Saturday 2 August 2014

How Twitter Has Changed My (Professional) Life.

I joined Twitter in 2010 but never really did anything with it. My interest was sparked when a couple of colleagues mentioned that it was useful for teachers. I had just discovered the Literacy Shed at the time and had long been an admirer of the work of Alan Peat. These two people were among the first that I followed. It led to some interesting conversations with Rob (Literacy Shed). Through Rob I came across Mat Sullivan (@InspiredMind5) and Lee Parkinson(@ICT_MrP). I began to use some of Lee and Mat's ideas in my classroom with impressive results.

Then, in January of this year, I attended the Literacy Shed conference. There was a Twitter feed displayed where teachers were commenting about the conference in real time. Also, Lee Parkinson talked about Twitter in his presentation. This made me think that I needed to get more involved with Twitter.

Through the people I was already following, I began to build up a network of people whose ideas and opinions I respected. Some of them have since become friends. I began to look to Twitter more and more for lesson ideas and started to share some of my own thoughts and classroom practices on Twitter. As my confidence in using Twitter grew, I felt able to give advice to others about topics I felt confident with. This led to a conversation with Alan Peat which in turn led to me being able to contribute to his Pupil Version of Exciting Sentences App (see earlier post). A year ago, I would never have imagined that I would be working with someone who I admired so much.

Having met Rob Smith (creator of The Literacy Shed) over a few drinks with Dr Richard Farrow, I was delighted to be offered the chance to become a 'Sheditor' on the Literacy Shed. This again, came about through a conversation with Rob and a few others on Twitter one evening. I now edit two sheds on the website (Retro Shed and Advert Shed). All the time, my network of followers and people I follow was building.

Through Rob, I also got in contact with Graham Andre who is the creator of The Mathematics Shed. He is regularly involved in education chats that occur weekly on Twitter. Once I started joining these chats, I was hooked. I obtained lots of great ideas and found new people to follow from all over the world!

In the last week, I have been asked by David Didau (author of The Secret of Literacy) to help coordinate a non-profit ebook about his concept of Slow Writing. This has led to me engaging with even more teachers on Twitter and hopefully will lead to having my name in print which is a dream of mine.

It has been a very exciting time and I can't wait to see what the next year will bring. Twitter is an fantastic resource for teachers. If you are a teacher who is new to Twitter, here are some key people to follow to get your started on your Twitter journey. You won't regret it.

1. @alanpeat
2. @redgierob
3. @MichaelT1979
4. @SLTchat
5. @WatsEd
6. @LearningSpy
7. @goodman_ang (my wife - had to put her on the list!)
8. @ICT_MrP
9. @grahamandre
10. @InspiredMind5
11. @FarrowMr
12. @gazneedle

There are many more - take a look at who I follow.

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