Singing the Praises of Twitter as a Professional Development Tool

Twitter. The word itself invoked my eyeballs to roll involuntarily. Twitter? Tweeting? Really? Who thought of this? Telling the world your thoughts in 140 characters or less? It seemed silly and frivolous to me. So, I never investigated it and pushed it into the “Will Not Use” section of my mind. Did that make me a “Twitter Snob”? Perhaps. Am I proud of that? No, of course not. Even last summer when my good friend and fellow teacher tried to sell me on the advantages of using Twitter as an educator, I balked and could not bring myself to open that door and walk through it.

However, something piqued my interest in Twitter this summer. Honestly, I can’t remember if it was a television program about it or an article I may have read online. Whatever it was, one day last month I was sitting on my back porch with my iPad and decided to take a look at it. Before I knew it, I was creating a profile (just in case, but I would never need it) and reading what others had written. Slowly but surely it dawned on me that this might actually be something worth looking into. Suddenly, I found myself looking online to see the best way to use Twitter (hashtags can be confusing at first), then I began looking for people to “follow” (it does feel a bit stalker-ish) who were involved in education and technology. Surprisingly, I began to get requests for others to follow me as well. That was an experience at first since I neglected to set my settings as private…I read some very interesting tweets as a result! Note: Set your profile as private or you will be in for a real education! Have not had a problem since doing so…

Anyway, in the past month I have been on Twitter, I have learned more about my profession and have gained more ideas than in all the conferences and workshops I’ve attended in the past few years combined. I cannot believe this whole community of educators have been online all this time and I’ve been missing out…I feel a bit like the only girl in her 3rd grade class who didn’t get the invitation to the popular girl’s party. I have gained access to blogs and websites pertaining to iPads in the classroom which contain a plethora of information, I have been inspired to do a complete makeover of my syllabus after reading a tweet about just that, I have been given ideas about how to use Twitter in my classroom with my students. In short, I have learned so much and I cannot wait everyday to see what else I can discover. It’s a bit like going to a garage sale – I can skim over the “junk” that doesn’t interest me as much and zero in on the good stuff, the treasure, the jackpot! I love the idea of searching through to pick out what is best suited to me, my students and my classroom. As a result, I, the former Twitter snob, have been singing the praises of Twitter and will continue to do so. Especially with using the iPads this year since I feel it will be a fantastic resource and will probably now be my first line of defense if I have a problem or a question about them.

Twitter. I still hate the name and I don’t think I can ever say the word “tweet” with a straight face. But as a teacher, I now understand the positive impact Twitter has and will continue to have on education. Here’s hoping that others will put aside their prejudices as I have and discover the advantages of using Twitter as a professional development tool. Yes, Twitter. As a professional development tool. Miracles never cease.

Note: For those new to Twitter, check out this link on how to use it effectively:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/infographic-twitter-effectively/

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6 thoughts on “Singing the Praises of Twitter as a Professional Development Tool

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