Profile of an edu-tweeter…

Sitting on planes for 24 hours, gives you plenty of time to think. I’m tired of movies and reading, everyone around me is sleeping, and I’m thinking how good it would be to have internet access and be able to interact with my Twitter PLN.

Since that’s not possible, I find myself thinking about the sorts of people who are part of my online PLN (personal learning network). There is a huge variety of educators participating in #edchat and the Twitter conversation.

On the surface it seems we’re very different in many respects…

There are kindergarten and primary school teachers, high school teachers and university professors. There are new teachers, experienced and retired teachers. There are presenters, consultants, developers and students.  There are people who’re involved in education in all sorts of other ways. There are males and females, of all ages, from all over the world with all sorts of interests and life experiences. This is the beauty of the online PLN. It provides the opportunity to interact with a broad range of educators, world-wide,  from diverse backgrounds and experiences, that could never have been possible or even imaginable, not that many years ago.

So what do all these educators have in common?

We share a passion for teaching and learning, an interest in technology, a willingness to share, a desire to implement change, delight in a challenge, intellectual curiosity…

As I begin to list the commonalities, I see a pattern emerging. I know I’m generalizing, but on the whole, the education community on Twitter appears to display the attributes of what we call in IB schools, the Learner Profile.

  • Edu-tweeters tend to be thinkers and inquirers, interested in developing their thinking and practice, learning new things, exploring new ideas and broadening their understanding.
  • They tend to be knowledgeable across diverse areas and generously share their knowledge with others.
  • They are caring, expressing concern and wishing each other well, offering advice and assistance, reacting and interacting politely and respectfully.
  • They are, without exception, communicators. You have to be in order  to engage in meaningful dialogue in 140 characters at a time!
  • Most seem to be open-minded, interested in different perspectives, open to new ideas and willing to debate.
  • They are risk-takers, who experiment with technology, investigate ideas and try out new things.
  • They are principled, defending their beliefs, acknowledging their sources and giving credit as due.
  • They are reflective. It’s reflection on teaching and learning, the impact of tech and the education process in general that the whole conversation is about.
  • I’m not so sure about balanced… While people do tweet about reading, running, cooking, travelling and a host of other interests, I fear some of us spend too much time online!

Do you agree?


10 thoughts on “Profile of an edu-tweeter…

  1. Hi Edna. You can only do so much reading and movie watching on these long plane trips, can’t you? I’d never really thought about my PLN in terms of the Learner Profiles before, despite working in an IB MYP school, but I think you’re absolutely right. I must admit that I need to work on the balance – I spend too much time on the computer and lately even my reading has been technology or education based. That’s what happens I think when your work and your interests collide!🙂

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  2. Hi,

    I absolutely agree with you. That is what I love about having a PLN, everyone is willing to share and show genuine concern even when you haven’t met. I think you have done well to identify similar characteristics. If only all educators were as willing to share, our job could be a little easier!

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  3. This is an excellent movie from the IB – I have used it a lot myself. I never actually applied these attributes to my PLN before – but you are absolutely right – they fit perfectly!

    Like you and Pam I would say I’m weakest on the balanced aspect. I am a wife and a mother of teenagers and have a good circle of friends, but right now I seem to spend most of my day caught up in things to do with technology and my work as an IT teacher. Perhaps this is because I’m new to my school and during the first year here I had to invest such a lot of time in my work in order to move the school forward. In previous schools I have definitely found more time to be balanced: to do more sport, to do yoga, to take courses (for example learning Thai massage) and to play the piano.

    This post has made me think a lot about the balance in my life. Now that I’m at the end of my first year here I know I need to become more balanced in the future. My goal for next year therefore will be to develop this part of the learner profile. I wonder how my school will react to this!

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  4. I think you are so right with all your listed attributes but the ‘balance’ aspect is probably the truest of all. I suspect it is because we become so committed, enthused and ‘passionate’ about what we do that we do tend to get a tad obsessive about it as well!

    I always thought I was as enthusiastic about my work as the next person, but so many people that I meet in the course of my work refer to my ‘lovely enthusiasm’ as if it is something special and unusual, that I realise I am an obsessive really – and being a bit of a geek does help🙂

    It has been something of a relief to find a Twitter PLN (@juliadesigns if you dont yet know me) which contains other enthusiasts/obsessives and discover that it is not just me – I think the partnership of technology and education/learning is so powerful that it just sucks you in, as you know that technology applied well can improve the learning experience for so many people at all levels.

    It is good to get away from work occasionally though – I am currently enjoying the World Cup on the TV whist typing this comment on my computer – does that count, do you think?? 🙂

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  5. Very cool thoughts. I have very much enjoyed being a part of this online educational community. I see many of those traits in myself and the online teachers I talk with. . Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Hi Edna,
    Yes, once again you have hit the nail on the head! As with everyone else, I think being balanced is an issue. Case in point, I walked into the kitchen this morning after three days away from my children, ready to do battle with the mess that the kitchen had been left in! As the sink was filling up with water I thought I’d check Twitter. I saw your mention of this latest blog post and proceded to follow up and read it. Then the field of battle shifted, to clean the kitchen or repond to your post, to put the washing on or open my own blog and write a reflection, to vaccum or to pull together my notes on the conference I’ve just been to…! I find myself endlessly in a tug of war. I love the thinking and collaboration of my profession and I love my children and a clean house! Each one of my loves seems to call for my attention everyday.

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  7. WOW, I am not the only unbalanced teacher out there! I will show my family so they know it’s not just me🙂 Seriously, good wake up call for all of us…..but as many of you have commented, being online and researching etc is what we LOVE to do so it’s relaxing and exciting and challenging for us and recharges us – isn’t that what having a balance is all about? Keep tweeting! @louisaguest

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  8. You summed it up perfectly, even the bit about being balance-challenged!

    I find Twitter such a positive place, with great ideas that nourish and sustain me (both as a teacher & as a writer). It gives me a broader perspective, so I don’t get tunnel vision or mired in the frustrations. It really is quite inspiring.

    I keep adding discussion to our teaching PLN which seem to start with the lines “I was on Twitter the other day and found this…”

    I don’t mind the time investment that Twitter seems to take because of the positivity it brings me.

    Great blog!

    Regards,
    Julie Johnson
    http://www.betterthanworksheets.com (teaching & tech blog)
    http://www.busywriting.net (writing blog)

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  9. Hi Edna,

    The approach is great and it reflects the PYP “DNA” embedded in you :)!

    I am not however that excited about Twitter as I posted two questions in what, about 9 months, and none has replied. It is not as efficient nor as “real-time” savior as it is thought to be.

    Cheers!
    Cristina

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