One of the many benefits of an Edufolio is the ability to quickly and easily connect it up to your social media networks. Those networks afford so many opportunities for collegial growth and sharing that they are often an important part of our learning and development as a teacher. We have the option to add a live twitter stream to the side bar of your site and of course, you can add links to all of the other social networks in your navigation bar. In this post we want to talk a little more about Twitter and the benefits of becoming a “Tweacher”. Did you know that you can use your tweets as evidence of PD? That you can write about the conversations you have on Social Media in a post and reflect on them in your Edufolio? Even if you’ve already been on twitter a while, read on… There might be a tip (or two) in here that can help you grow your network even further!
Back in 2012 (when I was heavily pregnant) AITSL asked me to make a teacher feature video for them about how social media had influenced my professional practice. Honestly, my practices with Social media (and video making) have developed a lot since then but… it still remains one of the most watched teacher features and, in the context of this post, is worth a share.
I don’t know what key ideas will have stuck in your mind about social media and professional development from watching that but, i hope, you can at least see the opportunities it affords us to share and learn with others. My small, local school network has since expanded. On twitter, I now follow nearly 2000 people and have over 3,000 follow me. I can not tell you how much I’ve learnt as a result. Social media has become an essential part of my Professional Learning Network (PLN) and I wouldn’t be without it. Perhaps, the most used of my networks is Twitter. Twitter is many things to many people. To educators, it’s a space for networking, asking questions, sharing resources and learning.
How do I get an account?
A while ago I set up this FREE online course to help teachers get started with Twitter. In it I cover things like:
- how to create an account
- how to follow people (and what that means)
- and how to set up your identity within it.
Now, of course any time you take to complete that PD can be counted towards your PD Hours and the reflective post you create afterwards in which you discuss what you’ve learnt and how you’re going to apply it is worth even more 😉
You might already be aware that, within twitter, people use hashtags. These hashtags allow us to aggregate our tweets into channels of information. For example, If someone adds #ipadchat to their tweet then I can search for #ipadchat through twitter and instantly see thousands of conversations on that subject. There are people sharing app suggestions, lesson ideas, tutorials and more. It’s a rich resource, a one stop shop for professional development and colleagial conversation. Why not try some of these other #tag suggestions:
The wonderful thing about twitter is that it’s global. Conversation never ends, there is always someone on line from somewhere in the world. The Education Chats calendar uses #tags to enable live, real time conversations on a subject. Twitter chats can take many forms but, usually, someone leads by asking 4/5 questions and then those following the #tag at the designated time answer and respond to each other accordingly. When it’s time for each question, the moderator will pose it separately and then everyone will reply using the #tag for the thread. So, if I want to answer question 1, I simply start my tweet with “A1” and make sure I’ve included the chat’s #tag in my answer.
There is even a fabulous resource which tells you when these educational twitter chats are going to happen. Check out the Education Chat Calendar and find your global conversation right now!
Another way a #tag can be used is as a back channel. As I said in the video at the top of this post, one of the most valuable ways I use Twitter is to follow the conversations that are happening during professional development or conferences. Whilst at an event use the hashtag and you’ll see what people are tweeting about. This can be a great way to experience the learning without needing to physically attend the event. #edutechau is one of the best examples you’ll see of this. Thousands of teacher meet at that conference and even more tweet about it. We even have a #tag for Edufolios which you are welcome to use when talking about your folio or how you’re using it 🙂
Twitter Counts and is Encouraged!
Here in South Australia, the department for Education openly encourage educators to engage in the use of Social Media. In their Social Media Policy DECD write that their intention is to.
“…establish a culture of transparency, trust and integrity in social media activities and to encourage the integration of social media into our teaching and learning environments.” DECD Social Media Policy
In fact, engaging in Social Media, as a professional is not only a great way to cover standard 7.4 but it also helps you to get to grips with operating ICT using the correct social and ethical protocols and practices (which, of course, is 4.5). The Teacher Registration board also acknowledged in their recent report “The Professional Learning Project” that teachers are using Twitter as a means of evidencing their PD attendance. It really is a great way to extend your learning opportunities and deepen your understanding of the outcomes from your PD.
Do you have any tips to share with us about how to use Twitter as or for PD? What are we missing?