Wednesday, May 28, 2014

At Twitter the TwitterSphere is all about 'Space'

Arriving at Twitter around 11:30am. 1355 Market Street, SF, at what was once a showcase facility for home furnishing and design.

I was invited to Twitter by Caroline Quick. Caroline provides the vision and the plans for the future expansion and development of space for Twitter world wide. When Caroline was hired (approximately 4 years ago) Twitter had 108, Twitter employs over 3000. With that expansion has come the need for space. More important, however, than just square footage is the atmosphere created within the additional space. This is where Caroline's influence is felt by all. 

I was fortunate because Caroline served as our host and tour guide providing me the opportunity learn how Twitter views  its space and environment. 

Caroline gives a whole new meaning to what we might refer to as the 'TwitterSphere.'

Why did I get to visit Twitter? I guess its Divine Providence and good old fashion luck. Lance and his wife Bielka, parents at the Madeleine, made this tour happen. They are neighbors to Caroline and speak highly of the Madeleine and our use of Twitter as a school. I am affectionately referred to by some in my school community as the 'Twitter-Pal,' the principal who tweets. Actually, many of us at the Madeleine tweet--lots of good stuff happening and everyone loves to hear a 'bird sing.'   

I would say that good fortune and the impact of social media offered me the opportunity to visit Twitter. 

The visit was more than just touring a building. I had the opportunity to learn a lot about 21st Century space. I knew, as I was entering into the Twitterer's 'nest,' I would be seeing and feeling first hand what 21st Century environments can be. My challenge and hope during the visit was to try to imagine how I could translate this reality of 21st Century space into a vision for the Madeleine that will become the reality for existing classrooms. 

Twitter's 21st Century environment showcased 5 key elements essential to their core values and mission. Every environment fosters 1) collaboration, 2) innovative thinking, 3) transparency, 4) initiative and 5) optimism. 

That's what I want for School of the Madeleine in Berkeley.
Twitter is all about its 'TwitterSphere' - all about its space.

But not just square footage--no, its about open space. Open Space that is convertible and flexible. Twitter is about open space that is comfortable while not being distracting or diminishing creative froms of interaction. The 'TwitterSphere' is open space that is playful and reflective. The open space not only allows for movement and conversation, but encourages creative collaboration. Twitter's open space is filled with glass and natural light-design elements that permeate its space giving one a sense of transparency and optimism. Twitter's open space is nurturing because it provides nourishment in the same way it provides tools for creativity: they are accessible when needed by the flock.

I left Twitter with a better idea of how a 21st Century Classroom might look and with a burning question.

Why can't classrooms resemble the work places that foster the very 21st Century Skills we are trying to instill in our students? 

My vision is that the classrooms at the Madeleine will, as a result of our 21st Century Classroom Project, reflect this 21st Century atmosphere . Together with our students, teachers and parents the Madeleine will transform our current 20th century classrooms into open environments of learning that will foster collaboration, innovative thinking, transparency, initiative and optimism for all of us.  

Thanks Caroline for the visit to Twitter and for sharing your expertise and vision. Your passion was inspiring and I hope to host you at the Madeleine very soon. Thanks also to Lance & Bielka for making this day a reality. Your commitment to the Madeleine and your support for my leadership means more to me than words can describe. I am humbled and grateful that you have chosen the Madeleine for your two daughters.

Parting note: I wouldn't be true to the spirit of Twitter if I didn't take a selfie while there. The painted portrait behind me is the famous selfie taken at the Oscars this past year. What better tribute to Twitter then to send a 'selfie' of me with the most popular 'selfie' of all time. The second selfie is Caroline, Lance and me at the Twitter Logo located in a meeting room with a 'living wall.' 

The living wall is configured of all potted plants pointed horizontal. Yes, this provided me with another great idea for our classrooms. 

If you ever get the chance to enter the "TwitterSphere" do it! You will find that a 140 characters just can't Tweet it justice.

Ken Willers, Principal

Reception Area

Your own coffee cup

One of the Conference rooms 
Conference Room 
Dining Room/Food Service

Dining/Meeting Area

Outdoor work space

RoofTop Green and Garden

Smaller Kitchen for Employees

Famous Selfie Portrait for people like me: Selfie w/Selfie

Lounge area for creative conversation

Caroline talks about the log cabins


Living Wall and Red Wood Twitter Logo

Saying Goodbye with a selfie