Monday, September 13, 2010

How 140 Characters Changed Me

It is hard to believe that I will be sitting on an education panel in the morning at the 140 Conference in Boston talking about how Twitter is impacting schools.

A little less than two years ago I signed up for a Twitter account and quickly dismissed it as a useful resource, thinking that it was a place where people posted inane updates on their activities. However, a short time later I was made aware of the amazing educators connecting on Twitter and sharing resources in an attempt to change the way we do things in education.

Imagine going from the traditional mindset that has perpetuated our schools where collaboration and communication with colleagues  has been scarce and discovering a place where you can get feedback and support 24-7.  I simply cannot say enough about the value that my Personal Learning Network on Twitter has added to my life.  I talked about this in a post titled I Don't Understand My Colleagues Sometimes on the Educators' Royal Treatment a while back.  I am thrilled at the fact that I have been able to add a number of administrators to my PLN since that post. These educators have learned first hand the value that social media can add to their professional lives.

For me, Twitter has been the place where I have received the best Professional Development in my career. It has been more valuable than any class or workshop that I have ever been a part of. Did I mention that it is free?

I could go on with a number of concrete examples of how Twitter has changed me and is impacting our school (and I will in the near future). But my experiences with other educators is that this phenomenon is something you really have to experience for yourself.  Watching me or hearing my stories is not the most effective way to get others to engage in Twitter or any other social media platform.  You just need to get on and give it a shot.

I guarantee that it will change you too. But more importantly, it will help change things for your students.


  1. I agree. In just a few short months, Twitter has changed me as well. I had signed on in 2008, but never quite understood the utility of it. I recently blogged of my journey as well. ( I have always loved learning new things - but Twitter has opened a whole new world of possibilities. I'm grateful to learn along side of so many outstanding, caring, knowledgeable educators with a deep commitment to student learning!

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. I love using Twitter as well. I, too, agree that it has opened up new avenues through which I can connect with colleagues from around the world. I can update my pedagogies and skills. I recently connected with a former student whom I had years ago. It was so rewarding to see just how much she has progressed in life.
    Good luck today, Mr. Larkin, on your 140 Conference. Thank you for representing BHS.