Twitter – Evolved Teacher PD, Teacher Communication Tool
Posted by Phil Young
I have always been one to check out everything, or at least sign up for everything I might at one point find useful. I also have a thing about getting the user name I want. This was also the situation when in signed up for Twitter back in July of 2010. Though at that time I was years behind the crowd fleeing Facebook and joining the next evolution of Social Media. Facebook was always a way to connect with those whom you lost touch with, to revisit ones past and to share with family near and far what was happening in your life. Rarely was it able to capture what was happening around the globe and present it in a refined concise manner. Twitter on the other hand was providing people with a means of following what was happening to others 140 characters at a time. And this is what drew me to Twitter. I always found myself online, reading the latest; local, Canadian and global newsworthy stories from a countless number of online sources from my local paper (The Hamilton Spectator) to the CBC and CNN for my global news. Twitter gave me the ability to bring all of these sources into one tool where I could hear about the stories as they were shared, at least I thought that it would. What I didn’t realize was that Twitter rolled meaning that as new “Tweets” were shared the old were shoved off. I was now missing key events that were not being “retweeted” or re-shared. Twitter was frustrating to say the least. I had an account, I followed others, but I didn’t get how it worked. I put Twitter to the side.
A year or so passed and my interest in Twitter resurfaced. I cannot recall what brought my attention back to the Twitterverse but I can now say that Twitter makes much sense than what it originally did back in July of 2010. I now get how to find those missed posts, I use my internet browser to access a web-based version when sitting in front of my laptop, I use an app-based version from my phone and find myself following and contributing to the fast-paced 140 character world of Twitter.
Twitter has provided me with an environment for observing, sharing and learning. As an educator Twitter as provided much for the evolution of my teaching practices. A typical PD session in past was delivered by an individual or small group to few or many that attended. They reminded me of the many university lectures that I sat in on, the difference being that most PD occurs over a 1 or 2-hour session and then you are left to take from it what you can and try to work it into your teaching practices. Twitter has taken the traditional single session PD and evolved it with the allowance for continual connection with the experts.
I have also taken a new approach in the communication front. The thought is to give our families and community an outside look at what is happening on the inside in the classrooms of their children. I have been inspired to do so because of colleagues in education who have provide that look inside for my wife and I. As teachers we would likely have little opportunity to see what is happening inside the classrooms of our daughter and eventually our son. But with a tool like twitter and educators like @ and @ we were able to catch a glimpse of what our daughter experienced in her first year of school. WE can’t thank them enough. So my journey to connect our classrooms and students with the families continues with the goal of building a stronger learning community.
Twitter, it can be a daunting environment, mind-boggling to those unfamiliar, but with a little willingness to take a risk, it can bring great reward. Give it a try.