Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Social Media as PD

Hi Everyone,
It's been a while since I've posted here.  That is primarily because our #EdTechBridge transcripts are now being seamlessly archived thanks to @nurph!

This week I was asked a question from an administrator....

I heard that you run a twitter chat weekly.  I am presenting a workshop at the K-5 meetings next week on using Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as professional development tools.  If you have any info you would like me to share regarding your chat or the benefits you have found regarding the use of these tools I would love to hear it.  

Well, Ask and ye shall receive!  First, let me say that I am so pleased that this particular administrator is bringing this topic to her department meeting.  It is so important for administrators to be connected and sharing the value with their teachers. Bravo.

Here's my reply:

Hi Kathy,
Finally came up for air and wanted to make sure I got some information and hopefully insight your way. 
I'll start with my views on twitter and social media as professional development and the value of cultivating a PLN (Professional/Personal Learning Network).  Twitter has been a tremendous tool for professional growth for me for the past 3 years.  That may even be understated as it has been amazing beyond words.  I have developed relationships with amazing educators and other stakeholders around the world.  Generally speaking, the relationships begin on twitter but the relationship that develops beyond twitter is where the real value lies.  My participation and sharing of what I do, resources, etc. has led to amazing opportunities for me including presenting at National Conferences, collaborating with EdTech developers, educators, etc. and being invited to events by organizations like the Gates Foundation.  In fact, this past weekend I was at a convening in New Orleans for a Gates Foundation organization called ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers).  The Gates foundation took care of everything including transportation, lodging, food, etc while engaging incredible teachers from around the country in inspiring PD all weekend.  It doesn't take much to become a connected educator and once started there's truly no turning back!  The community continues to be refreshing and encouraging as we all continue to grow.
So, that was a little context.
The weekly chat that I co-founded and co-moderate is called EdTechBridge.  Our mission is to help foster collaborative relationships among educational stakeholders (EdTech developers, Teachers, Researchers, Parents, and Students) in order to develop better EdTech products to ultimately enhance learning opportunities for the Students we serve.  My part in the collaboration started based on work I've been doing in terms of collaboration with companies like E-Line Media, YoYoGames, and GameMaker.  A developer from E-line media (and now brainpop) asked if I would like to co-present a problem solving session on bridging the divide between Entrepreneurs (Developers) and Teachers at South by Southwest EDU in Austin this past March.  Our commitment was to work with the attendees to break down the issues and develop a community that would live beyond the conference.  Our primary vehicle has been the twitter chat which takes place on Wednesday nights at 7pm EST. The community is awesome and is made up of a nice mix of people from edtech companies as well as teachers, researchers, parents and students.  Each week we have a different topic and generally invite the person who's topic idea it is to co-moderate with us.  It's been truly amazing and I have met a number of our chat participants on my trips to various conferences.  That's the best part.  Outside of the chat we are continually hearing stories of the relationships that are forming and the collaboration that is coming from them.   You can see the past chat transcripts and stats by visiting and the #EdTechBridge blog (  Tonight's chat can be accessed through @nurph by visiting  Nurph is nice for people new (and old) to twitter chats because it puts you in a chat room environment for the chat making it far less distracting compared to trying to follow the chat through twitter or other twitter apps.  Generally speaking, people can always access the chat by visiting
While I'm at it, I'll also throw out a plug for my new twitter chat addiction, #BFC530.  This 'spark' chat is held at 5:30 am EST and 5:30 am MST (7:30 EST).  It's only a 15 minute chat with one question and a different moderator each day.  It's a great community of people. The chat happens to have been started by another fine NJ educator (@ScottCapro) and it is a truly inspiring way to start the day.  I get up close to then anyway and find that lately I am popping out of bed instead of hitting snooze several times as the chat really starts the day off right. 
Please feel free to reach out for any more information or support with regard to bringing more Bernards Township Educators on board.  I can no longer imagine being a teacher without a PLN.
Have a great session this afternoon!!

P.S.  Hope to see you tonight at 7pm EST for our weekly chat! 

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