I’ll be completely honest. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are several things I said I’d never do because I just thought either:
1) I don’t have the time for this when there are so many other things I should be doing
2) This is just social media stuff that I have no desire to be part of.
I stuck to my guns for a long time because I couldn’t be convinced of a good reason why I’d want to use these outside of personal use. I’m not one of those people who feels the need to jump on the social bandwagon. I’ve noticed the older I get the less I care about what others think. I need to be convinced of a really good reason besides that “everyone else is doing it” before I invest my time, effort, and/or money into anything. Sort of like why it took me forever to text or own a Smart phone and why I’ll never own an i-Phone 🙂 But when it comes to my own professional development, I’m willing to try lots of new stuff. So when I HAD to create a Pinterest account to complete an assignment for a class I was taking, at first I was annoyed, but then I saw how other teachers were using this media to “pin” things for topics they were teaching. Genius! I hate paper copies so I was sold and I immediately started learning how pin things to remember for later. While I still refuse to put this app on my phone (sort of like having games on my laptop) I have found this very useful over my antiquated Excel spreadsheets of resources.
Facebook I turned to a little earlier on a whim one winter break to do research of what it was just because I am a high school teacher and my students were using it. Again I was surprised how many of my friends were already on this and I now use it regularly to communicate and share with other AP Stats Readers and more. By then my eyes were opened to the use of social media to increase the professional development I could do on my own. In a school which does do professional development, I was still feeling empty when it came to things that applied to me and my classroom. Things I could use NOW, that were interesting and effective, and fit my teaching style which was not cookie cutter and unlike the rest of my colleagues. I try to stay on top of what’s out there when I can but let’s be honest – I was doing all the research myself and I figured there had to be a huge pool of other math educators out there that felt like me.
Then I attended my first EdCamp and I met some of those other teachers! If you’ve never been to an EdCamp before then stop right now and look up when the next one that is closest to you is going to be and register! Seriously right now!!! (March 27th is EdCamp Maryland) While I was looking into the whole Twitter thing by then and had started by creating an account, I had not realized the potential that was there to tap into. I went to the Twitter 101 session and left with people to follow and followers and the start of new form of professional development which eventually led me to here: The Math Blogosphere and the wonderful people who were on it. Finally fellow educators that spoke my language and understood my plight because there were right there with me.
I’ve been telling people in my building who will listen about this new found form of PD for a while now and finally, years later, some are starting to listen and ask questions. This encourages me to blog and share more to pass along what has been shared to me.
So I do have the Twitter app on my phone, and while I may not check it regularly, when I do check it I’m guaranteed to find some awesome resource that applies to me right now!! For example here are 2 things that I read about this weekend that led me to the awesome blogs of Mark Chubb and Jo Morgan who I hadn’t known about before.
Mark Chubb’s The smallest decisions have the biggest impact This really made me stop and think and question what I’ve been doing. I love things that make me do that. It’s an awesome read so check it out.
Jo Morgan’s Algebraic Division This was perfect timing because I had literally just taught long division in my Algebra 2 class. I admit I was a bit skeptical about this method and how it wouldn’t be confusing to my students. But thanks to Jo and David Griswold who followed up on my tweets, I’ve got a new perspective. All of this in a time span of probably 20 minutes on a Sunday afternoon!! Surely you can see why I’m smiling now 🙂