My personal mantra comes from Miguel De Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote of La Mancha, when the protagonist reflects, “maddest of all- to see life as it is and not as it should be.” Like the quirky protagonist, Twitterers are often misunderstood, because of their passion for this social medium. This past week, I participated in the 140 Character Conference with several passionate Twitterers who were also passionate about their fields. Jeff Pulver did an incredible job of choosing people not necessarily based on their follower count, but who were passionate! Aparna Vishnet, Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson, Eric Sheninger, and I represented education. My fellow panelists and I are passionate about Twitter and you’ll see us tweet daily, however, we are more passionate about education. Like Don Quixote, we see education as it should be and work towards this goal.
What Should Education Be?
A quality education should be available to all.
I have worked with homeless children, at risk students, immigrants, alternative students, and those with learning disabilities to find schools that lack paint on the wall, air condition, basic supplies, training for teachers, new textbooks, and technology. While doing research for my Masters, I became depressed at the statistics of how many of these students have slipped through the system. For decades, education policy has failed to have any significant impact on decreasing the wide achievement gap that exists. The cycle of poverty prevails, because students are not provided an equal education.
How Do We Revolutionize the System?
Don Quixote had two characteristics every stakeholder in education should have, vision and passion. The speakers at the conference who made the most impact were passionate about Twitter and had a vision of what Twitter does to enhance their fields. The beauty of Twitter is that this is a medium in which passionate people in an area, such as education, are able to collaborate together. Passionate people are contagious. They spread their vision and energy to others who become inflamed as well!
Vision for Education
Through my years working in various low-income school districts the prevalent problem was the lack of passion. Educators are growing weary, because educational policy tries to punish them. This is where Twitter comes into play. The theme for the conference was the State of Now.
My vision for education is to see educators collaborate with each other over dire problems, mentor each other, provide professional development for each other, and to spread the passion so the weary become strong. On Twitter and other social media I have realized this is not visionary, but actually the state of now. Daily, I see educators:
- sharing resources on Twitter and other forums
- deliberating solutions to problems in their schools through Nings, LinkedIn, and Twitter
- collaborating on global projects through Nings, wikis, Voicethread, and blogs
- providing professional development to each other either through Skyping, Second Life, blogs, and video tutorials
I felt fortunate to have spoken alongside, such passionate and visionary people and will be highlighting the differences they have made in their communities in future posts. At the conference.
A special thanks goes to Aparna of Parentella who had the vision and passion to propose and organize the educational panel.
A special thanks goes to Jeff Pulver who is the organizer of the 140 Conference and a passionate individual of how social media transforms the world. Thank you, Jeff Pulver, for allowing us to share how Twitter continues to transform education!
Thank you for voting for Steven Anderson to receive a NOW award. Your vote made the difference. This was an incredible achievement to have an educator win one of these prestigious awards! Thank you for your supportive tweets, participating in Edchat discussions, interacting with us on Twitter, being part of the EduPLN ning, and for spreading your passion to your schools.
Please enjoy this video of some of my favorite 140 Conference moments!
Enjoy this video of our panel discussion by Beth Still: