This Changes Everything

August 8, 2017

 

I probably haven't shared this story enough before. (Especially since it has impacted me so much as an educator and father.) It was approximately five years ago that I was staring at my Twitter account wondering, "Why?"

 

  • Why would anybody proclaim that this tool could yield anything of substance?

 

  • What was the point?

 

  • Who has the time?

 

When I joined Twitter I truly didn't "get it." It made no sense at all and it continued making no sense as I watched a steady stream of celebrity selfies and sandwiches* pop up in my Twitter feed. Of course, there's still a steady stream of celebrity selfies and perplexing political tweets on Twitter, but somewhere along the line something changed for me.

 

I started seeing Twitter as more than a tool. The moment I participated in an educational "Twitter chat" I experienced it as a space. These Twitter chats have helped me connect, learn, and grow in a manner that was previously unfathomable.

 

Educational Twitter chats are typically conversations that take place over the span of 30-40 minutes. (This extended conversation is dramatically different than tweeting out sandwich selfies, short sound-bytes, or random quotes.) Twitter chats are organized by hashtag, and all you need to do to participate is follow a specific hashtag and include that same hashtag in your responses to each question that a moderator poses.

 

The best part about most Twitter chats is that they are completely open and anyone can participate regardless of role. This means that high school teachers can be discussing the same topic with kindergarten colleagues, and principals can be learning from parents, coaches, and paraprofessionals. It's awesome!

 

If you’re looking to dip your toe in the water and practice participating in a Twitter chat for your first time, I've got a special invitation for you. This invitation also applies to experienced leaders in the field, but they mostly know that they are already invited to join us!

 

Whether you're a classroom leader, campus leader, or district leader...we want to learn from you. Mark your calendar for August 14th at 7pm CST. We'll be using the #P12Leaders hashtag for this chat. The overarching theme will be building capacity and positive deviance. Although the chat aligns with some of my book, Renegade Leadership, you definitely don't need the book to be part of this Twitter chat.

 

I'm including a sneak preview of the questions below:

 

Q1. In 10 seconds or less...why are you an educator? (Bonus points for video responses.)

 

Q2. Why is the status quo so difficult to alter? How do you do it?

 

Q3. If your library could only contain 10 titles, what would they be?

 

Q4. How have you been a positive deviant in your role? (Bonus points for specific examples.)

 

Q5. Who inspires you to take risks and keep learning?

 

Q6. How have you personalized learning for students or staff?

 

Q7. What did you learn this summer and how will you put it to action? (Call to action!)

 

*In full disclosure, I occasionally share a photograph of a good looking burger or sandwich. Here's one I shared from the #FutureReady Institute in Palm Springs last week. (The mountains in the background made this an epic lunch experience.)

 

 

 

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Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 

 

Connect on email at:

AdjustingCourse@gmail.com

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