One of the great things about taking on my COETAIL certification is the connections with educators in my cohort, past COETAILers and other educators from around the world. For me, the primary way I have done this is through Twitter and LinkedIn. When I publish a blog post for #COETAIL it is pushed out through a variety of social media platforms, and this, of course, increases my reach. Subsequently, this has allowed me to make some great connections and increase my Professional Learning Network. The other main avenue for me to stay connected and increase my PLN has been through Twitter chats, which I quite enjoy. I like the fast pace, the fury of creativity, new ideas, and the way hashtags allow you to keep your conversations curated.
Leveraging Twitter to grow my PLN
Let me dive into some examples of my community connections over the last several months. The first one is a Twitter chat called #WhatisSchool, this one is led by Craig Kemp, who is a well known edtech consultant. You can find a copy of the tweets below in my Wakelet collection:
This chat was at the very beginning of 2020 and focused on a discussion around goals for 2020 and our vision for the year. My how things have changed since this Twitter discussion!
The next Twitter chat I want to reference is #AppleEDUchat which is hosted in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific by Apple Distinguished Educators around the world. This particular one grabbed my attention because of the co-host David Lee who I worked with at Korea International School. David is doing some great things around design thinking and definitely worth a follow on Twitter. At our school we have a tech integrationist who is newer to the profession and I have been able to connect her with David which has really helped her program. Here is a Wakelet of my tweets during that chat:
The next Twitter chat is from Australia, and called #tlapdownunder. This particular chat I happened to stumble on about a year ago. I am an early riser and one Sunday morning as I was checking my Twitter feed I happened to scroll across this chat and just hop in. It has since become an almost weekly part of my Sunday morning routine, and allowed me to connect with many educators in the Pacific. The lead on this chat is Karen Caswell, give her a follow on Twitter if you are not already. This particular chat was lighthearted and involved captioning several photos of animals in action, from an educational lens. You can see my tweets here in this Wakelet collection:
Here is another #tlapdownuner chat that I participated in. The theme of this one was “Spin the Wheel”, where each question was a clickable GIF that had a spinning wheel of questions. Quite a unique approach to a Twitter chat. You can find my answers below:
On April 5th, I had the opportunity to host #tlapdownunder. When I originally signed up, I was going to design my questions around innovation, but since we had moved into virtual learning, I thought an interesting topic might be to look at education in a post Covid world. The conversation was rich and engaging, you can find a link to a wakelet below with the questions and some of my responses to participants:
Another Twitter chat that I have had the privilege of helping to grow is #pubpdlatam. After seeing the success of #pubpdasia while living in South Korea for 4 years, when I moved to Brazil, I knew this was something that I wanted to grow here. I was able to connect with Frank Hua from International School of Panama and we got the ball rolling. We have co-hosted a couple of #pubpdlatam chats, and most recently connected with Shaun Kirkwood to host #pubpdlatam, #pubpdamericas chat on Reimaginijng Education Post Coronavirus. We were able to leverage the great work of Carlos Galvez and the work of #pubpdglobal . You can find a Wakelet with the chat here:
Connecting with COETAILers!
On March 25th, I had the opportunity to get together with some members of my #COETAIL11 cohort. Although the meeting took place during my morning and I was beginning my work day, I was able to drop in for part of it. The purpose of the meeting was to share successes around our virtual learning programs. Some of us were beginning our journey, and others were weeks in. And of course in the end, what did we all agree on “We should have done this sooner”. A copy of the conversation can be found here:
About a month ago, I had the opportunity to write an article for an organization called School Rubric whose goal is to “help international schools, educators, and families make the best choices regarding enrollment, staffing, relocation, and best practices”. The Managing Director, Wallace Ting, asked if I would be interested in presenting to fellow leaders about our Virtual Learning Program at ISC. On April 11th, I made a presentation on our VLP to 20 other administrators from around the world. This was a great way to share the experiences of my school, answer questions, and here how other schools are designing their online learning programs. You can find a copy of the presentation here:
While working in South Korea, we hosted Joe Brooks from Community Works Institute, a professional development organization for K-16 schools. They do work around place based service learning, equity, social justice, and socio-emotional learning. Our work with them while in Korea, focused on place based service learning growth opportunities for our MS/HS students. Since that time I have stayed connected with Joe and become a member of the collaborative. Most recently, Community Works Institute hosted a conference on Teaching for a Community without a Classroom. I was asked to give a presentation on Digital Tools for Innovative Virtual Learning. You can find the program and slides below.
It wasn’t until I started tracking my connections that I realized I had made quite a few in 2020 given all the challenges. These connections, however, are what have made these challenges surmountable. I have gained all kinds of support, good ideas, and general and specific feedback. And I have felt like I have been able to help others along in their journey. I am interested to hear from others on how they grow their Professional Learning Networks, and of course, any good Twitter Chats that you participate in.