This year, my goals as a connected educator are to focus on building my brand, making new connections, and introducing others to the power of Twitter. I feel that I am more capable of doing these this year because I’ve been able to see what a difference being a connected educator could do for me. Now I want to show others what a difference it can make for them as well.
Last year, my main focus was simply on becoming better at being connected, whether that was with Twitter or blogging. Twitter was the easier of the two, as I was known to let my blog slack off into oblivion. With Twitter, I had a set time I would participate in edchats, though I wouldn’t always post much else at first. Once I got into a routine, I did much better. Slowly I made more contacts through the #wvedchat group, and then I later added the #minecraftedu one (formerly known as #minecrafted). As the school year moved forward, I was having a much easier time keeping track, and even learned to help moderate a few #wvedchat sessions. Edchats seem overwhelming at first, but they aren’t if you’ve got the right people to help you get settled in!
Blogging was a whole other story. In general, I have blogged during many different times in my life. I used to keep a LiveJournal that I posted to and updated. I believe I got it around 2003, and I kept up with it for over ten years until I decided I didn’t want to update anymore. Education-wise, I kept one in grad school for a little bit, as we had to for a class, but then I let that one go. It still exists, but it’s not a very good effort. My current blog, Ready, Set, Go Tech!, was started on Tumblr in March of 2015. I updated it somewhat regularly until September of that year. I then let it fall to the wayside.
It wasn’t until January that I decided I needed to keep up with my blog. I had been exposed to quite a few different articles, as well as colleagues about telling one’s personal story because no one else would. It was during that time that my position as a technology integration specialist was cut due to the budget, so for me it became even more crucial to tell my side of things. I began using my blog more effectively. I not only told my job hunt story, but also shared Twitter transcripts, edtech information and resources, as well as my own opinion on topics occurring in the educational world.
Fast forward to the present, and now I try my hardest to keep to a posting schedule for my blog. I want it to be updated regularly so that it others are able to read new content at least once a week. I know others may post less, but for me, this encourages me to think and write about what matters most to me. I made Thursday the day that I would post a new update. Tuesday evenings became the time to post my Twitter transcripts, but only because both of the edchats I participate in occur that evening. I post randomly at other times, but I am very consistent with my set days.
Being connected as an educator, both on Twitter and as a blogger, allows me to constantly reflect on my work at any time. I am able to talk to educators weekly about issues or technology or any other educational topic. I am able to reflect on the things I have done during the weeks and months of work, as well as what I’ve accomplished outside of school. I can go back to any of my posts for inspiration or reference.
My story is woven into all of my social media work as an educator. No one else would tell my story but me. Sure, I had some articles in the newspaper about my work, but those only tell one part of what I do. Articles are a once in a blue moon thing; when I take control of telling my story, it’s constant. Suddenly, there’s all kinds of documentation about who I am and what I do as an educator. That’s the way it should be for everyone.
Thus, I feel it’s part of my duty this year to make one of my goals focused on showing others what being connected can do for them. The best way to do that is to keep doing what I have been doing, and to share my own progress with them. I’ve been working on taking my conference presentation and developing it into a professional development session for the district. I’m going to see about getting educators on board. Thankfully, I developed it in Google Classroom, which means educators don’t have to come to a physical PD session if they are unavailable.
As for myself, I plan to keep up with my Twitter and blog connections. I plan to explore at least one new edchat this year and hopefully add it to my repertoire. I plan to make sure I am keeping to my blogging schedule. Finally, I’ll keep sharing my story. After all, who else will?