Are You Ready to Use Twitter for Personalized PD?

Summer is the time when educators reflect and recharge.

For most, the pace slows and allows time for thinking and planning, looking forward to the next school year.  Many teachers engage in different types of personalized professional development, but the best (and most accessible) personalized PD is actually as close as your phone or your laptop - it’s Twitter!

Here’s an easy way to begin or continue your own Twitter journey by building a network and finding new ideas and inspiration. It’s time to get started!

1.) Open a Twitter Account

It’s easy to do and will take only a few minutes to get started. Choose a screen name, write an engaging bio, and add a picture (no one will interact with you if your picture is an egghead), and you'll be ready to go. For a step-by-step guide to setting up your first Twitter account: click here.

2.) Start Searching Hashtags

A few favorites are #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate), #MTBoS (Math Twitter BlogoSphere), #Edtechteam, and #GAFESummit. These Tweeters share common interests and use a common hashtag to connect and broadcast their ideas.  Explore a few and see what you can learn.  As you look through the hashtag, follow people who are tweeting about topics that interest you. For a comprehensive guide to the most popular education hashtags: click here.

3.) Connect with Influencers

Have you read any inspiring education books lately?  Since the author is most likely using Twitter, you can search for the author’s name or the book title.  Look up the Twitter accounts for organizations that interest you such as NCTM or ASCD.  Follow them and then look to see who they are following or who is following them.  You can build a network that way too as you read content from these professionals.

4.) Participate in Chats

Many live chats occur during the course of a week or month as people who share interests gather in real time to discuss topics. They typically use a hashtag and respond to prepared questions. Twitter chats are fabulous places to interact and meet new friends and build your personal learning network (PLN). For a complete schedule of all education-related Twitter chats: click here.

5.) Attend Education Conferences from Home

Looking to attend an education conference without traveling? Conference-specific hashtags allow you to attend virtually!  During a conference, follow the hashtag (for example #ISTE17 or #NCTM17) and see what the attendees are tweeting.  Many times there are links to presentations that you can access in real time, allowing you can to interact with attendees and presenters as if you are there.  

6.) Build Your PLN

Twitter is the place where you will find your tribe, your inspiration, and your new ideas. Having the power to choose the people and sites you’d like to learn from, you can find like-minded friends and new resources for personalized professional development.  After a few weeks, you will wonder why you haven’t tried this earlier!

Jump in!  Get started.  PD on Twitter is available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. You decide how you will you use it and what you can learn.  You won’t be sorry!

By Mary Kienstra

Mary’s goal is to take the curriculum and shake it up, creating lessons that will engage and excite her students. She takes an unconventional approach to teaching, always encouraging student enthusiasm and excitement.  She believes that learning is best when it’s part of an experience, not a worksheet.  Mary’s career includes teaching math and reading to elementary age students, coaching, and blogging at www.marykienstra.com.  

 
 

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