Twitter caught fire over the past year. Not a day goes by without an educator writing about the importance of staying connected through Twitter. After reading a few of these articles, I decided to log back in to my previously dormant Twitter account. You see, I had a Twitter account which I had signed up for about 5 years prior, when Twitter was first getting going. Like many people, I thought Twitter was useful for following celebrity gossip, trending news and seeing what athletes have to say to each other. Never once did I consider its effect on my professional growth.
Tomorrow, a colleague (@sskolfield) and I are going to walk a handful of our fellow faculty members through signing up for Twitter. I am expecting a mixed reaction, but overall am eagerly awaiting this process.
BYOPD: Build Your Own Professional Development
The landscape of professional development has changed. There is no one-size-fits-all professional development. Too often in my career have I sat in a professional development wondering how can I use this. By using Twitter, I can seek out PD opportunities which are most relevant to me. Simply by following topics and people who are in similar roles in education, I can build my own professional development network.
Being connected on Twitter and monitoring Tweets daily has opened my eyes to how helpful this simple tool can be for educators. The most common excuse for maintaining the status quo and not seeking out professional development needed to stay effective and competitive as an educator has been there is “no time.” Through the use of Twitter, educators can capitalize on the time of those they are following. If you follow a solid group of consistent tweeting educators, you should have a number of articles and other ideas related to your field upon logging on to your Twitter account.
There are many ways in which Twitter can be used for professional development. Being fairly new to Twitter as a professional, I have only experienced a few consistently.
- Make use of the Hashtags: Whether you follow #ipaded, #sschat or #edtech, make use of hashtags relevant to how you’d like to use Twitter. For myself as a tech-enabled social studies teacher, these have been three of the most relevant hashtags to follow (and post in). Check out the list of educational hashtags.
- Edudemic’s 2012 list of education hashtags
- 50 important educational hashtags with meeting times
- Teacher’s guide to educational hashtags
- Post consistently: The nature of Twitter’s functionality is it is user-generated. Therefore, to get your name out there and establish your presence. Tweet frequently. I’ve started trying to Tweet (or Retweet) daily. 90% of these have been tweeting an article I found inspiring, interesting or thought-provoking in some way.
- Establish a core group of people you follow: There are an ever-growing list of educators tweeting relevant material frequently. This can be overwhelming. My advice would be to first decide which topics you’d like to read tweets about and search those hashtags. Once there, begin following people who post frequently and relevantly (word?).
With Twitter, you can maximize your time and ensure that the professional development is tailor-made for your growth. Follow me on Twitter @ReichertMC. Feel free to leave a comment with your Twitter name.