Thursday, October 23, 2014

Connected Teaching & Learning

It is no secret that my passion for teaching stems from my passion for learning.  I love to learn and am willing to learn about nearly anything.  Plumbing, arbor culture, tennis, word origins, Phillis Wheatley and German phrases are just a few of the things I have studied in the past year.  I get a little charge when I figure out something new and will pester experts in any of these fields for new facts and knowledge.

It is a little embarrassing, really.

But it is in these connections with others that I gain the most valuable stuff.  As a result of my incessant questing, my arborist has retired and my teenage son will roll his eyes when I ask dumb questions about tennis.

All kidding aside, most of my favorite "experts" are willing to engage in a lively conversation about their field - which is my favorite way to learn.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a conference run by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (read my blog about it here).  It was great to have the opportunity to sit and listen to experts all day long.  Like a good student, I paid attention and listened to the contributions of others.

By the end of the day, I was feeling like I had some questions of my own.  I wanted to connect with the group in a deeper way.  I took out my phone.  The conference was tweeting under a hashtag - of course!  Reading the comments of others was fun.  More importantly, it was empowering. I tweeted.  So did many others - people I knew from other schools, my boss, people I had never met before, but later I would follow.  We all had questions, comments, affirmations and retweets.  It was like grilling my arborist about my burning questions - only way better (sorry, Sam!)

WHAT IF teachers held class this way?  As we taught and learned together, students could tweet their questions and comments.  How much more would we all learn and connect?  How would that impact student motivation and drive?

It is hard to say, but think I will find out tomorrow when we experiment with tweeting in class!


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