#FlyHighFri, innovation, math, PD, PLN, Twitter, VSTE

Twitter for PD

In this age of digital learning, I find my greatest ideas through the conversations and interactions with other educators across the globe. Today, students and teachers have the day off in our district for the UCI Road World Championships, an international bike race that is literally rolling down one of the main streets in our community. So exciting!
As my children enjoy their morning of sleeping in, I am connecting and learning in my own space, on my own time. Below are four things I discovered that inspire me to dig deeper and reach higher!
My #1 resource for finding inspiration is Twitter, without exception. Yes, I know, Pinterest is fun to pin ideas, but my Twitter PLN (Personal Learning Network) shows me how those ideas are put into practice, with reflections of success and failures. Two years ago, I had a Twitter account but couldn’t remember my password. Today I can’t imagine being a life-long learner without it.
Last year I connected with Margaret Sisler (@techy_margaret) when I saw her tweet out a photo of a Twitter bird cookie cutter her students made with a 3D printer in school. (I immediately made a monetary donation to the school so I could have one, too!) 
Since then I’ve followed her and others as they’ve contributed to #novaedchat and grown their passion for Twitter into a #TwitterPartyPD. Such fun! The ideas shared by Margaret and her teammates Sam Wightman (@thatswightman) and Kendra Murphy (@techinteaching) keep me motivated throughout the week. I love how educators are using Twitter to enhance their professional knowledge and expertise – it’s inspiring to see teachers and district leaders connecting and sharing in real time. I would love to get a Twitter Party going in HCPS! Who’s with me?
Looking for a fun way to bring global collaboration into the classroom? This engaging activity has one class a day, per grade, tweet out a math word problem while other classes around the world respond through tweets and pics to show how they solved the problem. It’s a quick, fun way to practice math skills while also realizing how “big” this world can be, connecting students in a unique collaborative sharing experience!
Created by Beverly Ladd (@BevLadd) and Heidi Samuelson (@swampfrogkids), this project has potential to go viral! Who knew critical thinking could be so enjoyable for students? If you are interested in jumping in and not sure how to start, send me an email at tletter@hcps.us and I’ll help you get connected. If you don’t have a Twitter account, no problem! We can get you up and running with your own account or you can post tweets through mine!
(As a side note, meeting Beverly at the ISTE Conference this summer was one of the highlights from my trip!)
This morning I saw a tweet posted by VSTE World Headquarters (@vste) referencing an Edutopia article about implementing innovation. As a tech integrator, my job is to constantly look for ways to bring the outside world into the classroom, to prepare students and teachers for the tasks and skills necessary to function in a changing digital world. This article was great because it addressed the challenges people face when change is imminent and how to ease the growing pains often associated with new ideas and concepts.
I often hear from teachers that districts keep “adding to the plate” without taking anything away. What if, however, the new initiatives being introduced actually made a teacher’s job so efficient they wouldn’t need to use the tools of decades past? In the art of empowering teachers to have choice, we often forget to remind them that choice includes letting go of whatever doesn’t work or fails to meet the goals and purpose of a lesson or unit.
My hope as a tech integrator is to inspire teachers to try new things, to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn, and to take a tiny step in a positive direction to make teaching and learning more powerful, more relevant, and more engaging for students and teachers alike.
Looking for weekly inspiration? Check in to Twitter on Fridays with the hashtag #FlyHighFri to read about the positive moments in teachers’ classrooms throughout the week. This global sharing opportunity was created by fellow educator and friend, Justin Birckbichler (@Mr_B_Teacher) who recognized the power of positivity for keeping the educational boat afloat through calm and tumultuous seas. (Yes, that was a bit of Dave Burgess#tlap mindset slipping through with that last sentence, but it fits!)  I encourage you to post the highlights of your week with the hashtag #FlyHighFri or consider starting a FHF club at your own school to promote kindness and positive actions all year long.
We’re all in this together! Connect with me through Twitter (@HCPSTinyTech) or email (tletter@hcps.us) and let’s get this party started with PD and new ideas for the classrom! 

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