Monday 25 August 2014

What I have learnt from Twitter this Summer.

As the summer comes to and end, I have started to reflect about how I have used Twitter this summer and what I have learnt from using it.

This summer I have been the most active on Twitter that I have ever been. I have taken parts in chats such as #ukedchat and #aussieED chat. I have had discussions with people, not always agreeing but, hey, that's sometimes the nature of discussions. I have followed links people have posted, I have read blogs that interest me. Also, I have built up my network of followers and followees. So what have I learnt?

1. What a great source of CPD Twitter can be.
Twitter has helped to bring me bang up to date with what is happening in Education at the moment. This includes new practices that are popular and/or becoming so. Through helpful folk, I have been able to deepen my understanding of some of these practices. The major change (and challenge) presented by the new curriculum is one that I will admit, I am a little apprehensive about. I found lots of useful information and resources out there in the Twitterverse. For example, the excellent bank of resources produced by @MichealT1979. For my own role especially I have found schemes of work that other people have worked hard to produce and then shared for free. Obviously, Twitter comes with a health warning - not all the CPD advice on Twitter is sound, it is important to reflect on what you are told to decide whether you will find it useful.

2. You can find an answer to pretty much any questions you have.
As I have built up my personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter, I have been able to tweet a question or ask for advice on a particular teaching issue. Very quickly, reposes come in from experienced teachers, sometimes with links to useful resources or suggestions for people to contact or follow. This works both ways of course. If a person I follow tweets a questions then I will endeavour to answer if I am able. If you are teaching any concept, there will be most likely be someone in your PLN who can suggest a resources or website or person to follow to help you deliver that concept.

3. Twitter Chats are a great way to quickly learn about how other teachers operate.
The first chat I joined was #aussieEd chat on the recommendation of @grahamandre. This is a chat organised by Australian teachers that involves teachers from all over the world. At first, the pace of the chat was a bit too manic for me and I found myself wondering whether I could keep up. Using Tweetdeck helped. Through these chats I have discovered some excellent ideas that I can use in the classroom. It is also interesting to see other teachers' viewpoints on ideas that you have, to see whether others think they will work! Finally, chats are a good way to build up your PLNand make connections that could be very useful in the future.

4. Teachers' Blogs are a good way to challenge your thinking and read informed thinking on a range of education issues.
I once went on a training course where they suggested (nay, insisted) that we blogged. At the time, I wasn't sure I liked the idea of sharing my personal thoughts in the public domain. However, as I began my journey into Twitter, I soon realised that blogging could be very useful both for me to gather my musings and to read about the thoughts and ideas of others. This summer I have read many thought-provoking blogs such as @LearningSpy by the excellent David Didau, the blog of secondary English teacher, @JamesTheo (James Theobald), @webofsubstance (Harry Webb) and @WatsEd which is a blog full of very useful ideas. Through these you will probably find links or references to other useful blogs.

I have enjoyed using Twitter this summer and just hope that I have time to use it in the same way once the pressures of work increase from September.

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