. . . look at crowds differently. I now scan faces, looking for faces I know from an avatar. I go out in the world looking for friendly faces, instead of avoiding strangers’ eyes. I especially do this if I am my way to a professional gathering where I know members of my PLN will be—like a conference or the Google Teacher Academy.
. . . much more helpful to my staff. They ask me a question and if I don’t know it someone in my Twitter PLN does–and usually I get a response within minutes
. . . not feel isolated in my own classroom. If all my school buddies are busy and I have a break, I can talk with my Twitter buddies. I can ask questions, I can express joy or frustration or bewilderment, or anger or whatever and someone will probably respond. I can even have a philosophical discussion in the middle of the day by throwing a statement out to the Twitterverse
. . . feel valued for being a teacher. When someone shares a feel good moment they had, I relate to those—because I’ve had them too, and for a moment, the shared humanity of being a teacher and the memory of seeing those “Ah-Ha!” moments, or getting that hug, or friendly note from the Mom or thank you from a family person, or a smile from that hard-to-reach kid makes my day.
. . . feel honored for being a thinker. I love it when someone disagrees with me or adds to something I said, or responds to it in a way that makes me see another perspective. I’ve even had folks tell me they favorited something I said because they can share it or want to come back and think about it. That has value for me.
. . . think about the world in different ways. I had my first realistic exposure to the world clock by seeing people in my Twitterverse say “Goodnight” as I got up in the morning—or seeing people say “Good Morning” as I was getting ready to go to bed. Time and the rotation of the earth becomes real in a very genuine way when you are “talking“ to those who live in a drastically different time zone than you.
. . . pay attention to world news in a different way. I’ve worried about Twitter friends when raging fires were nearing their homes—or a hurricane approached their house or the houses of their family members.
. . . feel differently about walking into my classroom each day because I teach in a school system that honors teachers, that values quality engagement in students and that respects differences in human beings. I know my county staff is proud of what teachers and students do in our schools and I am proud that our leadership is a thinking and learning leadership team.
. . . look to use words in ways that I didn’t before. When you only have 140 characters to share your thoughts, you learn to make them fairly succinct and you value each letter, each word, each nuance.
And, at that, I’ll quit. . . except to say that it’s not really Twitter that does these things for me–it’s the amazing, wonderful, thoughtful, smart people that interact with me–and who teach me, and who help me understand the world better each day by sharing. Thank you all for making MY world a better place.