In today’s social media-driven world, it can be a huge time suck to sort out the good from the bad. With so many “go to” sharing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn (just to name a few), one can be left wondering which is the most valuable of these for educators. We not only want something that is timely in it’s delivery, but also practical in its approach. And – if we’re lucky – content which is not only engaging, but that provides valuable insight on topics that matter to us.
So, with a little help from a few articles I just read on this topic like Teachers on Twitter: Why You Should Join and How to Get Started and Ten Reasons Teachers Should Give Twitter a Go, I have compiled a short list of reasons why you should join the hashtag craze:
Grow Your Personal Learning Network
Being confined to our classrooms day after day doesn’t allow for many opportunities to network with like minded individuals. Most days, we can barely squeeze in enough time to grab a quick lunch. Building a network of professionals with whom we can learn from seems like more of a dream than a reality. Well, until Twitter. Twitter is smart. Once you start to follow certain individuals, it filters and suggests others based on your choices. You soon find yourself amongst a large group of people who share similar ideas and insights. Or better yet, have differing views on topics that challenge your thinking and give you a fresh perspective.
Find and Share Resources
Need a resource or a teaching strategy but don’t have the time to develop it? Look no further! Jump onto Twitter and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that lives there already. A quick search will probably pull up something that fits your needs – and saves you a lot of time. Or, maybe you’re that teacher with so many great and practical ideas you want to help others seeking out that information. Twitter is a great place to do just that. Not only will people be appreciative of your help and insight, you will also gain followers who want more of what you’re dishing out. Before you know it, people will be retweeting your ideas and spreading that knowledge to hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of others!
Get Informed – and Fast!
I’ve always been a reader of those education books that give me practical information I can use right away to better my teaching practice (think Dave Burgess Consulting). When I find that time doesn’t allow for that, I get satisfaction by jumping on Twitter. It helps me to stay in touch with the latest and greatest trends in the education world. Not only that, I can usually find practical information from article by Edutopia or Cult of Pedagogy.
Attend Professional Development in Your PJs
Let’s be honest, professional development can be downright boring. But, I can think of two things that can change that perspective: Attending Blue Apple PD or choosing PD based on your interests and schedule. This is where I believe Twitter is hugely valuable – Twitter Chats. On just about every day of the week, educators from around the world can be found sharing ideas and bettering their practice together. Twitter Chats remind me of a staff break room on a global level where like-minded individuals gather to discuss hot topics in education – all while enjoying the comforts of home and, if you wish, in your comfiest attire.
Access More Mentors Than You’ll Ever Really Need
For the first several years of my teaching career, I leaned on my mentor teacher for so many things. She gave me reassurance when I had questions. The confidence when I needed it most, and insight into what really matters when we step into that classroom. I often think about how important mentors are for all of us willing to brave the teaching profession. We need a network of support and encouragement. The Twitter world provides this network of thousands of teachers who are ready and willing to share their ideas, insights, and expertise to help you be successful.
Ready to jump in but not sure where to start? Check out this article from teachingchannel.org.