When I started using Twitter last October, I really had no idea about the power it had to make me a better instructional technology specialist. I work with 6 great, highly talented individuals in our district’s instructional technology department. I can always go to any of them and get feedback about how to best assist a teacher, get editing suggestions on a new handout I’ve created, or just offer a new perspective.
Then I slowly began to realize that, “Wow! There’s a lot of EdTech folks on Twitter!” I found many of the more widely known leaders in EdTech such as Tony Vincent, David Warlick, and Larry Ferlazzo had a large presence on Twitter already and immeidately began to follow their updates. Very quickly I was receiving news on edtech initiatives in other districts, learning about best practices, and was being exposed to countless new online resources.
My first thoughts quickly went to, “I really wish I had this kind of professional learning network when I was getting my undergrad degrees.” I mean, just look at the amount of practical, current, and highly relevant information that a pre-service teacher can obtain almost instantly! I see it happen on Twitter every day to hundreds of K-12 educators across the globe that make up my PLN. I keep my Twitter use professional, which pretty much everyone I follow and everyone that follows me does too. Am I so professional that I won’t make a humorous comment now and then (or at least attempt to)? No way! We all take our “mental vacations” on Twitter now and then to dish out a bit of sarcasm or share a funny link. I believe it helps us be even better at what we do when it comes time to refocus and get back down to business.
If you know someone in college that is an aspiring K-12 teacher, encourage them to get on Twitter and begin building a PLN of educators in the same content area. There are loads of online resources to help a teacher find other teachers on Twitter. One such resource is a wiki called Twitter4Teachers.
It’s great to see higher ed edtech teachers such as Tom Whitby require his students to understand the power of a PLN and I’ll gladly follow any of his students that are using it.
I would like to thank everyone in my PLN for the resources they’ve shared, successes, failures, and recommendations about the ever-changing world of EdTech. I am humbled as my number of followers continues to grow, which just hit 800 yesterday!
I wanted to make my 1000th tweet meaningful and of substance. I don’t plan on posting to this site every day but when I do I want it to be worthwhile time spent for anyone that decides to read it.
Bottom line: Twitter rocks!! If you’re a teacher, use it to your advantage! You won’t be disappointed!