I'm typically private and reserved when interacting with others. That's who I am. I'm always listening keenly and I quietly admire those that stand up speak what's on their mind - no matter the audience. But that's not me and I'm comfortable with that, comfortable with being in my shoes. This article floated through Twitter earlier in the week and caught my attention. I connected with it immediately. The 21st Century Learning landscape requires collaboration, sharing and discussion. How can these introverts fit into this?
Recently attending the 21st Century Learning Conference at HKIS, I saw many people I follow on Twitter in person for the first time. Some of these Tweeps have known each other through Twitter for quite a while and many consider themselves personal friends. It was quite impressive to see people who really only know each other virtually interact so effortlessly face to face. For me, being more the introvert that I am, the face-to-face part doesn't come so easily. However, reading the Twitter chat at the conference, tweeting my own thoughts and sharing resources that others so graciously shared with me throughout the conference sustained my involvement, challenged my current understandings and allowed me to question my current practice. In short, Twitter kept me in the conversation and engaged me ... and I engaged it.
When asked by some of my colleagues why I bother with Twitter, my response is that it can become what you want it to become. For some, it becomes a personal connection. For me, it has become one of the most valuable resources informing my practice.
Jabiz Raisdana mentioned in a panel discussion about social networking and its impact on learning that he's learned more through Twitter these past few years than he did in Teacher's College. When I think of the cutting and pasting activities I did in Teacher's College that really seemed irrelevant to what I needed to know as a teacher, Jabiz's statement should be considered valid.
Like all best practices in our 21st Century approach to learning and teaching, all students learn differently and the approach we as educators take to engage our students need to reflect this. Twitter is the ultimate tool in differentiating our own professional learning.