The Education Tool That You’re Not Using!

This Might Be What You’re Missing!

Imagine someone gave you a tool that would greatly help you in your professional growth.  All you need to do is learn how to work it.  If you took a few minutes of your time to understand it and work with it, it would pay off significantly!  Would you take that time?  Would you figure it out?  Well, you do have a very powerful tool!  And you are more than likely not taking advantage of it!  Let me explain.

I’m going to start off talking about my early days in education.  When I transitioned from the classroom to the Instructional Specialist position, I put in a lot of hours and time trying to prove to my administrators that I had what it took to become a leader.  After long hours, I started to… the only way that I can explain it is, I felt “thin,” like I was being stretched.

I was putting a lot out, but I wasn’t putting anything in.  Because I have done a lot of leadership development, outside of the education setting, I knew this wasn’t a good place and that I needed to start putting new ideas and fresh insights into my mind.

Because I like technology, I started looking into using RSS readers and podcasts to start reading articles and listening to shows that were providing new and fresh ideas in education, technology, and leadership.

Benefits of Purposeful Growth

Something happened!  I started feeling energized.  At work, I started seeing things with fresh perspectives, trying new things out and providing good ideas to others.  I saw the benefit of purposefully planning my personal development.  

You can’t stay stagnant.  You need to always grow yourself!

At work, I started seeing things with fresh perspectives, trying new things out and providing good ideas to others. I saw the benefit of purposefully planning my personal development. Click To Tweet

A Tool for Everyone

If you drive to work, workout, run, walk the dog or just have the radio on in the house during the day, you can listen to podcasts.

If you drive to work, workout, run, walk the dog or just have the radio on in the house during the day, you can listen to podcasts. Click To Tweet

Technology has increased so much that it is so easy to bring up a podcast on your phone and listen to it.  In fact, you can set it to where it downloads automatically, and it just appears.  You can listen to it and then delete it from your phone to save space!

If you are going to start listening to podcasts, you’ll need an APP.  There are many good APPS out there for Android phones.  I use Pocket Cast.  It cost $3.99, but it is worth it!  Before Pocket Cast, I used Beyond Pod. Stitcher also has a good APP that you can download for free.  iPhone and Ipad users have iTunes that will download podcasts.

Most of these APPS have a search function that you can just type in the name of a podcast or just a topic.  If a podcast you’re looking for doesn’t show up, you’ll have to get the RSS feed, usually displayed on the podcast’s website, to add to your podcast APP.  But it is very simple!

If you are looking for some great podcasts to follow, check these out:

Get That APP!

Check out this video on the Pocket Cast APP.

 

Here are some other links to videos that show you other podcast APPS

Final Thoughts

If you have time where you can put in some earphones or listen in your vehicle, you have the opportunity to add some real beneficial ideas and information to your mind.  Remember, there are podcasts on every topic imaginable!  There is something for you.

Do you already listen to podcasts?  Please share some of your favorite podcasts in the comments below.

Peace,
Todd

Growing Has Never Been So Easy! Intentional Learning As An Educator Using Twitter

 

Your Path to Intentional Learning

Great teachers don’t rely on their district’s staff development training cycle to learn and grow in their craft.  No!  They intentionally seek staff development opportunities out.  In the past, a teacher wanting to grow and learn would have contacted their local educational center, participated in a book study, taken a college course or met up with like-minded teachers.  These are all still viable solutions!

Great teachers don't rely on their district's staff development training cycle to learn and grow in their craft. Click To Tweet

But today, educators have a great tool at their disposal, Twitter.

I first understood the value of Twitter to grow professionally after listening to a presentation by Alan November.  Side note – You only need to attend one of his presentations, like ever!  He says the same thing every single time!

Basically, November said the power of Twitter was in following great thought leaders in your field.  These great thought leaders are putting out great ideas, links to blog posts, videos, podcasts and resources that many times you can directly apply to your craft.  For educators, Twitter is a goldmine for all of these opportunities!

I was recently asked to share some tips on using Twitter to grow professionally.  I would like to share them with you here too!

Find Some Great Twitter Chats

Twitter Chats are one of the greatest ways that educators can grow professionally on Twitter.  A Twitter Chat happens when Twitter users respond to questions tweeted out by a moderator.  The questions are usually on a certain topic and followed by a hashtag (ex. #txeduchat).  You learn as you respond to questions, but then read and respond to the responses of others.  Many users will share out resources like I stated above.

