Enthusiasm is highest in those who are learning and achieving. As an administrator, I learn something everyday. Learning for me occurs through study and experience. I learn best when I can combine experience with reading, writing, and discussion. Twitter is one of the tools that allows this to happen for me. This is because I can use Twitter not only to find information and resources, but also to share information and resources. The emphasis here is on SHARE. I use Twitter to CONNECT with other educators and WE share. I am a CONNECTED educator.

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The traditional teacher network consisted mostly of information that was consumed. The information flowed one way. Educators used print and digital media, popular media, and curriculum documents to consume information. That has changed.

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The traditional teacher network. Source: George Couros

We must now be connected educators. Information flows two ways. We consume and create. Our ability to learn about and leverage these tools presses us on to becoming digital leaders. Recently, I have used Google Hangout to collaborate with colleagues; used Kaltura to post videos to a BlackBoard course for our faculty to use; and used iMovie, PicMonkey, and Canva to create a presentation to use during our District Teacher Choice Professional Development day during Inservice (my presentation was on using Twitter). I will tweet images that I created for the presentation as well as use the audio from the iMovie for a podcast. I will post all of this in my Blog.

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The Networked Teacher Source: George Couros

Twitter is a powerful tool for a connected educator. My use of twitter has helped me develop as a digital leader. It has connected me to other educational professionals and lead me to try things that I really never thought I would. It has allowed me to take risks and try new things and grow as a professional. Just a couple of years ago, I would have never thought that I would be blogging, podcasting, creating videos, and sharing all of that via twitter.

So, WHY use twitter?

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Twitter should not be something that you use because it is “shiny” and “cool.” Don’t get me wrong; I think Twitter is cool. However, that is not why I use it. Educators do not have time to spend on cool things unless that “cool” thing happens to be helpful. Twitter has proven itself to be helpful for educators. Twitter is an educational tool that should be judged on its usefulness for the educator’s overall process of continuous improvement. I believe that Twitter scores high in that area. It is a very beneficial tool. Why? Because educators need to make connections with other educators, both locally and globally. These connections become PLNs that share ideas through hashtags and Twitter chats whenever and from wherever. Twitter can become your #1 source for professional development(Pun intended).

So, you want to be a Connected educator and active member of a PLN. How? Start SHARING your ideas, resources, etc. How? Use Twitter. I use twitter as a powerful educational sharing tool. I have found five ways in which I can use Twitter as a powerful sharing tool. 

Five ways I use Twitter to Connect:

Twitter allows me to participate in chats, find articles, share my blog, form partnerships, and gain a global perspective.

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1. Chats

Educators can share ideas by participating in chats. Chats are when a moderator choses a topic that will be discussed at a particular time. At that time, a series of questions are asked by the moderator and educators from anywhere can answer and discuss the questions by using the appropriate hashtag. For example, a moderator might decide to have a chat on Depth of Knowledge. They can advertise the time for this chat will be Saturday morning at 8am, and the hashtag will be #DOKchat. On Saturday at 8am the moderator will ask everyone to introduce themselves and join the chat. The moderator will then ask the first question. Example: Q1 What are some common misconceptions concerning Depth of Knowledge? #DOKchat. Then people will answer by tweeting, A1 (their answer) #DOKchat. Chats are a great way to learn, share your ideas, and connect with others.

Challenge:

  1. Find and participate in a chat that interests you.
  2. Put your ideas out there and be open to feedback.

Comment:

Comment below and let me know a chat that you participate in and what you think about it.

 

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2. Articles

Educators can use Twitter to find and post relevant articles. You can also comment on the articles. Remember, tweets are 140 characters. You can link an article and if the follower wants more information they can click on the link and delve further into the topic. The same goes for you. After reading a tweet if you want to learn a little more, you can read the article. You can share your thoughts by replying to the tweet. You can also share the article. By retweeting the tweet that contains the article, all of your followers will have access to it. An even better way to share it is to quote tweet it and tell why the article is beneficial. You can also @ people in your quote tweet so that they are sure to see it.

Challenge:

  1. Use twitter to find an article that interests you.
  2. Read the article.
  3. Comment and share it on Twitter.

Comment:

Comment below and let me know about articles that you find and what you think about them.

