Yesterday I received some awesome personal news, it is still too early in the process to share the details, but I was excited, then I read a post by Charles Cooper @Thrasymachus that made me realize how powerful the connections made on Twitter can be.
A couple weeks ago I wanted to try something different for the Twitter chat I host, #sstlap, and decided to try a concept called Speed Dating. While I have never experienced it first hand, I have seen examples on TV. Now before I go to far, here is a big reveal for anyone who has ever participated in any of my chats, or has read about the lessons I share, are you ready for it? Most of my really good ideas come last minute! Oh and I am not claiming to have had lots of good ideas, but most of the few that I have developed were in the final moments before the deadline. (Don't worry there is a reason why I share this earth shattering secret). So to set the stage for Speed Dating, it was Thursday mid-morning when I realized I need to come up with questions for the chat and as usually I start to feel the pressure as my mind frantically searches for ideas. Then seemingly out of nowhere I remember a commercial for Jimmy John's where two people are speed dating and they order subs that arrive just in time for the two to meet. Well now I have a concept of Speed Dating, but how do I use this in a Twitter chat?
Somehow my mind grasps the concept of the connection between Speed Dating, the getting to know you, even in a fast paced environment, and the collaboration that happens in Twitter chats. Out of this moment of inspiration, I realize I want to use the concepts of Speed Dating to get to know my PLN better, and more importantly have them connect with the amazing people they are chatting with each week. I looked up Speed Dating questions, and away we went. I created a lot because I thought the responses might be pretty limited and then I would loose people to boredom waiting for the next question. What I found was some amazing depth of conversation and new connections. As Charles Cooper @Thrasymachus mentions in his post I will share below, he met someone from his motherland Costa Rica. The funny thing is, the person he met is a great friend of mine who has been an amazingly positive support to me and an inspiration, Kimberly A. Hurd @khurdhorst. Through this activity they made a connection they might never have been able to create otherwise, because who really talks about where they were born in normal conversation? There are so many wonderful things I learned about my PLN that day that I plan to use this again.
Back to my big reveal. I mentioned that many of my ideas come last minute, and the reason I share this is because I feel like I sometimes only have the concept ready to share with others. I have seen this with a number of lessons that I have shared with my PLN this past year. I have a concept, a vision, but I am lacking some of the detail, or ways to really take it to its full potential. When my PLN gets a hold of the concept they pour their creative juices into the concept and magic happens. Speed Dating is a prime example of this. I thought of the concept as a way to change things up and get to know my PLN. I am happy with the results, but then I read Charles Cooper @Thrasymachus and I realized there is so much more potential for this concept in PD. He created some amazing ways to use it with both teachers and students that I am now going to steal for my own use. He has done a great job of outlining his process, guiding principles that make it easy to see how and why you should use this concept.
The big AH HA moment for me was seeing another prime example of someone taking a concept and turning it into something spectacular! This is what happens with a connected, collaborative network of educators who are passionate about what they do and improving education. He credits me for the concept, I stole from Jimmy John's who took it from it's inventor, Rabbi Yaacov Deyo who came up with the idea in the 1990s according to a quick Google search. Each time someone took the original concept and re-purposed it for their own needs. This is what happens in connected world made possible because of social media like Twitter and Google+. Speed Dating has gone from a way to meet your future soul mate, to a very cool way to reinvigorate your PD through the efforts of Charles Cooper. Please check out his great post about Speed Dating As Professional Development. I hope you steal the ideas to engage your colleagues and students and of course SHARE your results!