Almost four years ago I chatted with a teacher in Grand Rapids that I had never had the pleasure of meeting before. Jeff Bush was charismatic, thoughtful, and excited about connecting teachers through Twitter. Who knew that the conversation I had with him would lead to nearly four years of weekly #michED Twitter chats, new found friendships with educators from around the state, the MACUL Makerspace, and one of the most popular state-level Twitter chats in the country.
The #michED chat has brought together hundreds of educators, students, and parents from across the world to discuss technology, poverty, special education, and a host of other topics. We’ve focused heavily on highlighting Michigan experts in the field of education, and we’ve made it a point to address weighty topics that are difficult to discuss openly; the crisis in Flint, the escalating need in Detroit. Little did Jeff and I know that our first conversation would lead to so many other conversations among hundreds of individuals, and so many other projects and ideas, amplified by the #michED community. The conversations and community have long since overtaken anything either of us have achieved on our own, and seeing all of the connections and conversations blossom into new projects and ideas has been amazing.
Today, a group of educators from around the state went to Lansing to chat with lawmakers, staff, and the Lieutenant Governor about the conversations and sharing that takes place within the #michED Twitter community. While we won’t begin to forecast what new projects and ideas will come out of inviting so many influential voices to observe and take part in the weekly #michED chat, but we’ll soon find out. Every lawmaker in Michigan was invited to stop in for the June 8th #michED chat as we reflect on this school year, and bring some thoughtful reflection to the chat. Staffers, legislators, lobbyists, and more will be watching the chat tomorrow evening, and I’m excited about the possibilities of this introduction; I’m hoping we can show the powerful side of thoughtful conversation and dialogue to the Michigan lawmakers, a group of individuals who are quite used to being on the receiving end of constant negativity and attacks via social media.
This post is not about the work that Jeff Bush and I have done; far from it. It’s about the amazing work that the #michED Twitter Community has done, and the individuals that congregate every Wednesday evening and throughout the week to help other educators. It’s about the work that Ann Smart, Heather Gauck, Todd Bloch, Gina Wilson, Mary Wever, Sarah Giddings, Annette Christiansen, Liza Parkinson, RJ Webber, and Brad Wilson put in today hand-delivering #michED “care packages” to every legislator. It’s about the amazing individuals that work behind the scenes each and every week to make the #michED chat happen. But most of all, it’s about the hundreds of educators, students, and parents that continue to strive to be their best each and every day to make schools in Michigan great places to learn, and are always willing to reach out and make new introductions, create new relationships, and cement a better understanding of how we can help one another.
So here’s to introductions, and all the hope and excitement they can bring! Please, join us for the June 8th #michED chat at 8 pm as we reflect about this school year.