Twitter - An Educator's Dream PLN
Written by Lynda Hall Hits: 8402
Submitted by Lynda Hall - Social Studies/English Educator From Kamloops, British Columbia
In recent weeks there have been numerous commentaries championing the benefits of Twitter for educators. I would like to take the opportunity to personally echo those sentiments based on my own experiences.
It has been two years now since I opened a Twitter account. However, I did not take full advantage of the opportunities Twitter offered until recently. The turning point was last December when I received a smartphone as a Christmas gift. Since then, it has been an absolutely amazing experience. The difference? Having a smartphone has allowed me to 'check in' on a more regular basis which has made my connections on Twitter more personal and as a result, more rewarding. The sense of community with like-minded individuals who share the same passion for education as I do is incredibly powerful and motivating. In fact, not only do I feel more valued, but more importantly, I feel empowered. As each day goes by, my confidence continues to grow to the point where I am much more willing to share with others my ideas and opinions on a wide range of educational topics. Believe it or not, aside from the aforementioned benefits, Twitter has actually given me something of even greater value.
The single greatest thing Twitter has given me is another opportunity to continue my love for learning.
Honestly, I can not express enough, how much I love to learn. I know it may sound corny, but I absolutely love the challenge of learning something new. In fact, my students have embraced this idea and have taken great pride in teaching me new things. If that is not a win-win situation, I do not know what is!
As a result of my Twitter connections, I have been introduced to some fantastic people and resources. Below are links for a small sampling of the educational resources I find incredibly helpful:
http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.ca/ - Lisa Nielsen
http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/ - Tom Whitby
http://cybraryman.com/ - Jerry Blumengarten
In addition to learning new things, Twitter has presented me with some special opportunities. Please click on the links below to view a few examples of the opportunities I have enjoyed in recent weeks.
1. Guest writer for 'Free Technology for Teachers' - Richard Byrne
2. Feature writer for 'TeacherCast' - Jeffery Bradbury
3. Interview for 'GlogsterEDU'
Another awesome feature of Twitter that I have taken full advantage of is to participate in chats. To be able to discuss in real time current educational issues with others from around the world is invigorating. The exchanging of, reflecting on and challenging of ideas for the purpose of improving the educational system and our own teaching practices is very energizing. The Twitter Chats I like to participate in are as follows:
#engchat - Monday 7 pm EST
#edchat - Tuesday Noon and 7 pm EST
#ptchat - Wednesday 9 pm EST
#edblogs - Thursday 8 pm EST
Needless to say, the advantages Twitter offers educators are enormous. However, to maximize the full benefit of any social media application, one must create and share their own content. It is important to take an active part in the sharing of content, ideas and opinions because in order to truly feel a part of the educational community and thus expand our pedagogical practices and philosophies, one must put themselves out there. It can be intimidating but you just have to do it! 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blog is my contribution to the already vast wealth of educational resources available on the internet. I certainly hope that you find as much value in the content found here as I find in the information I find via Twitter.
As a result of the new connections and resources I have come in contact with via Twitter, I have embarked on an incredible journey the past few months. It is absolutely amazing the opportunities that have been directed my way. If you have not already, I strongly encourage you to sign up for a Twitter account. I am confident that your experience will be a rewarding one.