Developing Professionally with Twitter

I know, the title alone is enough to possibly scare you off, but bear with me on this one and don’t stop reading because you saw the dreaded ‘T’ word in the title of the post. Many people reading this post might be scared to dip their toe into the Twitter pond, but I assure you it is not nearly as frightening as you have made it out to be in your mind. Before I go any further, it is important to note that there is a completely different side to Twitter than celebrity posts and athletes trash talking one another; a side that brings educators from all over the country and the world together into a global network of professionals.

The question that I often get from teachers in regards to Twitter is, “Why should I use it?” This is a simple, yet great question, unfortunately the answer to this question is not nearly as simple. The video below (quite long at 22 minutes) begins with the reason, the factory model of school no longer meets the needs of society.

Personalization is trending considerably in the education community. This process, however, requires considerable training. Professional development, in the way that it has been run for many years, instructs in a way that the video notes is outdated. The reality is that PD does not reach the needs of many of the teachers taking the course since everybody starts from a different point.

Twitter Replacing Traditional Professional Development

Enter Twitter and personalized Professional Learning Networks (PLN’s). By joining Twitter and following other dedicated individuals with similar needs and interests, a pool of knowledge and innovation can be created with a collective intelligence must greater than any one individual.

The problem of getting started on Twitter still persists however. Linked below is a great Google Doc that has been put by Janet Neyer (@JanetNeyer), a Michigan teacher that I have connected with on Twitter. The doc introduces Twitter as a tool and prepares a teacher for breaking into the social media giant for the purposes of PD.

Twitter for Teachers

There is a great wealth of expertise, innovation, ideas, and resources out there. Finding those resources is a time-intensive process and knowing where to look is essential for continued success. By using Twitter, teachers can maximize their time and effort in finding the type of professional development that they need.

Let’s have a discussion, leave your comments below.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is preventing you from using Twitter?
  2. How do you find resources right now?
  3. What are your general thoughts on the articles and post?


Filed under education, Uncategorized

15 responses to “Developing Professionally with Twitter

  1. Danna

    I LOVE Twitter for my PERSONAL life but have not reached out to the social networking site for education. I am skeptical because I don’t think many of my students have a Twitter account, and I realize that it is a FREE and EASY download.

    My main issue is that I give up too easily on what I consider to be “good ideas.” For example, this fall I wanted to blog with my students every week about math; what we did in class, something they learned, applying it to “real world” etc. After two or three posts, students STOPPED. Which, instead of marking them down in points, I stopped assigning them.

    I am afraid that if I attempt Twitter it will be a similar situation … How can I relate it to Math class other than post videos of students problem-solving, student made work, and assignments. Or are those good enough posts to keep students WANTING to log in?

    • Using twitter as a pd tool does not involve students directly. It is a guide for your own development which you can find ideas from and then use with your students.

  2. Kimberly Shonk

    I am a sporatic Twit; that is I use Twitter when I think of it and have a minute to read something other than student writing. Professionally, I have one piece of advice–follow Kevin Miller. Kevin, the Sup at Cros-Lex, and some of you may remember him from this building, has very insightful and helpful posts (amongst the occasional comments on Cros-Lex athletic accomplishments). Other than that College Humor and Uber Facts are the brain candy that brings me back until some other budding Glasser takes to Twitter.

  3. Laura McDonell

    I was on twitter for a very short time, and then stopped a few years ago. I never did very much with it. I see so many more options here. Seems like a cool and effective way to do professional developement. I love using Edmodo in the classroom with students and the professional groups on it to get ideas, so this sounds like a good fit for me as well. The video is very interesting so far. I am about half way through- makes a lot of sense that we have to change things.

    • I like pairing Twitter with a read later app (I use Pocket). That way I can take 30 minutes and save 5-10 articles later to one location and then read about them later. It is interesting to see some of the great ideas out there and one just leads to another…down the rabbit hole we go.

      • Laura McDonell

        Good idea. I was going to ask you how to you keep up on all of these things! It is a neat way to keep your mind thinking. There are some really good tweets out there in the professional world. I saw one last night that made an impression on me- treat every student as if he or she is gifted.

      • Keeping up is a challenge, but education is my passion and spending time with it is enjoyable. With that being said, I think my wife would like to see me slow down the multi tasking and relax every once and awhile.

        Great line on treating students as gifted. Raise the bar of expectations and you will always be impressed with the results.

  4. June

    Very Well stated Mr. Ming. Pushing Twitter here at LHS.

  5. Laura McDonell

    One question- what if students wish to follow you.. or are on it themselves? How do you make sure to keep the professional distance needed (not that I am positing anything that they cannot read) but I am not sure I should see everything that they might post.

    • I don’t worry so much about students following me since I only post education-relevant material on Twitter. The students that do follow me tend to get bored by the material that I post and therefore end up not following me any longer. One of the nice differences about Twitter compared to other social media is that you won’t see the content posted by students unless you choose to follow that student. It is possible that a student will follow you and see what you post and you choose not to follow them and not see what they post. Another thing you may choose to do is change your settings in Twitter so that you have to approve anyone who wants to follow you. Some food for thought.

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