I remember when Twitter came out in 2006, I didn’t get it. Why did I care what people had for breakfast or which celebrity someone spied at the airport! The idea of reading people’s 140 character thoughts on random things held no appeal. A few years later I was at a conference and one of the speakers was raving about how Twitter had changed his professional life. He was pretty convincing, so I signed up for an account. Other than signing up, I didn’t do much with my Twitter account, I still wasn’t seeing the value. Fast forward a couple more years and I finally see the value of Twitter as a great professional development resource. I can’t say there was an aha moment, but working as an Instructional Technology Specialist, I don’t have a large team of colleagues in the same building doing the same job. Twitter allows me to connect with other individuals around the world in the educational technology field doing similar work.
The best professional development I have experienced has been through observing, talking with, and collaborating with colleagues. While I value the daily interactions with teachers within my school, what I can learn grows exponentially when I log into Twitter. The 140 character nuggets posted by teachers and leaders in the field often include an image, video or link that shares a practical tip, best practice, new technology, or engaging food for thought. The 10-15 minutes a day I spend on Twitter allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of educational technology, encourages me to try new tools, and inspires me to promote and encourage best practices integrating technology into classrooms.
I am by no means a Twitter expert, I’m pushing myself to move from consuming information to sharing ideas and seeking feedback. I think this is where the real power of Twitter can be found. We have a community at our fingertips that can challenge us to stretch our professional selves and provide rich meaningful just-in-time professional development over time. I also think that once we recognize the value of Twitter in our professional lives and build comfort using it for PD, it is a natural leap to think about the power of using Twitter as a tool in our classrooms.
Want to Learn More?
- What the Heck is Twitter?
- The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter
- Twitter for Teachers – find others to follow
- 25 Ways Twitter Can Help You in Your Teaching
Follow me on Twitter @aimmcalpine.