8 years ago teaching a teacher, or professional development, was done just a few times a year. I can remember pre-planning, maybe 2 sessions during the year, and of course post-planning being used for professional development. As a new teacher in Special Education, this just didn’t seem like enough! I wanted someone to ask a question between training’s, someone to ask how everything works, or even just bounce ideas off of! I am not one to just give up, but there just didn’t seem to be an answer-until I found Twitter!
Twitter, as a teacher, is a game changer. PERIOD. I don’t know any other place where you can reach out to thousands of your “friends” with the click of a button and get nearly any question you have answered. Have a question about a product your school just bought? Tweet them. Wondering if there are other teachers struggling with the same idea? Tweet them. Just want to bounce an idea off of someone else? Tweet them! If you don’t know where to start, join a Twitter chat. Chatting on Twitter isn’t just about the tweet, it’s about building your professional learning network, the people who are there to become an even more amazing teacher just like you!
Twitter chat’s are held daily and are based off of a hashtag that you can click on and “join” a chat. They are held at specific times and hosted by people often in the format of Q1:A1. I will warn you that some of them move REALLY fast, for instance #tptchat. On any given Sunday evening at 8pm, there will be thousands (yes, you read that right) of teachers who sell products on Teachers Pay Teachers who get together and “chat” about a specific topic. This is an amazing opportunity to build your Professional Learning network and really gain knowledge and ask those questions.
Keeping up with a Twitter chat can become rather hectic, especially if you’re on your phone, the tweets can move really fast but I suggest joining anyway and just going with the flow. When using the Twitter app, just be sure you choose all tweets when viewing the hashtag/chat so that you can see all of the tweets being sent with the specific hashtag. If you’re on your computer, I suggest you use Tweetdeck. I stick to a column for your notifications, another for the hashtag/chat, and another for the host. With this set up, you’re able to see anywhere that people are chatting and stay up with the conversation.
Want to know another reason Twitter is important? It allows you to give people in your professional learning network something and really have a positive impact on the teaching world, outside of teaching in the classroom. For me that means joining Twitter chats and giving valuable input in the conversation with my peers. I don’t just go to “lurk”, but I go to give! This weekend, I had the opportunity to share one of my favorite tools with my twitter friends in the #satchatoc and to say it was shared would be an understatement! I mean, where else would nearly 4k of my friends be able to see something from ME in one single settting? ONLY. ON. TWITTER.
Twitter is a place where you can grow as a professional with no limits. In the Twitter world your Professional Learning Network (PLN) is an endless source of input and feedback. We can be reached at anytime & from various places around the world. Seriously, on a Saturday morning, I chat with #satchatOC (an Australia based chat), #satchatwc ( West Coast based chat) and of course #satchat (a US based chat). Twitter has given me a way to communicate with teachers around the world and just stay in the loop! No matter where you are in the teaching game, there is a chat out there for you. If they seem intimidating, don’t hesitate to start with the basics and just sit back and watch for awhile. In the meantime, get hold of the lingo and how you chat will naturally evolve. If you’re still nervous, there is a twitter chat #n2t2 on Saturday 830ET. You’re a Twitter Pro? There are countless chat’s that are out there for you and I’d love to know the ones you love and always reach back and grab a newbie. Come on, join me and making your Professional Learning Network an amazing place to grow, give, and have some fun.
Do you use Twitter? What is your favorite chat?