Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Expanding #MiSci PLN in the 21st Century

This is a newsletter article that I published in the MSTA Newsletter in June 2015.

Does this statement confuse you?  Don't worry, I'll explain.  A year ago I had no idea what that meant, but that all changed last June. I was presenting and attending the Boyne Tech Conference, a great conference by the way, you should look into it.  There were all these educators there with t-shirts that said #michED.  I had seen these shirts before at the MACUL conference, that March.  So I asked Todd Bloch, he was wearing one of the shirts, "What is #michED?"  His answer was amazing, and changed the way I view professional development.  Todd said very matter of factly, "You're #michED". You see, #michED is not an organization, but it's a movement.  It's all educators in Michigan, and really beyond, that want to connect, collaborate, and share.  They do this by using a hashtag.  This is a hashtag - #, and it allows you to sort information.  I don't pretend to totally understand the intrawebs, but here is the gist of it.  When you post something on social media, whether it be Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or some other form that I'm too old to keep up with, and you use a hashtag #, this allows people to search the hashtag and find your post.  Connected educators are posting the amazing things they are doing on a daily basis and hashtagging so others can see it.  If you are a Twitter user, try it.  Search #michED, and you will see post after post from Michigan educators showcasing their successes.  

In an effort to differentiate, for those of you that are ready, let's talk #chat.  The next level of this connection is scheduled chats on Twitter.  You can search out educational chats and participate using a hashtag.  #michED chats are every Wednesday at 8:00.  Rachelle Wynkoop does a tremendous job preparing these chats.  To participate you just have to search #michED, and start following the tweets.  There is usually a moderator who posts the question, then everyone tweets their answer, and as long as you hashtag your answer, it shows up in the feed.  They even post the questions ahead of time so you "A Type" people can prepare. 

Why?  We all attend conferences, and come back invigorated and excited,  but as we deal with behaviors in our classrooms, curriculum and testing, life in general, that excitement can fade.  I have found that these #chats help me remain excited and motivated all year long.  They allow me to connect with educators whom I can learn from, and build a PLN (Professional Learning Network). 

So let's get back to the title of this article.  Expanding #MiSci PLN in the 21st Century. We now know what a # is, so #MiSci is twitter verse for "my science", and PLN is Professional Learning Network.  MSTA would like you to use #MiSciChat when tweeting about science education.  (#MSTA was already taken by Missouri Science Teachers Association, a motorcycle club, and various other organizations).  

MSTA would also like to begin a science chat. The chat will be held the second Monday of the month at 8:30pm, and we will use the #MiSciChat.  If you have any suggestions for topics please tweet Crystal Brown @MrsBrownC, or email her at  Don't forget to follow MSTA @MSTAmich on Twitter.

Mike Brown
Second Grade Teacher
Chelsea School District 

Expand your PLN, follow:
Todd Bloch @blocht574
Rachelle Wynkoop @RMWynkoop

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