Twitter, Book Nerds, and PD
Over at Choice Literacy, Franki Sibberson chats with Donalyn Miller, Colby Sharp, and Cindy Minnich about the power and reach of online reading communities. They also discuss the creation and evolution of "The Nerdy Book Club" (also, Donalyn ends by quoting me, so you know, my ears were burning and my head swelled a little when this was posted...amazing how pride is so much like the Ebola virus).
You can listen to the podcast or read the transcipt here. I really love this very apt description of what online reading communities offer:
Donalyn Miller: Online reading communities offer readers the same things that physical reading communities offer. They foster connections with other readers who can support you. They challenge you to branch out and try new books and authors and styles of writing. I learned about so many new books from my online communities, and discover new authors that I might like to read, and also that my students might like to read.
I have found amazing connections on twitter, from new books and challenging ideas to new friends I've been able to connect with in real life. As a writer, it's old news that online communities are great for networking, but I'm glad to see teachers embracing blogs and twitter as a low-cost and self-directed path for Professional Development. There is, of course, no substitute for face-to-face connections and I do hope that these on-line communities of educators find ways to connect in real life, whether it is through the restoration (or creation) of budgets for teachers to attend workshops and conferences or through informal events set up by these very same networks, but much like the "meet-ups" that online communities like Metafilter have fostered. And, as an writer, I also hope the blogging and skype visits don't fully supplant going in person to schools to meet with kids off screen. I love skyping with classes; Skype makes it possible to connect with more young readers than ever at basically no cost, (leveling the geographic and economic playing field for author visits), but there is nothing like shaking hands with that proud kid who just read his first book cover to cover and hearing that it was yours.