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When Tweeple Become People

As most of you know, I am slowly integrating back into the real world after 6 days in Washington DC for NECC 2009. This was my first National Educational Computing Conference, and I have to admit that I didn’t quit know what to expect.

Leaving for Washington DC, I had a few personal and professional goals. I knew I wanted to learn more about educational uses for the iPod Touch in my classroom. I wanted to venture into the world of Second Life a bit so I could be taking advantage of more learning opportunities for me and my students. I also wanted to meet the people that I interact with daily online through my PLN (personal learning network) on various nings and Twitter. The experience itself turned into so much more. I will be processing and digesting this experience through a series of posts that I am working on, but I wanted to start with the idea of sharing about meeting my Tweeps, or the people in my Twitter learning network.


People throughout the week asked me about my favorite part of the conference, and I had to say that it was meeting the people in my Twitter learning network. I just got started on Twitter in October 2008, but it has quickly become an integral part of my personal learning and professional growth. I can numerate countless ways that these people have influenced me and my students both directly and indirectly. It was amazing to see the seamless transition between virtual interactions through Twitter and blogs into real life. The beauty of using Twitter as a PLN means that most people involved are there with a common goal – learning, growing and sharing for the benefit of students and education in general. The passion and enthusiasm that is so evident through our 140 character interactions became magnified in long conversations in the Bloggers’ Cafe (which ironically didn’t have food), impromptu meals (like the one I shared at La Tasca with a truly awe inspiring group of special ed teachers), and in hallways, sessions and panel discussions. We all have visions of Ed Tech celebrities, those people who we see as being just on a different level in the ed tech spectrum. Well, guess what folks? They are people, not just tweeple. The enthusiam for being change agents in the world of education were contagious. The fact that some members of my PLN even sought me out, saying that they wanted to make sure that they met me, was flattering and humbling. I always think of my time of Twitter very selfishly – I feel as if I certainly take much more than I give.

So what does this mean for us all? Build a PLN. It could be Twitter, Plurk, Classroom 2.0 or any other form of virtual learning network. The responses coming across your screen are coming from people, not tweeple. They are people who are gleaning much from your thoughts, fears, ideas, resources and struggles. Our perceived Ed Tech celebrities are those who are speaking the loudest and the longest. They are the ones living the educational goals we are championing. Jump in. Hang on. Be you. Encourage others to join. A flattened world for our children’s interactions must begin with flattening the walls around our own personal and professional learning.

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10 Responses

  1. Well said and so glad to have met you.

  2. Boy did you hit the nail on the head. I second every single word of this post. I now need to get other teachers in my building to realize the power of our PLN. I am going to start with a Saturday morning meeting at one of our favorite coffee shops with a small group to watch a Classroom 2.0 live webinar on Elluminate. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    It was so great to meet you in person at NECC09 and a surprise to see you in the Charlotte airport. I look forward to our continued sharing.

  3. This is very well written and insightful. I like you an relatively new to Twitter but have found the enthusiasm and creativity of the people I follow contagious. It certainly does require you to flatten the walls of your own learning environment as you so eloquently point out. I look forward to hopefully meeting you and many of the other interesting and innovative “tweeple” with whom I interact in the near future.

  4. Well said, Kelly. But like I said in my tweet, you give A LOT to your PLN. I hope to meet you at next year’s gathering.

  5. What a great idea Paula! I love the idea of starting the PLN as f2f sharing. It will definitely make the online interactions less intimidating for those who aren’t quite so forward.

    KoolKat22 – I guess I’ve really been thinking lately of my time on Twitter as more selfish because I haven’t been using it to “evangelize” beyond the choir 🙂 Am planning ways to remedy that for the new school year!

    Dave – The Twitterverse is sometimes my preferred reality, but it gives me courage and strength to face the naysayers and doubters I encounter face to face. I certainly count you as one of those people!

    Paul – I count it a true blessing from NECC that we’ve met. You are a joy!

  6. Exactly right! It really was all about the conversations! I love the way you said the “seamless transition between virtual interactions through Twitter and blogs into real life”; I found that part of it so valuable. Also, I thought that being on Twitter would make the conference more meaningful, but I had no idea how much. We were living through an intense few days in which our background knowledge of the people and the ideas was incredibly enriching – we were able to hit the ground running, with efficiency and connections fed by the social learning. Thanks for a great blog post and for your important part in my PLN,

  7. Thanks! Since I was not at NECC, your insights and suggestions and “learnings” and meetings are especially valuable to me!

  8. I run a Web2.0 ish educational service and I’m wondering whether I should tweet or Facebook about it. So I read with interest that you are an actual educator who uses Twitter to meet people (tweeples is I guess the term) whom you then may, or may not, meet in person on the phone or by email.

    I think that’s incredible. I just got back from the AEP (an Ed Publishing) conference so couldn’t make a 2nd DC trip so soon.

    So, I’ll look with interest to your posts.

    Any views on whether SpellingCity.com has been too “old worldish” by doing a forum and newsletter as our social media? Should we be on FC & Twitter?

  9. Because of you and many of the other “tweeple” I follow, I feel like I ‘almost’ know what NECC is like. And to think a year ago I wasn’t on Twitter, didn’t read blogs, had no clue was a PLN was, and… the list could go on. I safely say Twitter has changed me as an educational professional – truly re-energized me and my work. Thanks for being one of the most positive people I follow in my PLN, and for your numerous contributions!

  10. […] This post was Twitted by ConnieKennedy […]

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