Twitter & Networking | What Joe Said

One of great minds I follow on Twitter is Jane McGonigal. She is a researcher dedicated to showing people how games can make the world a better place. More specifically how reality can be tweaked to become even more engaging, more rewarding, and teach us more than we think we know.

Last night, Jane put out a call looking for new people to follow on Twitter. I immediately responded not expecting anything in return, in fact it was just a quick knee jerk reaction of someone posing a question and me wanting to respond, quickly.

Prior to her tweet I had been tweeting about the GOP Debate, the EMChat, and how a colleague of mine is going to India to get married and how we wanted her to bring back an elephant so we could change our mascot from a Bison to an Elephant.

I responded to her request for new people to follow, then this happened:

You could be saying, “I don’t get it. What’s so great about that?”

And you don’t have to get it. You don’t have to think it’s great. The point is, here is a woman who has given a TED talk. That alone puts you at celebrity status in my mind; not just anyone can give a TED talk. The fact that she is a woman who gave a TED talk about video games and gaming, puts her over the edge in my mind of someone I see as a role model.

Her research will be cited in my future dissertation and I hope to connect with her more down the road in regards to her research and as she requested, “life and other cool stuff.”

The point is, she would have remained just someone who gave a really cool TED talk and someone that tweeted once in a while. Now she is more than that. We are connected on Twitter and hopefully that turns into a few more connections down the road. Is this networking? I think it is. It opened the door for me to have future communication and correspondence with someone’s whose work I admire.

Thank you Twitter for making that happen.

For more on Jane and her awesomeness, see below:

Watch her TEDTalk here:
Read about her:
Visit her website here:

Hitting the Gym | What Joe Said

“Hitting the gym.”

I see that way more than I should as a tweet and Facebook status update that I see in my feeds from those that I follow. (I’ll admit, I sometimes contribute to that feed with the same statement).  This is often synonymous with someone starting P90X, Insanity, or training for a sport or contest such as a marathon or Warrior Dash. The point is, it is all physical. Building “stronger abs, a tight core, ripped arms” is the tag line that is throw at people of all makes and models especially around the holidays (especially January for resolution season) and March (or Spring Break season).

The truth is there is one muscle that needs to be worked out as often as our abs, arms, legs, and even more important than the core. Our brain.

I read a book recently that highlighted a teacher directing a group of first-graders to seek the goal of reading at a third-grade level by the end of the term. She told them that it was achievable and to remember that everything at first will be difficult, but that the brain is like a muscle and it needs to workout to gain strength.

Let me repeat…the brain is like a muscle and it needs to workout to gain strength (and maintain it).

This means, as educators, professional development is a must if you are in the game. We must continue to grow our understanding of our work, as well as our strengths and abilities. The moment we decide to retire from exercising our brains (see: stop reading, stop attending conferences, stop trying, etc) we do not become useless, we become less effective. Don’t let your brain get weak. Work it out. It can take as little as 140 characters or 3 minutes.

How do you work out your brain (and how often)?