The tail end (sorry!) of my COETAIL journey has been focused on growing my Professional Learning Network, especially on Twitter. It’s also been about making better use of that PLN, particularly in the way I contribute to it. One of the most transformational elements of my COETAIL journey experience has been linked to one of the ISTE Standards for Educators.
Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks”. – ISTE Standards for Educators
Hosting a Twitter chat
Once I discovered the value of Twitter chats, I became interested in giving back and hosting a chat myself. As part of my journey into online learning last year, I became interested in the IB’s Approaches to Teaching and thought the topic deserved a week of reflection amongst IB educators. I reached out to the people hosting individual chats on 3 of the 4 IB programmes and pitched the idea of the first cross-programme chat on Twitter.
Hey #PYPchat friends, don't miss an extra dose of #PYPchat next week when we combine with #MYPchat and #DPchat to discuss "Approaches to Teaching" Mar 15-21st with @imluizmello and me! We will be Zooming Thursday, March 17th to discuss ATT's if anyone wants to join. Link below! pic.twitter.com/smYjSGkXru
— 𝕃𝕖𝕧𝕚 𝔸𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕤𝕠𝕟 (@levi_allison42) March 11, 2021
We also had a successful live chat via Zoom, with 20+ educators joining from a variety of timezones. My co-host Levi led 30 minutes of Zoom breakout rooms using a 3-2-1 protocol so that participants could gain clarity on some of the Approaches to Teaching. I led a 30-minute session on exposing assumptions around Approaches to Teaching based on Tom Wujec’s DrawToast exercise.
Levi and I met over Zoom a couple of weeks before the chat to iron out what we wanted to accomplish. We then collaborated over a shared document over the questions we wanted to ask and some of the logistics of running the chat.
As a result of the chat, I was able to catch a glimpse of how IB educators around the world understand and apply the pedagogical underpinnings of the IB in their contexts. Invaluable insight for me as an aspiring leader.
Webinars: opportunities to contribute
Besides the chat, I was also able to connect with educators via webinars. In March, I was invited by Toddle to lead one, and back in September, I invited a fellow IB Biology teacher to lead an independent webinar on the Internal Assessment during online learning — a need we both had identified from our participation in a Facebook group.
Saved your spot as there's just one day ⏳to go for our Toddle talk with Experienced MYP educator @imluizmello.
— Toddle App (@toddle_edu) March 12, 2021
@melloluiz2 and @mrcovi’s great webinar on tips and ideas for #ibbiology IAs during lockdown: many suggested database and possible experiments that can be done at home @Hhhsinfo pic.twitter.com/duGJZjk3Sz
— ℝ𝕠𝕨𝕖𝕚𝕕𝕒 𝔹𝕒𝕨𝕒𝕓 🇱🇧 (@RoweidaB) September 27, 2020
Twitter-inspired reading list
One of the habits I wanted to pick up while on sabbatical was to become a more prolific reader. Twitter is a great place to find book recommendations, connect with authors (like with #LeadLaP), and essentially have a never-ending supply of book clubs.
You only get what you give
My perception of the usefulness of Twitter changed the more I put into it. And by ‘putting into it’, I don’t mean posting the cool stuff that happens in my classroom. It was more about connecting with others, participating in conversations (synchronous or not), and realizing that behind each handle is an actual person. The same way face-to-face collaboration shouldn’t be a series of ‘one up of what you’re saying’, I posit that Twitter is best utilized as a massive arena-style platform for humble inquiry.