NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ1035993
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0031-7217
Today's Lesson: Self-Directed Learning . . . for Teachers
Ferriter, William M.; Provenzano, Nicholas
Phi Delta Kappan, v95 n3 p16-21 Nov 2013
Thousands of teachers are exploring the boundaries of their practice together on Twitter, in blogs, and at seminars, and they represent a new generation of educators who are actively redefining how innovation occurs in the schoolhouse. For many of these educators, exposure to adjacent possibilities--the first step toward innovation--starts in the strangest of places: Twitter. At the most basic level, Twitter allows users to curate content for one another. Drawing from a collection of over 500 education specific hashtags, thousands of practitioners are posting links, blog entries, and lesson plans at any given time. Want to learn more about project-based learning? Visit Twitter and search for #pblchat. Care about school leadership? Try #cpchat or #edleaders. Twitter can become much more than a tool for simple sharing, though. Connected educators recognize that behind every profile picture is a person walking through similar professional doors. Teachers who use Twitter to build professional networks often want to learn more about and from the people they interact with online. Doing so means embracing RSS feed readers. RSS feed readers are free web-based tools that automatically retrieve new posts from frequently updated blogs for users, making it possible to explore the thinking of other practitioners from one online home. Filling feed readers with the blogs of peers that they follow in other social spaces allows connected educators to think deeply with one another--something that isn't always possible in an ever-changing Twitter stream. Once practitioners discover that social spaces can make customized learning possible and that informal relationships developed online can be powerful, their view of what education conferences should look like changes. Instead of accepting that conferences have to be expensive corporate-sponsored events, connected educators have started holding their own reimagined teaching conferences called Edcamps. Proudly touted as "unconferences," Edcamps are almost always hosted on school campuses, planned by teams of teachers who have grown to know one another online, and free to attend. Educators who have embraced new learning spaces often display a passionate commitment to the tools, the process, and their peers. Some have said they learn more in shorter time periods in their Twitter stream or at Edcamps than hours in professional development sessions. So what is it that makes social spaces and unconferences powerful forums for spreading innovation? This article seeks out the answer to that question and concludes with a discussion of the potential pitfalls of being connected.
Phi Delta Kappa International. 408 North Union Street, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402. Tel: 800-766-1156; Fax: 812-339-0018; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A