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?