All right, I admit it. I am a Twitter-holic. As I check my Twitter feed these days, I’ve been thinking and reflecting: How did I get to this point in my professional growth using Twitter for PD? How could I learn so much on-line?
October 2011: I attended an educational technology conference, went to a “Twitter for PD” session, the presenter talked about PD a little. She spent most of the time telling us about how she had her students Tweet in class on iPod touches. I don’t get it.
The very next day, October 2011: I created a Twitter account and send my first Tweet to a friend. Played around with it a bit. Really did not understand how this was going to work for me. Followed my 21-year-old son and a few museums, a few people I knew. Twitter was not very exciting at this point.
All of 2012: I had a discussion with my son- so what is with this Twitter thing? I still don’t get it!!! He told me I could get local or world news more quickly on Twitter. Hmmm. I followed some local news stations. I used Twitter for news updates quite successfully through a few severe storms, which produced severe power outages we endured for many days, up to a week! Ok, I thought, maybe Twitter can be useful.
Early 2013: I really did not use or check Twitter at all. I thought it was probably a waste of my time.
March 2013. I was lucky enough to be one of fourteen teachers in my school to be given an iPad 2. And that is when I remembered something from that “Twitter for PD” session way back in 2011. Didn’t that presenter say that I could learn from others on Twitter? It was time to get online and figure out how I could actually do it.
Getting my own iPad also prompted me to start using the shared student iPad cart. My students used Wixie, an online, cloud based program to draw and save their drawings. We had to use this program because there was no other way to get student work off of the shared iPads. We were sharing devices that were not meant to be shared, and e-mail was disabled. I needed to research ways to remove student work easily. Why have students create something if they can’t get it off of the device?
Summer 2013: I looked for educational technology experts online and followed them on Twitter. I learned that effective technology integration is achieved when it supports curricular goals. I discovered how to create innovative lessons, increase student engagement, and mirror my iPad for demonstrations. This research work was like taking a technology integration class, for free, at my own pace.
Fall 2013-Now: After discovering how much I could learn on Twitter, I knew I needed to find more people to follow. I looked at the educators I was following: whom were they following and interacting with? Which hashtags were they using? I discovered the hashtags that I needed to find other educators with my interests:
#artsint = arts integration
#artsed = arts education
#edtech = educational technology
#HOTSchools = HOT Schools
The key to Twitter is finding the right hashtags to use and follow. Google “educational hashtags” to find the ones that interest you. Then go to Twitter.com/search, put them in the search box and see what comes up! You don’t even have to join Twitter to do this search. Access ideas connected to your professional interests; take ownership of your own learning. Experience differentiation as a learner.
Want to join me? Follow me at @atragg: let’s learn together, have discussions and challenge our thinking. But be careful: you may become addicted to learning on Twitter too!