I must warn you though!  Twitter Chats go very fast and can be very overwhelming if you have never participated in one.  For the new Twitter user, it is not uncommon to finish answering question one, only to find out everyone is on question three.  Don’t worry or stress about that!  People come in and out of Twitter Chats all the time.

Twitter Chats are one of the greatest ways that educators can grow professionally on Twitter. Click To Tweet

If it makes you feel more comfortable, feel free to just lurk and read responses until you feel comfortable to jump in and start participating.

If you’re not sure where to find a Twitter Chat, the website Education Chats lists out a ton of education Twitter Chats by date, time and time zone.

If you're not sure where to find a Twitter Chat, the website Education Chats lists out a ton of education Twitter Chats by date, time and time zone. Click To Tweet

And if you would like a video walkthrough on how to participate in a Twitter Chat, watch the video below.

Don’t Fill Your Twitter Feed with Junk

You can follow anyone you like on Twitter.  But I highly suggest you don’t follow others that are not going to lend to your professional growth.  For example, you can follow every single Kardashian on Twitter.  But other than provide some entertainment and keep you up-to-date on the latest pop-culture ( which is fine if that is your thing), what actual value is there to your professional growth?

The more followers you add, the more cluttered your Twitter feed becomes.  There are bots out there that will follow you to get you to follow them back.  Then after you follow them, they will unfollow you.  If you have a habit of following people who follow you, it might be a good idea to go through those you follow and unfollow those that are not really adding value to your PLN or Personal Learning Network.

Interact with Others

It might be a little intimidating at first, but the more you interact on Twitter, the better your experience and growth will be.  When you interact, people will Tweet, and respond to you.  You can have conversations and share ideas with people ALL OVER THE WORLD!  It is not unusual to make great Twitter friends with others and finally meet them at an educational conference later in the year.

In Conclusion

You’re not going to break your computer or phone or the internet by interacting or not interacting on Twitter.  But if you don’t interact and utilize Twitter for professional growth, you are missing out on a great opportunity.

You're not going to break your computer or phone or the internet by interacting or not interacting on Twitter. But if you don't interact and utilize Twitter for professional growth, you are missing out on a great opportunity. Click To Tweet

The things you can learn, the resources you can find, the people that you will interact with, will all help you become a better educator!

 

Peace,
Todd

Lifelong Learning – The Wrong Question!

 

Are you a lifelong learner?  That is the wrong question to ask yourself.  What?!?  Blasphemy!

Instead, the question to ask yourself is “What are you doing with your learning?”

You see, if you are learning and not doing anything with it, then you’re just a filing cabinet.

You see, if you are learning and not doing anything with it, then you're just a filing cabinet. Click To Tweet

A true lifelong learner is applying what they’re learning, making changes to their behavior, adjusting their lives to become better!

Don’t be a filing cabinet!  The world has plenty of those!

What are you doing with your learning?

 

Peace,
Todd

It’s Your Time! So What?

 

Your time is precious!  What do you do with it?

You might think that is a silly question.  However, if you aren’t purposeful, if you don’t schedule your time, it will just disappear…like magic!

...if you aren't purposeful, if you don't schedule your time, it will just disappear...like magic! Click To Tweet

In Time Management Magic, Lee Cockerell writes, “… no one has more than 24 hours in a day…and no one has less that that either.”

Did you get that?  All the great men and women of history and those who are changing the world today, have the same amount of time as you! You can’t make an excuse that you don’t have enough time.  You’re just not managing it right!

It’s time to do something about it!

Peace,
Todd

 

Personal Growth is Not An Accident

“Personal growth is not an accident!”

Recently I wrote an article entitled, The Educator’s Imperative: Three Ways to Stay Fresh and Invest in Yourself!  In that post, I mentioned that I use podcasts as an intentional part of my personal growth and learning.

Recently, I listened to a podcast that I wanted to pass along to you.  John Maxwell, the leadership guru, was recently on the EntreLeadership Podcast to talk about personal growth.  You can visit the podcast page by CLICKING HERE

There are many gems in this podcast like, “Who do you know that I should know?”

Who do you know that I should know? #leadership #growth #PLN #education Click To Tweet

Podcasts are free and many pack a ton of insight for us to help us grow into the leader we want to become.

Peace,
Todd