Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going Out of Comfort Zone to Extend Learning - Twitter

I am a firm believer that we need to take risks and go out of our comfort zone to extend learning and be a lifelong learner.  Yes, sometimes we experience failure when we do this, but that is again part of the learning process and being a reflective learner. 

Last year, I went out of my comfort zone when I bought my iPad and iPhone at the same time and began to explore the Mac world through the thousands of apps and resources available.  I began to find my now favorite apps such as Flipboard, Dropbox, Confer, UPAD, Book Crawler, Quickoffice, online PlanBook and many more!  I explored these apps and use them on a daily basis – I can’t remember how I functioned so efficiently in my life before the iPad/iPhone.  It opened me up to a new world of technology that I was honestly “afraid” of before because it was the unknown for me.  This year, I felt confident about incorporating more technology in my classroom and using my iPad/iPhone to extend my professional learning so I was unsure about trying Twitter when my colleague, Melanie Meehan, told me about it.  She did not give up though and kept telling me that I needed to join Twitter and repeatedly emailed me multiple blog posts about the benefits of Twitter for educators.  I repeatedly told her “no” because I was learning a lot from the many blogs and online articles I read daily on my Flipboard. 
The turning point was when we started this blog in March and Franki Sibberson asked if we were on Twitter and wanted our Twitter handle. I started a Twitter account that day and it has lifted the level of my professional learning to a new level.  My professional learning network is extensive with Twitter and my thinking is pushed in new directions and to higher levels daily through the power of 140 characters or less. 

With Twitter, I have discovered:
·        weekly chats that I participate in
·        the use of hashtags
·        new blogs to read
·        new book titles to read and buy for my classroom
·        “old friends” that I haven’t talked to in years
·        powerful articles to read and share
·        free webinars
·        new professional books
·        EdCamp
·        and the power of 140 characters or less!

So my advice is next time you feel a little squeamish and unsure about trying something new, try it! If you are not on Twitter yet, I highly recommend that you start.  You will have an infinite amount of new learning right at your fingertips anywhere, on any device, and at any hour of the day.  Thank you Franki Sibberson and Melanie Meehan for giving me the little push I needed to enter the world of Twitter. 

Happy Learning! :)

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