I have been off twitter for a while—a week? Couple of weeks? I’m not sure, as I have been busy starting school. . .but even before that, I had sort of checked out–not been getting on as much as I had—perhaps I’ve been “sort of gone” a month. It doesn’t really matter how long it was, I just know I have felt disconnected, and I think that’s why I have been feeling unsettled and a bit grumpy, too. I’m now wondering if I was subconsciously preparing myself to return to school.
I’ve been sharing many good retweets last night and this morning—and gotten several “thank you for the RTs” DMs. When I RT’ed @taniasheko’s “Thanks for making the conversation happen about brainstorming. Please join http://bit.ly/FGNDO”, she then responded with a personal invitation, “Come on in. Have a say.” (I missed it, though, because I went to bed!) @Jackiegerstein said, “Thanks for that re-tweet, Paula! Appreciate it.” I responded with “My pleasure, Jackie, I learn so much from your tweets.” She responded back, “and me from you. I love this mutuality.”
Mutuality . . .connections. . .sharing. . .meeting new folks. . .learning how other schools (or systems) work. . .finding new resources and tools. . .learning to use those tools and resources. . .keeping abreast of world news. . .getting primary source reports of world happenings. . .collaborating across my state, my country and the world. . .being published in a variety of venues. . .being exposed to opposing views and having heated discussions. . . being challenged. . .being offered new opportunities. . .presenting with people I’ve never met. . .supporting folks from across my nation in applications. . .being supported by people as I apply. . .participating in a fast and furious exchange of info and questions. . . The list could probably go on and on. . .
My point is simply that I have grown and changed through the mental stimulation that social networking tools provide me as I engage with other educators, bloggers, thinkers and doers around our world. MY world has grown both larger and smaller at the same time, as I have found commonalities and friends online, and challenged my small town thinking by those interactions.
I went back to my small country school expecting sharing and honest exchanges because I experienced that kind of dialogue all summer. I forgot not everyone has experienced the power of growing through social networking. I forgot not everyone has had exposure to life and the world—and schools—and projects—and intellectually stimulating conversations outside of their own face to face network.
That’s a harsh reality to face, walking into a building wanting to engage in the hard work of educating our kids for the contemporary world they will live in when working with mostly people who use the same methods teachers have used for many decades in America. It’s fine to want to do well by the kids, but we have to first understand what our kids need in this day and time, and we all need to take the time to explore, to talk, to think with others—all over the globe–to figure out how best to prepare our children for THEIR world, not try to perpetuate our old one.
How do you do this in your schools?
(follow up blog coming!)