This is another “homework assignment” post, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of consideration. I have been drafting posts (in my head and on WordPress), but I don’t seem to have had time to actually post anything outside of homework. Impending reports, an ongoing online course and a daughter in the first year of daycare, merrily hoovering up every virus going will do that to a man. Anyway…
I think that the value of being an connected educator is just the sheer number of minds I can reach. Teaching can be a lonely profession, and being able to connect almost instantly into the countless years of experience, academic research and ideas that are out there in the world is invaluable. The articles and blog posts I come across on teaching (in and outside of the PYP) are a lifeline, and have taken my practice and thinking in new directions. While it would be an exaggeration to say Twitter has replaced CPD and training, it’s opened up many new avenues for me to pursue my own interests. This is particularly true in my role as a PYP Coordinator.
Having said that, the Twittersphere also has its downsides. The sheer amount of posts means that there is an element of luck in finding useful resources. Things posted at the wrong time will quickly get lost, and with people on different timezones, it’s always the wrong time for someone, somewhere.
As well as this, the speed with which Twitter operates makes it difficult to form relationships or have discussions that go beyond the glib and superficial. Factor in the 140-character limit, and makes nuanced discussion a real challenge. Scheduled Twitter chats are one way around this, but it pins you down in terms of time. While #pypchat is useful, for example, it falls in the middle of my busiest day of the week, for example.
I’d never go back to being an unconnected educator, particularly since I began teaching in an IB school. I feel like I’m in a place now where I have the value I want from it. However, I do wonder whether the benefits of being more connected will outweigh the costs in terms of time and energy use. I’ll stick at it for a while and see.