In January of this year I made myself a second twitter account. My first one was a personal one, used to follow celebrities and football players. My new one was to be my professional one, an account to improve my teaching and get new ideas from around the world. 6 months, 300 followers and 450 tweets later it’s safe to say that I’m addicted. I have made connections with teachers from around the world and I share any ideas, and my blog posts, through the twittersphere. I can track projects other teachers are running, and stay ahead of the game with government changes and plans (very useful as an ICT teacher). For any teacher who don’t use twitter, or need help convincing other to use it, have a look at how it has helped me:
- Professional Connections – Through Following other professionals, teachers and education companies I have networked and got to know so many people. I have links all around the country as well as Bradford, and I can share my ideas with them in an instant. In my local area we also have a Professional Skills working group where we regularly meet to share curriculum ideas, for this we also created a hashtag for us to keep the connection going on twitter.
- CPD training – If I ever have any issues, or any confusion over anything I have to teach I simply take to twitter. There will always be someone there to help! Always! If you want to start a project in your school and have some reservations about how to go about it have a look on twitter. You can guarantee someone has tried it, thought about it, or done it somewhere.
- Work Life Balance – One of the main reason I have become addicted to twitter is that it’s fun! It provides me with an escape from the world of lesson plans and assessment. I get to speak with like-minded teachers during the day. Being a specialist teacher can be a lonely job in a primary school. You are the department, just you. Twitter allows me to thrash out ideas, share my thoughts, and vent when I really need it!
- Resource Sharing – I have previously shared my teaching resources with others through the TES website, but Twitter gave me another outlet. I can share anything from small teaching tips, to full schemes of work. It works both ways too, if I’m stuck from a resource give it a search.
- Make sure you #Hashtag! – Hashtagging is basically adding a link to your tweet, so that you can connect with others tweeting the same thing. Great if you want to search a topic of word. Some useful hashtags to search for and save are:
#Edtech – anything to do with technology in the classroom
#education – anything to do with education
#elearning – mostly about computer based learning
#teachers – focuses on the teacher
#edchat – a weekly and lively discussion about all things education
#teachmeet – connecting teachers
#ukedchat – UK teacher chat
#gct – Google certified teachers
#ednews – news feed
- Discussion and Debate – Every Thursday from 8pm to 9pm is the fast-paced #ukedchat discussion where a question or issue will be posed by the host, with contributors offering their thoughts, experiences and resources by tweeting, and including the hashtag #ukedchat in their tweets. Topics of debate are voted for during the week before each debate so that users have an influence on what is discussed.
So that’s how I use have used Twitter, and how it has had an influence on me as a teacher. I would love to start using it the classroom with pupils, but I have too many safeguarding shaped hoops to jump through. Has anyone used it with pupils? If you know a teacher who you think would benefit from using Twitter please pass this on to them. Enjoy.