cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by SparkCBC

Last week I was invited to participate in my first ever Twitter Chat.  (Learn more about their regular chats here!)  It was about blogging which was ironic since I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks, but I thought it was a good opportunity since I’d never participated in a Twitter Chat before–and I love to learn something new.

I read up on the chats on the Indiana Department of Education eLearning page (because I really didn’t know what a Twitter Chat was)–and learned about Twubs.  I have to admit I don’t know how I would have been successful in my participation were in not for Twubs!  This tool helped to capture all of the Twitter posts with #INeLearn in the post and it also added the hashtag to all of my posts for me.  This made it easy to follow the chain of posts and also fast for me to add posts.

And…fast is exactly what I needed!  I consider myself a driven person, able to keep pace with most people.  A Twitter Chat is a whole different beast!  Within the first two minutes I was completely overwhelmed by the constant stream of posts and trying to respond to people yet still read the tweets arriving to my Twubs pages.  Incredible!  The chat lasted an hour–but it seemed like ten minutes.  I have no idea where the time went and was actively engaged the entire time.  It was just like the photo above that I used to start this post.

Why do I share this with you?  Well…I learned a few things.

1.  Twitter Chats won’t be for everyone.  If you don’t like fast paced–it might not be something you’d find enjoyable.

2.  Leaders need to be learners, too.  I have a hard time not having tried what others are doing.  Even if I decide it’s not a helpful tool for me, I want to at least give it a shot.  (Next up, flipping an administrative team meeting!)

3.  Use tools to help and ask for help if you need it.  The Indiana Department of Education eLearning Division is incredible–and they take the time to help you by putting out a page to help you know how to participate in Twitter Chats.  Don’t be afraid to use resources provided–it would have been hard to figure out on my own!

4.  Fear can cause you to miss out!  Don’t be afraid of jumping in to something new.  I met lots of new people, visited and followed lots of new blogs, and even joined a Google+ community about blogging.  None of that would have happened without the professional learning I did on that Twitter Chat (thanks, guys!).

5.  Be authentic.  It’s good for superintendents to interact these ways with teachers, administrators, those studying to be teachers–we all gain knowledge and perspective from each other.

I hope that you’ve taken the opportunity to embrace Connected Educator month.  Even more than that–I hope you’ve grown this month in ways you could never have expected.  I know I did!

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