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The Power of a Professional Learning Network

What a difference a year makes when you develop a professional learning network via social media. Matt and I discovered twitter in September 2014 and I guess that means we just celebrated our one year twitterversary. What’s our obsession with Twitter? We’ve gone from not knowing what a hashtag was to moderating our own chat and why? Because of the professional learning network we’ve developed, it’s all about relationships that grow us professionally and connections that trigger light bulb moments.

To give you a little background about how we got started, a friend of ours and elementary art educator Rebecca Bailey, @ArtwtihBailey attended a summer tech institute offered in our school district and then spearheaded a district EdChat. We began participating in it and after a few chats we pirated the idea for the visual art department. An EdChat was the perfect format for building our district art community.

Until EdChats, we thought twitter was strictly a social thing but it’s so much more. It is a GLOBAL connection to fellow educators. Our chat (#K12ArtChat) started as a way to connect our district art teachers and in matter of months, it started to bloom. We had a core of district art teachers who supported and built the chat up, @EvansArtHouse, @ArtwithBailey, @Bcater77 @slaterscreators; our in house professional learning network grew to include art educators from across the United States, Canada, Australia and England. The conversations are consistently rich, meaningful and give tremendous perspective.

We’ve also seen a following and participation from non-art teachers, teachers looking to grow their understanding of the arts to enhance arts integration in core subject areas and problem based learning environments. Along these lines we started researching educators who support or integrate the arts and have connected with a wide variety hosts that meet the needs of both audiences; those that teach the visual arts and those that are looking for support integrating the arts. We continue to meet great people who create critical thinking and in turn help make us better educators.

We’ve been able to interact and meet many of our social media PLN in real life and everyone one them is genuine with the ultimate belief that students are at the heart of what we do. Matt and I have made more friendships and connections in this one year of twitter than we could have ever imagined and our lives have been forever impacted in the most positive ways possible. There are so many people we could spotlight to help you grow your professional learning network but we’ll just start with six (more to come in future articles.)

Adam Bellow – Former English Teacher current Ed Tech expert, author and speaker

LaVonna Roth – Former Elementary teacher current instructional expert, researcher, author, facitilator, & speaker @LaVonnaRoth

Tim Needles– High School Art & Design Teacher – @timneedles Tim Needles Vine

Sean Gaillard– High School Principal and #EdBeat Founder/Moderator @smgaillard

Amy Traggianese Elementary Art Essentialist @ATragg

George Couros– Area Principal, Blogger, Speaker and Education Social Media Advocate @gcouros

We’ve included a few of our archived chat links to help you explore and see the variety of educators that participated.

2/19/15 Topic: Artful Thinking:

5/28/15 Topic: Fostering Community Connections

9/10/15 Topic: Creativity with Pirates:

October Dates and Topics for #k12ArtChat

10/8/15- Let’s Engage with Arts Integration hosted by @atragg

10/15/15- The importance of Fun in the Classroom hosted by @gnomegnorbert

10/22/15- Art of Design hosted by @adambellow

10/29/15- Voice & Choice in the Art Room hosted by @campbellartsoup


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