We hear stories of how people opened up Twitter accounts, did not see the purpose, and soon after lost interest altogether and gave up on it as a professional learning vehicle. But for many other educators who manage to stay the course, Twitter becomes their “go to” tool for connectivity (Whitaker, Zoul, Casas, 4).
“What Connected Educators Do Differently”
It has been one of the biggest challenges for me the last few years. One that does not directly involve students, but rather my fellow teachers and administrators, and it centers around Twitter and the quote above. How do we help our colleagues stay the course when it comes to using Twitter? For me, Twitter has been a game changer when it comes to my professional growth as an educator since it was introduced to me by Ann Feldmann (@annfeldmann1), Brent Catlett (@catlett1), and Jenny Krzystowczy (@jennyktechin).
In one of my first blog posts two years ago I wrote about how Twitter is “My Personal Professional Development.” During the past couple of years I have talked to my colleagues about the influence Twitter has had on my teaching. Last year I presented to teachers and administrators on the power of Twitter, talking to them about Twitter basics, using tools like Tweetdeck, how to use hashtags, and ways to leverage Twitter to form a professional learning network. In my new role as a tech integrationist my team integrates Twitter into almost everything we do when working with our staff.
So how do we keep teachers more engaged on Twitter to help them get over the hump to the point when using Twitter becomes part of their routine. The easy part is getting teachers setup with a Twitter account. They will begin following people and may even check out some of the Twitter hashtags. However, many teachers and administrators fail to stay engaged and continue to utilize it on an ongoing basis.
As I reflect on my own journey to becoming a connected educator I can completely relate. At first I didn’t see the need for Twitter, but eventually created an account. I then began following a few people, but I still didn’t see the point early on, however, things began to change as I continued to use Twitter on a daily basis, began following more educators, and started taking advantage of hashtags. Through this process I began to understand why it was something I needed to consistently be using.
The only way I can describe it is that its a process. Although I want people to see the light immediately it just doesn’t happen that way. People have to discover it for themselves. However, I can say that one of the most important parts of the process is simply going to Twitter and making it a part of your routine. Without investing some time and energy there will be nothing to gain in return. The gain comes in the form of inspiration, new ideas, resources, tools, and best of all becoming part of an amazing and global community of educators. Therefore, although it is a challenge to help educators see the light, it is definitely worth the effort.
If you have strategies or ideas on how to help teachers see the power of Twitter I encourage you to leave a comment and share. Let’s get a conversation going to help get more educators connected and working together.