as she start to follow people and as you start to follow hashtags and things along those lines it opens up a completely new world to kind of instant on demand not only learning but aberration and place to as you build that and you get those white people surrounding you you then have that safety-net even outside of your building that you can launch ideas out you can ask for feedback and keep her and I'm sure you've experienced us to the very giving nature of a lot of people that you connect with Hezbollah yeah just it is blowing me away I'm out and it continues to lie cuz I reach new levels in my learning and aptitude and what I can bring to the table New Opportunities continue to open up and reveal themselves to me that I'm able to take apart up going back a little bit my first session I talked about student-led learning I talked about how that was really a big deal to me I was from my own experience as a parent and also that future but I I wanted to say that the connection with that and and two professional development happened through Twitter so there's that connector I'm really thankful for an invitation I had it in my district to attend an edleader21 conference 2 years ago this conference I don't know if you're familiar with that leader 21 or what they do but they put on an annual conference that is centered around 21st Century Learning and teaching and and specifically there the portrait of a graduate work that they do and on the very day that we arrived in Phoenix and got to the hotel where all of this conference will be taking place over the next 3 days on the very night I'm at the conference leader in the lobby of the hotel my superintendent introduced me to him 10-K and Ken said no Abby gray cat long so glad you could be here you know this is not going to be like any conference you ever attended and he said this isn't going to be something that happens to you it's going to be an experience and I just thought about that about that's incredible and he was right I left I left there and I was so fired up what up about student-centered learning and about what's what schools could be if you are familiar with that book by Ted dintersmith had was a keynote speaker at the conference site year I just was like this is what this is what it should be this is not only what it could be its what school should be students should be leading students should be identifying problems and solutions they should be connected to community they should be connected to real world authentic doing and they should be finding so please Solutions and carrying them out and they should be doing more in our own buildings running things having a part in it so I leave there and I'm just 21st century skills for C's 5 C's how do I know more how can I find out more about this I think I emailed my superintendent assistant superintendent asking them to help me forget get more and I decided to go on Twitter I'd had a professional account I did nothing with it for like a year and even understand how to do Twitter and I know like in the search bar I hope I searched up 20% relearning well that's what started it literally that's what started it I could I found I found people at the conference that I had you listened to that onstage I started following them I started reading everything I could about what people were doing with student-centered learning 21st Century Learning I followed hashtags I followed companies I followed leaders I found anybody that was talking about it I started reading articles that were posted because they're opposed to through Twitter I started watching videos about it cuz it was posted through Twitter you can access so much information and I never would have come in contact I wouldn't even know where to look for the things just in a Google search this was curated great stuff but if you're interested in whatever it is about in education whatever the thing is you can find it you can connect with it and you can next can connect with individuals that are leading and using and doing the things you're interested in I just was fascinated with the the level of accessibility I had to experts I think that is what was thrilling to me and and I just feel like I could start in as just a novice I can just come right where I was I didn't have to be in a equinox expertise I was there to learn what time I started cultivating a pln I started cultivating different learning communities and I start actually becoming really good friends with people friends are our connections I've made through Twitter and I have so many incredible opportunities but just have enriched not just my professional life really my life I would agree completely and I think a lot of people follow kind of a certain trigger trajectory into Twitter and I think a lot of times it does start with something that lights the fire and they get into Twitter but maybe things get busy and they just kind of sit in the background and may be observed maybe curate some things coming from it and then maybe another spark happens or that sparked gets reignited and they launched back in and then they start doing some of those searches and no sir just need two people to follow just like your story unfolded and then you start to look at okay well these people are tweeting with maybe this #I'm going to check that out and then you go down that you start connecting with a few more people in a spray rabbit holes absolutely and then you get into the world of something like Twitter chats and there's chats across all kinds of different content areas and topics just like there are hashtags there's tons of different places you can go but as I recommended everybody do not feel in any way negative or like you're not doing it right if you start small man in just do those searches there's nothing wrong with doing that for a stretch of time before you start with hashtags and start with chat be comfortable with how you go just like you would recommend for your student and we've touched on it a few times is that Comfort level is going to be a little bit different for each person as far as when they hit that point that that inner efficacy is where they need it to be to feel comfortable when we forsake the students in assuming you've had this reaction it's yours beat it go for it and when I say that the teachers I actually see the same thing twenty years to get yourself a part of but I've never been allowed to do that before I'm not sure how to do that am I allowed to do that and that's where I think Twitter is one of those stepping stones are people really start to build that comfort of chasing their own their name and going into the things they're passionate about and as they get to a certain point then they think I got good stuff to I'm going to start sharing my things out in your own voice it's the opportunity to tell you verbalize thing that you answering a reply in a chat about how you feel about a certain aspect of teaching that they are talking about whether it's a c l Haller whether it's in this circumstance or so many that were in right now with remote learning there are so many fabulous remote learning remote teaching resources support webinars just exactly what we're doing here for a free professional development course there is so much right now and I don't think that a lot of people know how to access that but it's right like Twitter such a fantastic place for that there's so many different Avenues you can go to and I know I will speak for myself but I think I'm comfortable also offering it on your side that anybody watching this that is interested in kind of tip toeing in or once in different pointers I know in this we haven't necessarily walk you through this how you set up an account this is how you do things but I would be more than happy to work with anybody to do that and Abby will as well we have another presentation as part of the