Raising Awareness - One Chat at a Time
It is with great pleasure to once again this year participate in New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour. This spring, I took over the reins of Global #gtchat on Twitter and as I was pondering this decision, I was reminded of why I write and tweet … to raise awareness of the needs of gifted children and adults. My mind immediately came back to this very special week … a week when the global gifted community focuses on New Zealand and all the marvelous work you do on behalf of our community.
Global #gtchat on Twitter was the brainchild of Deborah Mersino and made its debut in January, 2010. For the next two years, chat served as a twice weekly meeting place for parents, teachers, and professionals involved in the gifted community.
In January of this year, Deborah announced that she had taken a position as a senior marketing director with ISTE; an international company supporting technology in education. It was an incredible opportunity to extend her influence in the realm of educating the next generation of 21st century learners.
After a two month hiatus, Global #gtchat returned to Twitter thanks to the generous support of the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented (TAGT); the largest state gifted association in the U.S. The TAGT staff is now providing technical support, a dedicated page on their website, an advisory panel to provide feedback to the moderator, a transcript of weekly chats and a poll for participants to decide weekly topics. TAGT embraced a simple philosophy when the organization assumed the lead role in facilitating the continuation of #gtchat ~ to provide a continuous source of open communication and collaboration for the entire gifted community without self-promotion.
Why is Global #gtchat on Twitter so important and why should you get involved? One … it’s easy to participate (instructions are available at www.txgifted.org/gtchat ) and it doesn’t take a lot of technical expertise. Two … the rest of the gifted community listens to what is being said as evidenced by conversations on other social media platforms and blogs. Add in the fact that it is the fastest way to build your PLN (Personal Learning Network) and to find a community of like-minded individuals; and you’ve found the perfect tool for becoming a well-informed parent and teacher of gifted children.
Let me illustrate what #gtchat has meant to me and why I accepted the position of moderator. Over the 2 ½ years that I participated in chat under the leadership of Deborah Mersino, I developed an incredible PLN that spans the globe, made friends within the gifted community from parents to internationally known academics as well as leaders in gifted advocacy, and gained insights into the nature of giftedness previously unknown to me.
Professionally, I have gained more knowledge from engaging in Twitter chats and researching links made available during these chats than I ever did in a traditional classroom. Although a longtime advocate for gifted children locally, I saw my influence grow to help many other parents advocate for their own children. It was #gtchat that inspired me to start this blog where I could share what I had learned.
What will you find at the weekly chats (check here http://goo.gl/RXYj for your local time)? A wide range of topics, such as creativity, developing peer networks for your child, motivation, instructional strategies, differentiation, identification, critical thinking, perfectionism, gifted assessments, adult giftedness, and asynchronous development are discussed each week at 4AM & 11AM on Saturdays (Auckland/Wellington). Guest experts are invited to participate in chats; most recently from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and GT Voice. If you are unable to attend, a weekly transcript of the chat is provided.
None of this … none … would have been possible without my involvement in #gtchat. It has opened up a world of opportunities to share and learn that I would not have thought possible only a few short years ago. In today’s world, it is rare that an individual can make a difference; but, by becoming a part of a group of people with a single purpose ~ to advocate for the appropriate education and support of gifted children ~ to quote Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”