Go to twitter and search #warrenbl. Go ahead, do it. What do you see? We see evidence of an amazing effort by school and district leaders to share learnings, ask questions, and build excitement about blended and personalized learning.
MSD Warren Township started designing and implementing blended learning models in the fall of 2015. During this time, teachers discovered more about blended learning through professional development, coaching sessions, and seeking new knowledge on their own. To celebrate and share these new ideas, ask questions within a safe place, and collaborate with colleagues across the district, we turned to Twitter.
Why turn to Twitter? Well, for a bit more on the story, we need to jump back a few years, back to a very snow-filled winter and lots of school snow days. Back to late night television and a little inspiration provided by Jimmy Fallon. Seriously. We give him all of the credit. Because of Mr. Fallon’s weekly “Hashtag” and the creativity generated by cabin fever, a new and exciting method of professional development was born.
Twitter chats began happening monthly in 2014. As the excitement grew over the year, we noticed a few key features. Tweet chats are:
Inspired by an entire twitter-savvy crew of teachers, administrators, and instructional specialists, we wanted to grow the positive effects of the Tweet chats. As our conversations and learning around blended learning became more intense, more focused, and more realistic, we realized blended learning chats would elevate the online discussions. We were on a path and the path led to personalization. As the first cohort of five schools began their PL design work they realized that they needed something more than a few workshops to connect and deepen their personalized learning practice. Twitter provided teachers with a space to continue learning and sharing. And that’s how #warrenbl was born.
So how are folks using #warrenbl?
Why is #warrenbl important for all of us, even those not in Warren?
Have a great #hashtag we all should follow? Post it in the comments below!
Kate Schwartz is a Professional Development Coordinator for MSD Warren Township and Co-Developer of the #warrenbl Tweet Chats. A former teacher and instructional specialist, Kate is a supporter of teachers, specialists, and principals. She is inspired by helping teachers find their passions and ignite new enthusiasm for teaching. She embraces personalized learning methods because they help all students.
Keara Duggan is a Senior Consultant on the Education Elements Design and Implementation Team, supporting schools to design and launch personalized learning. A former teacher and curriculum designer, Keara loves watching teachers and students have aha moments as they shift to a more effective, personalized model of teaching and learning.