 

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3. Blogs

The same goes for Blogs. You can use Twitter to find and post blogs. A blog is a regularly updated website or web page that is written in an informal or conversational style. I began looking into blogs and blogging after reading Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger. By the way, I highly recommend his book to anyone interested in growing as a digital leader. After reading his book, I developed my own website, started a blog, created a youtube channel, published a podcast, and began creating infographics. This book challenged me to read educational blogs as well as start my own. Starting a blog is one of the best things that I have ever done. It has caused me to grow tremendously as a professional. I learn best by reading and then writing about it. Blogging fits perfectly into my learning style. As an administrator, I find myself constantly reading and learning about a plethora of topics. I was already doing the reading, note taking, and then writing as reflection. After starting a blog I just added the step of posting my final product. Blogging then lead to creating videos, podcasts, and infographics. These were ways for me to process and compile information. I have had some people read my blog, and don’t get me wrong, if someone reads one of my blog posts and offers a positive comment that is greatly appreciated. However, that is not the reason I blog. If no one ever reads one, I will continue to post. This is because the blog is for me. It is part of my process of continuous improvement and growth. It holds me accountable. Before I hit post, I am going to make sure that I have put some quality work into the topic. Blogging helps me to take a topic and present it through a continuum of something as brief and concise as a tweet, to graphically presenting it in a infographic, to creating a video with the content, to the blog post itself. This helps me learn how to take the same content and present it in many different ways. Not only does this force me to learn a lot about the content, it also culminates with multiple things I can then use to disseminate the content to others. For me this is a win-win.

Challenge:

  1. Read blog posts from educational thought leaders.
  2. Start your own Blog. (I highly recommend this.)
  3. Comment on blog posts that you read.
  4. Share your blog posts and blog posts from others on Twitter.

Comment:

Comment below and let me know about a blog post that you read and what you think about it. Also let me know if you have a blog or plan on starting one.

 

 

 

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 4. Partnerships

Twitter helps educators move beyond the walls of their classrooms to form partnerships. Twitter provides us with opportunities to collaborate. Educators can network with other people in the profession from anywhere and at any time. Barriers of time and space are eliminated and collaboration thrives. Educators can support others by interacting with them on Twitter; reading, commenting, and sharing blog posts; and promoting their podcast, slide-shares, infographics, etc. Supporting each other is critical for professional growth. All educators benefit from a Professional Learning Network (PLN). By being a part of a PLN, you can take control of your professional development. You can use Twitter to do this. Harold Jarche writes about the Seek -Sense -Share Framework and how it makes capturing knowledge a continuous process. Seeking = Find interesting educational leaders on Twitter and follow them. You can also use Twitter to follow educational thought leaders such as @E_Sheninger  and @gcouros Once you determine that those leaders are posting blogs, articles, etc. that benefit you, start reading that information. Sensing = Use the information. Try it out. This is learning by doing. Then reflect on this. Sharing = Exchange resources, ideas, and experiences. You now not only take information from your PLN, but you send information out. You become a valuable member of the PLN by sharing useful information. According to Eric Sheninger, some of the many benefits of a PLN include: using hashtags to keep up with emerging trends, supporting others, sharing your work, finding inspiration and motivation, keeping track of conferences and events, keeping up with the latest innovative ideas, acquiring resources, and supporting continuous learning. Twitter helps make these partnerships possible.

Challenge:

1. Focus in on a few thought leaders in your field that you follow on Twitter.
2. Try something from their tweets/posts/articles.
3. Tweet about that experience
4. Share your work on Twitter.
BONUS: If you blog, write a post that reflects on something you used from the post you read and how it worked out for you. (Now you are not only “pulling” information, you are also “pushing” information out.)

Comment:

Comment below and let me know about something that you found on Twitter that you used in your classroom and what you think about it.

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 5. Global Perspective

Social media opens doors to the world. Twitter makes it possible to connect educators across the globe. This is the world we live in, and as educators we need to embrace this. The students that we teach now will have jobs that do not even exist today. They will have to have a global perspective to succeed. Twitter helps us gain this global perspective and thus model this for our students. We can benefit from discovering how other cultures teach and learn. We can follow educational thought leaders from anywhere on the planet. By using hashtags it is quite possibly as likely to find someone tweeting about Depth of Knowledge from Finland as it is to find someone tweeting about it across the street. Use Twitter to connect with educators from across the globe. This sets up a powerful opportunity for the exchange of resources, ideas, and experiences. This takes collaboration to a new level.

Challenge:

1. Use Twitter to find an educational thought leader from another country.
2. Connect with that person and share ideas.

Comment:

Comment below and let me know how using Twitter has helped you concerning perspective.

Too Busy For Twitter?

 

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It seems that people all have one thing in common. We are all in a hurry.

Twitter actually saves me time. We have much to do and very little time to do it. This is one reason I like Twitter. Twitter is quick and convenient. The 140 character limit forces brevity, and that brevity causes users to draft posts that are concise. This saves time. I can access and share information quickly from anywhere and at any time.

Warning:

Although Twitter can save you time, it can easily become a time thief as well. It can become a problem if you find yourself checking your timeline constantly. Twitter is a fast way to check news and get happenings in real time, but it also can end up taking too much of your time, as is the case with all social media. I often joke about people who claim to have no time yet spend hours every day on social media. Use social media, don’t let it use you so to speak. Be intentional. Set time constraints and let it be a part of your overall plan. It should help gain time for you, not lose it.

 

Challenge:

Find the right balance so that Twitter is a valuable tool for you and not a time thief.

Comment:

Comment below and let us know how you find balance.