Thursday, 24 November 2011

Twitterific!


Where should I begin on this topic? I have been gathering research in the past week or so in order to present Twitter to my staff as a professional learning tool. I know I have to approach this subject just so, because the world of my teachers has been full of complexities this year. With highly diverse needs in the classroom, new reporting systems to address and the beginnings of a Professional Learning Community framework, there is a "bit" of tension in the school. So the first blog I read was Mark Brumley's "Twitter for the Professional Development: Ultra Beginner Edition." His description here is a very basic, easy to understand piece that I will share with my staff. Also mentioned are Tweetdeck (which I have not yet used, but will check into).
Next, I found some rationale for joining Twitter. I know that my staff always require rationale for trying something new so this was a "must find." Peter DeWitt's article, "Why Educators Should Join Twitter" gives compelling reasons including:
1. the ability to make connections with other educators. For example, checking out the hashtag, #elemchat, will show educators from around the world posting information interesting to an elementary teacher. (I checked this out and found many, many interesting links to check out: just doing this alone is invaluable).
2. Our students today live with Twitter and Facebook. While this is "hard" work for us, we need to know the world our students live in.
3. Many organizations will share resources on Twitter that you may not find elsewhere.
4.There is so much out there in cyberspace that you could never find all of this on your own, so Twitter brings many resources to one place for professional development
5. Free PD. In this time of fiscal restraint, PD dollars are few. What a way to get PD for no money! Your administrator will love you!

Next, I found an article, "How to Use Twitter to Grow Your PLN" by Betty Ray This is a wonderful listing of hashtags to follow or search and chat times for a variety of topics. This is something I have yet to do but once this course is over, I may have time to do this.

Then, I found a short article, "5 Ways to Engage Others Using Twitter" by J. Robinson. This post gives suggestions of how to engage your readers without boring them with day to day details of "I went for lunch" or "I ate oatmeal for breakfast" because, really, who cares? I like the idea of answering a tweet with a question to keep the dialogue going or to post a thoughtful or provocative quote. Better yet, Robinson says to post about something controversial to get a conversation going.

Karen Bromley describes a new world of writing as "digital events that occur worldwide. They include word processing, email, blogging, twittering, and text messaging on the Internet, cell phones, smartphones, and PDA's" (2010, p. 98)

Clearly, educators need to get with the "program" so to speak and learn this fascinating world of Twitter, if not to understand the world of their students, but to glean valuable professional learning in less than 140 characters. My personal journey with Twitter has been ever so enlightening. I have learned SOOOOO much since reading my Twitter account on a regular basis. My two challenges or goals I set at this point are to:
a) get my staff on fire to set up Twitter accounts (I am presenting this on the 1st of December so I will fill you in)
b) begin to contribute to the Twitter world in order to give back a portion of what I have gained in the past months.


Bromley, K.. (2010). Picture a world without Pens, Pencils, and Paper: The Unanticipated Future of Reading and Writing. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 41(1), 97-108. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from CBCA Education. (Document ID:2195054781).

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