"Traditional Professional Development is boring and leads to little change".
"Teachers don't learn from sit n' get any more than students do".
"Educators need to take control of their own PD".
And that's OK! They don't need to have thousands of followers or blog subscribers, of course, to reap what Twitter and other networks have to offer. They will, however, likely need plenty of time to go through the process of figuring out what being connected can do for them...time to experiment and lurk and decide if/how building their network makes sense. It's perhaps the biggest flaw in telling Nick's story as a way to convince education in general that the time for teacher self-directed learning is now: the amount of time and work he has invested is not mentioned. So while following is a "one-click commitment", finding an opportunity to connect your class with another state for a PBL project could take hundreds (or more) follows, followers, tweets, posts, emails, etc.
So what other stories could have been told? Well, what about reaching out to one of these other 600+ Michigan educators on Twitter and discovering someone who has caught fire since getting connected? They aren't hard to find.. and the fact that most people haven't heard of them supports the argument that self-directed PD is in the best interest of all educators. Nick Provenzano circa 2012 would have been the perfect story for this article. He had gotten connected and amazing things were starting to happen. But now that he is where he is, leaders and bloggers and trainers need to be telling the story of the new generation of connected educators. The generation that has 62 followers right now but who are sticking their necks out with blog posts that 12 people read and tweets that rarely get responses. When we do this instead, we are able to resonate with the audience who needs to hear the story the most AND we help to grow future leaders.
Whose stories are you telling to encourage others to get connected?