What Is #EdBeat?-An Overture

For the most part music biopics do not get it right.

How many of you have seen a film featuring your favorite musician and you can just tell that something is not quite right? Music Geeks like myself shudder when we see an actor miss the mark when it comes to playing a musician we love. I have viewed many film music biopics on artists like The Doors, Johnny Cash and The Beatles. I appreciate the genre but I find myself pointing out the inattention to detail made by the actor playing a beloved musician.

My poor wife has to put up with me when we watch a film and I make the following statements:

“John Lennon never used that kind of guitar strap.”

“Loretta Lynn was nowhere near Nashville during that time period.”

“Jim Morrison never sang it that way.”

I could belabor the ponderous observations I make during these films, but my goal is to invite and not alienate in this blog. Occasionally, a film does capture the essence of a musician. Recently, “Love and Mercy” set a high standard for music biopics in portraying the life of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. This is an inventive film with two different actors playing Brian Wilson during two distinctive periods of his life. I highly recommend this film because it not only gets the music and characters right, but it also depicts the heroic struggles overcome by a mentally ill musical genius.

The essence of music is something that I yearn to be portrayed properly in film. That same yearning for a correct depiction goes to #EdBeat, the weekly Twitter Chat I co-host with Natalie Krayenvenger. (@NKrayenvenger) This is a project which is our labor of love for Education.

We are sometimes asked the question, “What is #EdBeat?” The answer is something that we wish to get right because we are both passionate about an activity in which we wish to uplift educators everywhere.

#EdBeat started off as an experiment in reaction to my first foray into the Twitterverse. I know that are many more powerful stories of the transformational  power of Twitter in Education. That metamorphosis never happened to me when I first created my Twitter account. In fact, it was dormant for a couple of years.

Two years ago, the school where I was principal was the subject of a poorly-written, retracted news article regarding our Title I Status. I dusted off my Twitter Handle to begin taking back our school’s story. The more I ventured in the Twitter Atmosphere, I noticed that there were several resources for professional development and collaborative conversation. I discovered that there were several Twitter Chats designed for educators to share and learn.

As I poured through these Twitter Chats, I observed that many had tight-knit communities of educators from all over the world. Some chats were inclusive. Other chats were difficult to navigate through and provided an atmosphere of alienation for rookies.

Earlier this year, I decided that our school could have its own Twitter Chat. It would be a simple entry point for teachers to become Connected Educators. I came up with a hashtag known as #Wileychat named for our school. #Wileychat was designed as an experiment. It would be a temporary chat designed to help Wiley Teachers.

In the midst of #Wileychat, I discovered that other educators in my PLN were participating. I was pleasantly surprised by this alternate form of traffic coming into our school chat. There were a few contacts I made from other chats sharing their voice in #Wileychat. I didn’t mind that at all and stood as a flattered participant on the journey. There were few early guest hosts, too. I was grateful to have LaVonna Roth (@LavonnaRoth), Jen Williams (@JenWilliamsEdu) and Katrina Keene (@teachintechgal) serve as early guest hosts for #Wileychat. It was great for other teachers at Wiley to connect with these esteemed and valued voices from my PLN.

After several weeks, I closed the shop on #Wileychat. To be honest, there were more non-Wiley folks involved in #Wileychat than there were acutal Wiley Teachers. As the sands shifted,  I transferred to another school since my mission at Wiley was coming to close after six years of leading a turnaround school movement. The “Closed” Sign was firmly framed on #Wileychat and it was time for me to ride into the sunset.

Despite the displayed Closed Sign, there were a few knocks on the #Wileychat door from past participants. One of them was from Natalie Krayenvenger. Natalie and I had previously connected through the #BFC530 Chat and she was a regular participant on #Wileychat.

I thought it would be interesting to host another chat that was more inclusive for all educators and not restricted by the name of a specific school.

Enter #EdBeat. The purpose of #EdBeat is to have a positive and inviting chat for all educators regardless of title, experience, school and location. Think of #EdBeat as the school cafeteria table where everyone has a saved seat. I opened up shop on #EdBeat in the late spring of 2015.

As responsibilities on my transition to the new school and travel commitments weighed in, I needed to rely upon the kindness of various guest hosts for #EdBeat. I reached out to Natalie in July of this year. We had a common interest in music and I thought she would be a suitable guest host #EdBeat.

It did not matter to me that Natalie had never hosted a Twitter Chat.

Enter Natalie Krayenvenger’s first-ever moderating of a Twitter Chat and the beginning of our collaboration with #EdBeat.

Your move, Natalie.

(Stay tuned for Natalie’s continuation of “What Is #EdBeat?” at http://www.whatsyourrush.net, the site for her inspirational blog.)

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