Teachers who Tweet: Using Twitter for Professional Learning
Have you ever watched a video online on YouTube, read a Facebook post, followed someone on Twitter or been inspired by a classroom idea or project you saw on Instagram which helped you learn something new? Well you have just participated in Networked Participatory Scholarship (NPS). NPS is a culture of sharing and learning from peers, colleagues and others, as mediated by social media. Researchers Velantsanios & Kimmons first defined the idea of NPS in 2012, where they articulated it as learning through social and digital media tools. For educators, using social and digital media tools establishes a platform for educators to learn from other educators and establish Professional Learning Networks. Twitter is a nice example of a social and digital media tool used as an accessible tool for teachers professional learning. But how can teachers best use social media for learning? Networking and professional reputation?
Followers: Twitter for Networking and Collaborating
Teachers can use social media open for online collaboration to promote knowledge building through ‘peeragogy’ or learning from peers and ‘paragogy’ learning using digital learning environments. Social media can be likened to a sketchpad for teachers. Twitter chats are great examples of how social media can be used for ‘peeragogy’ and ‘paragogy’.
What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is a group of Twitter users who meet online on Twitter, to chat in real time about a certain topic. Someone hosts it and poses questions or discussion topics around a theme or idea using a hashtag. Participants respond to questions or the discussion topic using the hashtag, where a live conversation follows. Here conversations are fluid and in real time, enabling ideas to grow and thrive with input from educators world-wide. Similarly, through Twitter chats, teachers can foster global connections, develop their Personal Learning Networks for their professional learning, and foster their professional knowledge networks for developing practices and even for collaborating on projects:
5 'must follow' Twitter Chats:
Official chat of the International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE). The ISTE chat offers amazing connections and ideas with amazing educators from all around the world. Many of the ideas discussed in the chat are innovative research based practices which can
Weekly chat bringing together educators from across the world to discuss all things education and technology. Topics and ideas discussed on the chat are truly innovative, practical and applicable in classroom settings.
This hour long chat is filled with stories of classroom trial and errors across a broad range of of educational topics.
A fantastic chat on all things STEM, STEAM. Each week the chat revolves around a different aspect of STEM teaching and learning, using real world classroom examples. The chat is hosted by different experts and educators from across the world and Australia.
A connection of creative and fun educators who chat about the awesome things they do, have seen or want to do in their classrooms. The chat is inspired by the best selling David Burgess book 'Teach Like a Pirate', and this chat sure inspires you to walk the plank and change how you teach.
5 Tips for Taking Part in Twitter Chats
1. Start by lurking. Its ok to lurk, especially if you are new to Twitter chats and want to get the lay of the land before jumping in. This will give you an idea of the flow of the chat and the format of responses.
2. Join in the fun. When you fell ready jump in and start responding - likes, retweets and tweets. Participating in a Twitter chats are the best way to forge connections and connect with educators globally - adding to your PLN.
4. Don't forget the '#'. Always use the hashtag of the chat as part of your responses. If you don't use the #, then your response will not appear as part of the chat.
3. Tools are your friend. Tools and Apps like Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite will help you manage your chat. These tools will help you keep up with the fluid flow of the chat as well as in planning your responses.
5. Review Twitter chats. Most twitter chats include summary's after they have concluded . These are shared by the chat hosts using the # on the chat and are a fantastic way to go over the chat content and pick up on things missed or on follow up on any leads from the chat.
Twitter chats are effective and fun tools for time and resource poor K-6 educators face in acquiring professional learning but also in fostering global connections and developing global professional networks.