Dance like the photo’s not being tagged, Tweet like nobody’s following.-@postsecret
I like to think of myself as an early adopter of technology. I like gidgets and gadgets even when I’m not sure what I will do with them. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google + and Twitter. I also read blogs by other educators who use technology such as TechChef4U and Matt B Gomez. All of these help keep me current.
Having a Professional Learning Network (PLN) is so important for growth. Whether you are resting and re-charging on summer vacation or you are in the middle of a school year, you are the lead learner in the classroom. And…let’s face it, staff development given by the school district isn’t always on target or just in time.
While there are many social media sites you can be involved in, I’m going to talk mainly about Twitter today. I joined Twitter a few years ago without really knowing what to do with it. I lurked and read Tweets by local news outlets and some celebrities. I didn’t tweet because I didn’t have any followers and didn’t know what I’d tweet about even if I did. I wasn’t doing anything interesting ( I thought) and didn’t think anyone would care. I really didn’t see the big deal and why people were all a’ Twitter about Twitter. I felt stupid and definitely like I was missing something.
Once I started writing this blog, a friend suggested I start sharing it via Twitter and Facebook. I said ok. Soon, I started having some followers. The more I blogged, the more followers I got. That was pretty cool…except I was still missing the point of Twitter… and the bounty of knowledge of other educators.
Going through the Apple Distinguished Educator application process, I started following other ADE’s. I also started following some of the people they were following. I started reading their tweets and following some of the links they were sharing. I was amazed at the wealth of information, apps, links and other information I had at my fingertips. I had found a PLN that I could share information with and gain knowledge from. It is like the corner convenience store…open 24/7 and always has just the very thing you need, plus some other things you didn’t even know you needed.
So, a few things you might need if you are not on Twitter or you are still lurking in the shadows:
1. Use the hash tag # symbol followed by whatever topic you might be interested in. I follow #edtech, #kinderchat and a few others.
2. Use the @ before someone’s name to find them. For example, you can find me at @kristimeeuwse.
3. You can post tweets, choose to favorite some tweets (that way you can refer back quickly), re-tweet or even direct message people.
4. Keep it simple…140 characters or less and don’t go crazy with the hash tags. Others may want to retweet you.
Many of the topics you choose to follow have scheduled chats you can join. These are always full of good information. Also, if you download HootSuite app, you can add several streams that you want to follow and look at them all at once.
Ok, so you say you don’t have time to do all you need to do plus keep up with all the social media demands. I say find the time. Simmer down…you don’t have to check it everyday. If you only do one thing, do Twitter. Don’t worry if you don’t tweet much at first. The more you read and learn from others, the more you will find you do have something valuable to add.
It seems the theme of many of my posts this summer trends toward the importance of continued professional development. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” As educators in the 21st century, we can’t afford to miss much.
Give Twitter a try, or if you are already on, give it some more time and attention to grow your PLN. It’s worth the time.
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!