PD by the minute – Twitter

Entering the Twittersphere

Background: I reluctantly signed up for Twitter a year ago because my understanding of the social network was that it was.. just another social network. I started to follow celebs, news reporters, my beloved Manly Sea Eagles players and found that the cliche of tweeting “I’m on the toilet, come look at how big…” was true. One of my colleagues who followed me approached me and proceeded to hound my misuse of the ever-growing social network. He directed me onto some fascinating Tweeps (people using Twitter) and I instantly felt more connected than ever before. I have since discarded the superficial, bland celebs for educational gurus and now I get PD (professional development) by the minute!

Impact on Education: I am absolutely, unequivocally addicted to Twitter. I refresh my page every moment I can with the hope of coming across a new and exciting resource/paper/website/etc to integrate in my classroom. It’s the real-time interaction that I get aroused by. Today, so much of what I find has impacted my teaching practice and has offered me engaging resources to share and thus accessing PD by the minute.

Twitter is about finding something that grabs your attention. According to the @Twitter Blog, in March 2011 approx. 140 million tweets were being sent a day and that’s a tonne of tweets to filter through. I don’t care for how to treat my dog’s fleas or what hair colour Julia Gillard uses. I find the true beauty of Twitter lying in it’s hashtag created groups and 3rd party clients that organise your account for you like Tweetdeck and Twirl. Some hashtags that I include in my education related tweets include:

#edchat #ausedchat #ukedchat #ozteachers #edtech #edapp #mathchat

Some great educational tweeps I follow include:

@LearningToday @web20classroom @Ideas_Factory @WeAreTeachers @rmbyrne @TeacherToolkit @CreativeEdu @JesseSBlack @iTech4Ed @rhp123 @NMHS_Principal @ICTmagic

I’ve lost count of how many opportunities I’ve had to interact with amazingly talented, smart and insightful people on Twitter. It has also spurred on my own adaptations for integration. For example, Twitter can work wonderfully as an opinion poll collecting a bunch of data and using it how you see fit. Twitter can be used in Maths, HSIE/Science or English allowing you to retrieve instant feedback on any question as long as you direct your questions appropriately. Things to remember about Twitter:

  • Twitter is the ultimate tool for collaboration and networking (not the only one but definitely one of the best!)
  • Don’t feel guilty not replying to every tweet under the sun
  • It takes up time and takes you away from teaching
  • It breaks news faster than any other communication channel
  • It gives your critics a forum allowing you to also study them and adjust practices
  • Build a community of like-minded twitterers
  • Don’t tweet solely about education – be human!
  • Tweet about things that happen in your classroom – your students will love it!
  • On Twitter people have a higher level of honesty so you will get sincere feedback
  • Twitter brings great minds together and is great for staff development

That’s my introduction to Twitter. I’m sure there are dozens of fun, exciting ways of using Twitter in the classroom and I’m curious about how other people use it to enhance their professional development or teaching.

I encourage every educator to join and start accessing PD by the minute!

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