Let’s wrestle some bigger ideas.
Matt Candler

Big Ideas Start with Seeds (and Tweets)


Thank you for your post and your work. I discovered 4.0 Schools last night via Twitter.

In fact, most of what I learn as a boarding school teacher and coach tends to be gleaned from the Twittersphere.

In January of 2009, we had a professional development day that suggested we start a Twitter or LinkedIn account. And I started by following my favorite periodicals and publications on Twitter…it’s been a slippery slope since then. Now I follow educators from all over the world.

I am grateful for hashtag communities #BFC530 #engchat #educolor #edtech #satchat #whatisschool #isedchat #futureedchat #connectedEd #globaledchat #edtechchat #edchat and so many more.

As my five year old sleeps soundly next to me, I read serendipitous Tweets that resonate with my evolving understanding of what students need for the future.

With each passing year, I’m letting go of that Ph.D. dream. Meanwhile, I feel I’m learning more: reading five minutes here, watching a 15 minute video or TED Talk, listening to podcasts on roadtrips. And meditating and ruminating most of the day on these ideas.

Excited to share these ideas at school, I am sorry to say I’ve been met with skepticism and some cynicism by colleagues over the years when I mention Twitter. Remixed Fallon-JT SNL #hashtag skits were popular and I played along.

In 2015, Twitter is still disparaged by many educators. I’m at my third school in four years (long story — maybe a future post). Wherever I go, same attitude toward professional development days and nostalgia for B.I (Before Internet @joi).

This year during back to school orientation at my new school, an inspiring guest speaker from an Ivy League school threw Twitter under the bus — and sure enough — many colleagues nodded and chuckled in agreement. I sighed.

It’s true. We tend to mock what we don’t understand. Do teachers know that 60% of all tweets are education related?

Twitter is the best personal and professional development network there is. Period.

In the landscape of social media, Twitter is a tool that must be used thoughtfully. I don’t follow friends or post personal pictures on Twitter; Facebook and Instagram serve that purpose for me.

As I tell my students, Twitter is like life — it’s what you make of it: Who do you follow? Who follows you? Be careful who you follow.

And as my dad would say: Garbage in, garbage out.

And no, I don’t own Twitter stock — who knows? I might in my TIAA-CREF funds. At 42, I should know that, I guess. Or at least, think about retirement more.

Matt, my point in writing is gratitude for promoting the Big Ideas. The ideas we are too busy or too cynical to discuss.

Last year at school, I gave a chapel talk about engaging in conversations about real issues and big ideas.

While Twitter is a #PLN that offers connection and community #connectedEd, it is only the beginning.

I like to think of Twitter as research and development of ideas #crowdsourcing - as well as great inspiration. However, time to take real action in conversation— in person.


Now, excuse me as I run off. My son just woke up and he’s running around. Time to play with him. I’ll start taking action now. Time to disconnect to connect.

I’ll reconnect later.

And my resolution to write more in 2016 started a day early.

Thank you again, Matt.