For the past two years I have been a passive twitter member. I checked my twitter feed rarely. That was until a few months ago. I realized that I could stay up to date on the news by following my local newspaper. Over the last few months I found myself sitting at the breakfast table with my phone instead of a newspaper. I felt much more connected to my local community and was aware of what was going on.
From there I found some great teachers from my area and beyond that push the definition of connected teacher. Through their inspiring and reflective tweets I was again connected to more ideas. This new found appreciation of twitter also was the reason for a phone switch from blackberry to iPhone. Both are still older models but my new to me iPhone allows me to connect much easier to my PLN.
Two weeks ago was really when I realized that Twitter had changed me. The olympics has really shown me how important twitter and social media has changed how we interact with the world around us. I have always loved watching the olympics and cheering on our athletes but this year watching the olympics was different. I felt more connected to the athletes than ever before. Instead of cheering at them through my television set hoping that they would somehow sense my positive vibes I could send them a tweet to show my support. I love that I have the ability to join a chorus of support so that the athletes know that we care.
This has also made me aware of social media etiquette. I read about one athlete say that she wouldn’t be reading twitter because she didn’t want to read all the criticism about her looks. This made me sad. Sometime i think that we forget that our words hurt. Although it is easy to say what you want to online and people are often braver then they would be face to face it is still not okay. We are constantly telling kids to stop bullying each other.
How do we expect them to do this when everywhere they turn they see and read adults bullying other adults? I’m not saying that I’m perfect I don’t find all of the athletes in the olympics attractive but that is not the point. I don’t cheer louder for the attractive athletes. I cheer because they have worked hard in their sport and are representing their country well. Twitter should be used to support not hurt. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be critical, we should critical thought and discussion is important. We just need to be conscious of the impact of our words.
I look forward to being able to use twitter and social media to connect my students to the world around them. Hopefully we can tweet authors, scientists, historians, community members and friends. Twitter has changed how I interact with the world and I hope that I can show my students the value of this great resource.
Do you use twitter in your classroom? Connect with me and my class on twitter.