An Interview with Brad Currie

Author — 140 Twitter Tips for Educators

November 25, 2016
Email Interview with Brad Currie

Brad Currie is the Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is also the Founding Partner and Chief Information Officer for Evolving Educators LLC.

Brad began his career in 2001 as a Middle School Social Studies and Computer Education Teacher for the Hanover Township School District in Whippany, New Jersey.

He is the 2017 NJPSA Visionary Assistant Principal of the Year. He is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader, Google Certified Educator, Google Education Trainer, author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Parents, Educators, and Communities, and Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development and the newly released 140 Twitter Tips for Educators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network, and Reinvigorate Your Career.

His best known book, which he co-wrote with Billy Krakower and Scott Rocco in the spring of 2016, is entitled 140 Twitter Tips for Educators.

Brad, let’s start off with the big question — why should educators use Twitter?

Educators should use Twitter to get connected with other educators from around the world. There are so many great ideas and resources shared by educators all day every day by educators. The more we share the more students success will be impacted. Twitter is a game-changer in education simply because it creates a risk-taking mindset that sets individuals off on a course in unchartered territories that will ultimately lead to bigger and better things.

Now to your book specifically. You’ve divided your book into three sections. Section one is entitled Getting Started and contains 46 tips. What are two or three of the better tips found in this section?

The first tip I would suggest people follow is to simply give Twitter a chance. I’m not talking about one day or one week. Give Twitter a try for two or three months and see what it has to offer. The second tip I would suggest is to personalize your profile. Nobody likes an egg, so make sure to add a profile picture. Also, add information about yourself as a sort of brag sheet to tell your own story. The third and final tip I will suggest is for people to share what they are doing in the classroom no matter how insignificant you think it might be. Every single educator on the planet is doing something great to help kids and the world needs to know about it!

Section two is entitled Taking Twitter to a Higher Level. This section contains tips 47–98. What are two or three of the better tips found in this section?

One of the better tips in the chapter is build your Twitter stamina. It’s important to make Twitter a daily or weekly occurrence in your professional growth as an educator. Another tip that I think is important both as an educator and parent, is to tell your classroom, school, or district story by way of a Twitter hashtag or handle. It’s a great way to engage stakeholders about educational experiences taking place with students.

The third and final section of your book is entitled Becoming a Twitter Rock Star. This section contains tips 99–140. If an educator wanted to become a Twitter Rock Star and you were to offer up just one of the tips found in this section, what would that tip be?

One of the most impactful things an educator can do on Twitter is start a movement. There are so many positive initiatives going on in the world of education. Whether it’s through holding your very own Twitter chat or bringing attention to policies that affect teaching and learning, the sky is the limit.

What is one of the more controversial tips found in your book?

I think the entire concept of being on Twitter and tweeting out your thoughts for the world to see is controversial in some people’s eyes. But at the end of the day Twitter does much more good than bad. It brings educators together in both the physical and virtual worlds and changes the conversation on how best to impact the success of all students.

Since completing work on your book, have you learned of any other great uses of Twitter in education?

Twitter is always offering new ways for educators to engage and make professional growth meaningful. Take for the example the phenomenon that Tara Martin started through the #BookSnaps hashtag. It’s a great way for educators to highlight important concepts of a book through catchy images.

How do you respond to those who say Twitter is just one great big time suck?

Twitter is just one of many ways that educators can expand their knowledge of best practices and promote the success of students. Improving your practice as an educators does take time and tweeting is definitely worth the time. Being a connected educator is no longer an option. Whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Pinterest really doesn’t matter. Just as long as educators are sharing, consuming, and reflecting on their practice.

In your book, you say that Twitter has become your “go-to-tool for connecting, collaborating, creating, learning, and reflecting with educators from all walks of life.” And all this with the 140 character limit that Twitter imposes. Do you think if Twitter were to substantially increase the character limit, even greater collaboration, connecting, creating, learning, and reflecting would occur?

I would like Twitter to expand the 140 character limit. Because as we all know people learn differently. Imagine what great ideas and resources could be shared if there was just a little more room in the compose section.

Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked you about yet?

The last thing I would like to say is that educators were put here on this earth to support student’s efforts in becoming the best they can be. Being on Twitter exposes educators to ideas and initiatives that they may not of thought of before. People don’t know what they don’t know and the minute an innovative idea is shared on a tool like Twitter educators become inspired to do bigger and better things. At the end of the day, give Twitter a chance, as it will change your professional life for the better.

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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