You can't be a connected educator without a social media presence. Twitter has become an inspiring and dynamic place for educators to connect. That presence serves to model digital citizenship to our students, gain professional inspiration, and provide professional development to our colleagues in our buildings, districts, and network. Combining Twitter and EdCamp only makes that connection to inspiration greater and more powerful. Some of my closest colleagues were people I met initially on Twitter and solidified connections through the EdCamp experience creating learning opportunities for me and my students. Edcampers are the people who empower everyone around them but also know they need to refuel occasionally themselves and they know that won't happen between 8 am and 4 pm.
I realized this afternoon how powerful these connections have been in my life lately. I've spent time collaborating via Google Docs on #nebedchat questions with a nationally recognized educator and absolute rockstar. My girl, Jodie Morgenson invited me to help out with #NETA15InstaWalk this year and we have been chatting, tweeting, DMing, and Google Docing for several days. In the midst of this I am preparing my NETA15 presentation on leading professional development from the ranks. And I have been thinking ALOT about leadership, what it means, and how you get there. And what I know right now, is that I never started out to be a leader.....in anything. But somehow, by wanting more for students and wanting more for teachers, I found a place where I could support learning by integrating technology in a meaningful way which led to a leadership role. And I found myself surrounded with like-minded crazies who don't know when to quit.
The people in my PLN don't coast and don't quit at 4 o'clock. They are planning on Tuesday night, chatting on Sunday afternoon, Edcamping on a gorgeous Saturday. No one was looking for a thank you or a stipend, and we got stuff done, ideas launched, and tasks checked off. All will benefit and empower teachers and students in our own districts. These connected educators don't talk about what a great idea this all is, they are out there making things happen, putting in the time, and digging for answers. These are the leaders in education and I am humbled by the mindbuzz going on around me and grateful to be a part of something visionary.
I wasn't able to attend all of EdCamp Omaha, however, I did have the opportunity to stop in later in the afternoon to see some of my rockstar PLN. Can I just say, that in the short time I was there, I felt the power of a group of people passionate about education, technology, and students. I got hugs from organizers Kristina Peters and Josh Allen and picked up my super awesome t-shirt. The UNO Community Engagement Center was buzzing with energy, conversation and laughter, and just a pretty cool place to hang out for any reason. I could feel a blog post coming and was all in for the challenge put forth by my friend, Brent Catlett, along with Ann Feldmann, Otis Pierce, & Mickie Mueller.
Edcampers definitely do not coast. They are constantly looking for more, better, and cooler. Find an Edcamp, Go and Lead.