I will confess to never having been a huge Professional Development enthusiast. I frequently found guest presenters having much sizzle, and not as much substance, and often wondered to myself after attending such workshops, "How much is this going to actually change the practice in my classroom or the school, long term?" The Pro-D I have been most energized by has come from working closely with our staff at Burnett, discussing topics near and dear to us, and eliciting and responding to student voices that had been raised when we asked them what was working and what needed to be re-examined as far as their education. That was extremely rich Pro-D, and I feel that those kinds of conversations are being re-ignited for me through my involvement with Twitter. I have never been as excited about the potential for sustained professional development and sharing ideas and thoughts with colleagues within a school, as well as staying abreast of new ideas around the world, as I am now that I have begun my journey using this tool. The lack of sustained Pro-D in schools, in my opinion, is because we quite simply don't have enough time to connect with one another and share these thoughts and ideas during the work day, and the busyness of our personal lives gets in the way. What is most exciting about Twitter and Blogging is that they are available to us whenever we can find the time (open 24 hours a day), and can help broaden our perspectives due to the number of different views/experiences one can encounter.
In the short time I have been engaged in the process, I have connected with some other Richmond educators who blog and use social media (blog-Bernie Soong, twitter-@bsoong, Ingrid Veilleux, @MmeVeilleux, Neil Kamide, @nskamide and others). I have also reconnected with former Richmondites now working in other districts (Terry Ainge, @terryainge, Chris Kennedy, @chrkennedy, Aaron Akune, @aakune and one-time Breaker, Gino Bondi, @gmbondi to name just a few). And through my connection to them I have been introduced to some of the brightest and most creative, inspiring minds in education across the rest of Canada (George Couros, @gcouros, Dean Shareski, @shareski, Cale Birk, @birklearns and several others) in the United States (Patrick Larkin, @bhsprincipal, John Spencer, @johntspencer and more) and around the world (David Truss, @datruss and others I have not yet connected with). Of course, many of the most well-respected authors and thinkers in the business now are also easily located through their blogs and on Twitter (Ken Robinson, @SirKenRobinson, Alfie Kohn, @alfiekohn, Daniel Pink, @danielpink, the TED Talks, @TED_TALKS and RSA Animate, @theRSAorg organizations plus so many more). I am so energized by the possibilities that both Twitter and Blogging possess, that I have decided to celebrate its functionality at Burnett, and am hoping to see many of the staff here join in. While I recognize that many of the people I am following are administrators, I encourage people to set up their own accounts, and follow whomever they are interested in, since it is very easy to locate other professionals who share curricular areas, ideas and practices with you.
Below is a video from YouTube explaining quite well how it is best used by professionals in education.