Why Twitter? For Learning and Connecting!

If I used Twitter the way most people think Twitter is used, last week I would have posted:

  • A re-tweet of The Walker School announcement that school was closed on Monday
  • A picture-tweet of the thermometer prior to morning carpool on Tuesday showing 5°F
  • A tweet saying how yummy the SAGE vegetable soup was for lunch on Wednesday
  • A video of Maisie bouncing at the door, welcoming me home from work late on a Thursday
  • A tweet saying that I had procrastinated in writing this blog entry on Friday afternoon

Why TweetBut the reality is that as the Lower School Principal and as an ongoing learner, I use Twitter for so many different reasons. While I did not actually tweet any of the examples above, the mundane occasionally makes it into a tweet. But as a professional educator and leader, I see Twitter is the place where I primarily go to amplify my professional learning, connect with other administrators and teachers to glean ideas and best practices, and share the dynamic teaching and learning that happens within (and outside) of the walls of the Lower School at The Walker School.

One specific way that Assistant Principal Liz Meadows and I use to Twitter amplify, connect, and share is by documenting our Lower School Learning Walks using the hashtag #LSLearningWalk. A goal of ours is to informally observe (and offer feedback to teachers and even students) on a regular basis. We often schedule a LS Learning Walk on our calendar because it’s as important a commitment as a meeting with a parent or teacher. Once a Learning Walk is scheduled, we do just that: we learn and we walk. And we use Twitter to document and share the teaching and learning that we happen upon in the hallways, classrooms, lunchroom, or even out at recess! We kicked off 2014 with three days of learning walks which we not only documented on Twitter but also on the Lower School Learning blog in a post full of visuals and videos titled “Lower School Learning Walk – First Week of 2104.”

Fifth grade Language Arts teacher Kate Carter also uses Twitter for learning and connecting. She shares, “Although I wish I could tweet more during the school day, I love that Twitter allows me to celebrate those special learning moments in the classroom that usually only I, as the teacher, get to see. I can’t tell you how many times in prior years I said to my students, “I wish your mom/dad was here to see this!” Now, they often hear me say, “Oh my goodness, I have to tweet this!!” Having a twitter handle (@KateCarter15) helps me connect and also reminds me to celebrate the special little moments that happen every day here at school.”

Fifth Grade Twitter

Mrs. Carter also invites her students to tweet. At any point during the school day, a student can share something they learned by completing the paper form that’s in her classroom. It’s a learning experience in itself to synthesize and summarize new information in 140 characters or less! It’s also a great way for Mrs. Carter to assess what students are learning and to evaluate what they find powerful in their classroom experiences.

All in all, Twitter is certainly something extra. It’s another social networking tool, but as an educational leader, it’s the tool I (and many others) use to amplify professional learning, connect with other administrators and teachers, and share the dynamic teaching and learning that happens within (and outside) of the walls of the school. A lot of teachers and parents at The Walker School are giving it a try — ask around and you may find it a helpful way to learn even more about how this social networking tool is inspiring meaningful relationships and engendering transformative learning!

You do not have to have a Twitter account to follow The Walker School on Twitter. Click here to access the School’s profile and Twitter handle (@thewalkerschool).

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