90 minutes before we met, I tweeted a request to my PLN to say hello to my DSS colleagues who would be gathering. Within minutes, I had at least 20 responses and by the time we came together I must have received 40 or more. The responses I received came from all over North America. Chicago, Buffalo, New York, Ontario, New Brunswick to name just a few. Of course, I also received a considerable number of responses from Twitter users in neighboring Lower Mainland school districts. The locations of the respondents proves the ease with which one can connect globally with other people.
Since each person was at a different stage in their use and comfort with twitter, people naturally started working and learning together. Some people were figuring out the basics...following, followers, timeline, mentions, what's happening. Others were searching for educators beyond our school and a few people were sharing links to video clips, websites and blogs that they had found.
We briefly discussed the importance of searching common hashtags (#BCed, #edchat) and using hashtags to tag tweets for people to find. We decided we will use #delearn as the hashtag for Delta Secondary School.
By the end of our 60 minute session, each person was following each other and each person had begun to create his/her own PLN. What we found is that sitting down face-to-face increases the comfort each person has interacting with colleagues in his/her PLN.
Of a staff that includes approximately 85 teachers, our PACER PLN has grown to include 17 teachers. As you can see, we comprise a wide variety of roles and subject areas within the school.
A number of us are using Twitter on a daily basis, accessing a variety of blogs, videos and websites, tweeting links to interesting resources, asking questions and commenting to each other.
As I reflect on the collaborative work session we had last Wednesday, I am encouraged and excited at the possibilities that exist for the growing PACER PLN. At that same time, I am reminding myself that the technology (Twitter) is not the learning. Twitter is simply a TOOL that allows for LEARNING!
So, where do we go from here?
Some possibilities include:
- using twitter to continue collaborative projects started face-to-face in work-alike groups
- sharing engaging lesson ideas with each other
- connecting the PACER PLN with other PLN's