Thursday, September 20, 2012

School Improvement Plan 2012-13

“Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other's fund of collective intelligence.” 

This school year our principal boldly stepped out on an "educational limb" and made the decision to include Building Your PLN with Twitter one of our three School Improvement Goals (SIP) for the school year.

As a self confessed Twitterholic or Twitvangelist I was thrilled to see this bold move.  I know first hand how connecting, collaborating, sharing and learning on Twitter can transform your professional life.  As the librarian and technology coordinator the task of teaching Twitter to our staff fell on my shoulders.

My principal called a mandatory professional development session (something he rarely does) for the purpose of learning Twitter to build your PLN.  Knowing that a "forced" professional development doesn't always create the best environment for learning but is sometimes a necessary evil, I tried to sweeten the deal by providing hot donuts and freshly brewed coffee for our staff to enjoy while learning how to use Twitter to build their PLN.

I started the PD session with a short 15-20 recap of my personal journey on Twitter and then we proceeded through the steps of creating an account, how to tweet, how to find and connect with other educators, how to use and connect using hashtags (#), and a review of best practices.  

Click image above to view PPT

Most of the teachers were polite, but wary.  Apparently, bad news headlines across the country and warnings from our district concerning the dangers of social media have our teachers a bit skittish.  Despite obvious set backs I considered it a good day of professional learning.  

The shocking aftermath has been learning of an underlying resistance to using Twitter that has nothing to do with being: 
  1.  "forced" to attend a PD session the day after staying at school late for Parent Night and during the crazy flurry of Club Day activities
  2. skittish about using social media
This sinister underlying resistance was verbalized by one of our teachers at lunch the other day and has been echoed in one way or another by several other teachers.  So what is this resistance?  Well, here is a paraphrased quote:
"I'm not sharing my lesson plans or activities with anyone.  

I worked to hard to make them to just give them away."

I was shocked and saddened when I heard this sentiment expressed, and continue to be dazed each time I hear it. 

You have to understand something about our school.  We have the "best of the best" teachers working at our school.  Getting a job in our school district a monumental professional accomplishment.  Although we are a public school we have managed to be listed among the top 100 schools in the nation despite competing against private schools who can pick and choose what students they serve.  Our teachers have a wealth of experience and knowledge that would be a well spring to other teachers around the state, country and world.    

I'm at a loss as to how to deal with this sentiment.  

But, alas, we continue to move forward with our School Improvement Plan.  Next week I am offering a voluntary professional development session for our teachers to follow up on their progress with using Twitter to build their PLN.

Stay tuned.....


  1. Hi Nikki. What a shame! I've been sharing the power of Twitter with students in lib orientations this week. I shared crowd sourced information using Twitter and explained the concept, I shared Jennifer's post on being a Learning Addict to exemplify my mission for students learning to learn and loving it, and I also shared the concept that the room is smarter than any one person in the room. All this with their teachers in the room; wasn't the plan but may be a backhanded way of getting teachers on board!
    Good luck!

    1. Thank you for sharing how you have been able to use Twitter. I know that I will need to find a different approach. : )

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