High School Principal Kevin Deemer (@kevindeemer99), described educators not using social media as trees without branches.

As soon as you get on Twitter, now you have branches. You become a forest very quickly.

Kara Newhouse (@KaraNewhouse), education reporter for Lancaster Newspapers, had a wonderful piece today on teachers using Twitter for professional development.

Through organized chats and by following other educators from around the world, more and more Lancaster County teachers are using Twitter to drive their own professional development and broaden classroom horizons.

When switching from teaching first grade to fourth, one of Jessica Bamberger’s (@MissBamberger) friends told her about Twitter as a method of getting up to speed quickly.

On Monday nights there’s a ‘fourth chat.’ Fourth-grade teachers get together and chat about different topics, so it’s proved out to be really excellent.

It went from behavior management plans to just the curriculum in general — how you run reading groups, how you run math groups and things like that.

English high school teacher, Greg Hundermark (@futurek12), uses Twitter to discover classroom ideas and materials.

When I was leaving college … I felt like what I was being taught was dated. So even before I was building relationships with other teachers in my building, I was reaching out to people on the Internet. … Now I’m exposed to dozens and dozens of resources every day.

Bamberger even connected with a researcher in Antarctica.

She’s a penguin expert, and while we [students] were on Skype with her, she said, ‘If you give me about five minutes, I’ll walk down to the rookery and I’ll show you the penguins.

When she called us back, she was at the rookery, and the chicks had just been born from the Adélie penguins, which were in our story that we’d been reading all week. She got one of the penguins to stand up and show his egg off.

What do educators using Twitter have to do with you as a lawyer? A lot.

Notre Dame football coach used to say the only thing that’s going to change you from the person you are today and the person you’ll be five years from now are the people you meet and the books you read.

Twitter enables you to meet and network with lawyers in your locale and across the country.

  • You can exchange information in 140 characters.
  • You’ll be turned on to articles and information to read you’d have never discovered or read.
  • You’ll be introduced to others to follow – lawyers, business people, academics, association leaders and so many more, all of whom you’d never have met and had the pleasure of learning from.

The vast majority of lawyers associate Twitter with marketing. That’s assuming they’re beyond calling Twitter plain stupid.

Twitter can mean so much more. Lawyers have told me that Twitter is their primary means of staying up to speed with legal developments. Why not take Twitter a step further and network for professional development?

Think outside the box and expand your horizons. Just as Twitter can accelerate relationships, Twitter can accelerate learning.

Learn from the educators Newhouse has introduced you to.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Denise Krebs