2012 was the year I was introduced to Twitter. (What can I say, I’m always a bit slow to hop on the latest social media trend train.) Mastering the art of tweeting 140-character messages both for myself and for Technapex was a big step for someone like me, who used to refer to tweets as “twits,” not knowing the difference.
What I’ve discovered over the past year is that Twitter is an amazing resource for news, which this media hound utilizes daily. But as I’ve learned more about the world of education technology and have explored the social media site, I also discovered that Twitter is an incredible resource for #educators as well, and has become a hot spot to discover the latest ideas in education and #edtech. As a former educator, this development endlessly thrills me.
These days, teachers of #K12 to #highered are everywhere on Twitter, as there are a wealth of resources they can now utilize in order to build their #PLN, or professional learning networks. With a hashtag for just about every educational term possible (#STEM, #OER, #CommonCore, #ELL), finding resources for a certain subject has become a #pieceofcake. (Okay, done with the obnoxious hashtagging, I promise. I’m just so excited that I actually know them now…)
Educators can make connections with fellow teachers anywhere in the world through Twitter, and learn from their experiences and observations. Teachers can collaborate with colleagues on projects and lesson plans, share resources, and find professional development opportunities such as conferences and webinars that they might not have heard of otherwise.
Bloggers and middle school teachers Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters have posted a blog series on Scientific American on technology in the classroom, and today they featured a special article called Tweet to Learn, a piece on the ways teachers have and can continue to utilize Twitter for resources and their own professional development. First, they share a few tweets from teachers that aptly summarize the Twitter experience for educators:
@thomascmurray: I learn more on Twitter in one week than I did in ANY grad course, which by the way, I paid for. Who’s with me? #edtech #edchat #satchat
@sjunkins: Twitter is everything a teachers lounge should be… Inspiring educators with engaging ideas. #iaedchat
@21centuryteachr Jody & Shara At a PD conference I’m looking for one or two good ideas to bring to the classroom. You can get that on Twitter in five minutes. #edchat
In their post, Jody and Shara discuss both the good and the bad of Twitter — the good, for example, being the sharing aspect of the site, as it’s a perfect place for teachers to share progress, struggles, and successes with other colleagues who know where they’re coming from. The bad, of course, is the privacy hurdle: the Twitterverse is very public, and putting a presence on Twitter means teachers must be conscious of the messages they send.
The risks, however, are outweighed by the rewards, say Jody and Shara. The public aspect of the site is what makes it so easy to connect with other amazing educators and ideas, and with all the exciting new developments circulating in education, it’s a great way to stay on top of the latest trends. Jody and Shara write:
It’s easy for a teacher to feel like the king of the classroom when you are there with your students, to feel like the education you received was sufficient, that the professional development conferences you attend keep you cutting edge enough– but until you look at Twitter, you won’t realize the sheer volume of conversations that are happening without you. This was what the two of us experienced when we joined Twitter. It was kind of scary and awe-inspiring at the same time: the education world had been going on without us, and it was going really fast.
Check out their blog post, and learn more about the wealth of information educators can find in the Twitterverse. Completely new to Twitter and don’t know where to start? Check out this handy cheat sheet for teachers on Twitter, and join the conversation.
Teachers, what have you learned from your experience on Twitter? Sound off in the comments below, or better yet, tweet your thoughts to @Technapex or @ce_doyle.