brainstem conference from Darcy that is called staying Aloft in the twittersphere and she is on some of those things as well and as you get more into it if you're looking at say Twitter chats for instance Darcy touches on tweetdeck which is another tool tied to Twitter actually owned by Twitter but it is a godsend to follow different streams that'll keep it nicely curated for you in two different things and let you do chats easily yeah it's really really fantastic I would be interested if you can maybe share some of your maybe some of your just tips for people either if they're getting started or if they're going to getting ready to dive deeper I know we've touched on some things already and generally want to launch out some people may be that you started with that might be good starting point for people to so I would burst say that some of the things that I found very useful very helpful as a as a US history teacher okay one of the ways I started into Twitter was I wondered about how other teachers were teaching certain topics and so not only did I put in a #like a broad term like student-led learning is a pretty broad term but I was put in a specific thing so even without a hashtag in a search bar you could add Civil War pbl or presentation suffrage presentation or if you wanted to me any more specific like Socratic seminar on it will it will it'll search those things and find you connect you with tweets that have those words in them but I have done the very beginning I spent a lot of time doing searches for things like where I would put cuz I didn't know who to follow when you first started how do you know who to follow but you can do something like the at no symbol and then history civics or if it was biology or whatever it's going to it'll bring up people who have that in their name their Twitter handle and that's also been a really great way to start finding follows finding a chat on certain specific topics that you are interested in is can be really key and so you can Google you can in Twitter search education chats or social studies chat me of something specific but once you get into once you have found a community than following the people that are involved in that becomes just that's becomes a really easy way to to access specific communities and curating a Twitter pln is really fun it's fantastic but you got to start and you can't be afraid to just get in there you're not going to do it wrong text on this but I am continually surprised by the fact that even if you roll in and you have two followers like maybe a couple of your kids your colleagues found you in their following you but then you follow somebody that has 20 30 thousand followers you send a tweet to them they probably at least seven out of 10 8 out of 10 times I've done something like that I've gotten an actual response that doesn't happen as much just cold emailing somebody those emails get lost but somehow Twitter find this way through a lot of personal I've had I have contacted experts in their in their different areas or people off of a news story that I thought was really interesting that I would like to maybe feature them as a as a spike Skype into my classroom kind of Google Hangout in the classroom I have connected with teachers from all over the world all over the world and they have enriched what I'm doing and and learning experiences that we've collaborated on so much I just it's been unbelievable author mother's love to join classrooms absolutely I did want an author visit that was set up through Twitter this year with first graders it with an author that writes children's book and they were just blown away person was in their room and obviously it was Hangouts but it looks on their faces and the fact that Twitter made that possible that help me extend that nut teacher is now at least sold on using Twitter in certain ways and I love the fact that that opened another door for them and as we get four words kind of the end of our talk today I wanted to give you an opportunity to to think about Twitter and not only how it's kind of helped you but could you share a story with us maybe of a lesson or something you try a new student-centered learning is definitely there must be something you never would have considered doing before that connections on Twitter maybe maybe helped you with or even spark that idea yes yes I got something so one of the things that I have I've become a teacher US history and I have a really specific content to follow sometimes turning over a project or something to two students to let them try to find a problem or an issue to saw that they can really passionate sometimes not all the time but sometimes that's challenging and a really specific content or curriculum I also work with a group of advisory students where I have more of an open you know range of topics that we could we can work with an Explorer and one of the things that I am really really interested in are the sustainable development goals sdg you in the club and I've been really inspired by a lot of what we saw this year and about climate change and activism and I'm not trying to getting into a political thing here at all it's really about what to me I think like letting students see here in our own Community right here what issues are there with fingers like clean water week we get notices all the time from Tatar towns and in Shenandoah County that there is no contamination or bacterial or you know they're at this many particles and whatever it is we have issues of Clean Water right here in Shenandoah County what about food scarcity what about equality with working standards all different kinds of things exist right in our own backyard that affect in a much broader sense in a bigger communities that were connected to but I think I don't know if I haven't known a lot about it about any of the about teaching the global goals there are tremendous resources again through Twitter contacts that I've made teachers that are leading this kind of work and I've got two wonderful friends in Colorado that are teaching us doing this work all the time with their students in it and making a huge difference one teacher took her students to Rome last year mom is part of a huge youth Global initiative and Conference and they they presented some of the work they've done I thought that was phenomenal talk about kids getting connected to other world global communities and students and seeing that we're all facing some of the same challenges was really powerful I have another friend in Michigan who is doing work with her 5th graders that is just just phenomenal really really moving and inspiring and so that's the kind of thing where I wouldn't have access to those people or what they're doing how did doing it and they're so generous they are constantly sharing resources with me with anyone that's interested but it's just it is open my eyes so much and connected me in a much broader level than just just my classroom just to school but a bigger context I couldn't agree more I couldn't necessarily pinpoint one thing but the amount of things I've learned via Twitter and the amount of people have connected with has helped me to grow at exponentially since I've really kind of dovin and I hope that this video helps people be kind of at least feel more comfortable going that route and seeing some of the awesome possibilities that can come from it and as always taking time to learn with you and talk with you Abbey is time well spent for anybody I sincerely appreciate your time and the fact that we get not one but two different sessions are the brainstorming conference is an awesome experience for everybody if anybody would like to contact me about any of the things I've talked about or what if you want any help with anything let me know you can find me on Twitter at aw French one and that's what I'm here for thank you