This was originally posted on English Companion Ning in October, 2010. I’m re-posting it here so others can see it as an example of how to convey the value of Twitter as a professional development tool.
Although Twitter is an important part of my on-going professional development, I find that many people not on Twitter think that it’s a junky way to spend time. Sure, there is a certain amount of blah blah blah on Twitter, and if a user wants to receive a steady stream of jokes, celebrity news, and political rants, Twitter can definitely provide that.
But if a user builds a solid list of people to follow, Twitter can be enormously helpful.
For the past week, I kept track of the specific ways that Twitter helped me:
· Participated in a dynamic discussion about effective group work
· Read an article about Rhode Island’s standardized testing program that goes for three weeks in October
· Kept up on the progress of a friend running in the Chicago Marathon
· Found out about the existence of the Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus DVD, an excellent video version of one of our family’s favorite picture books
· Found a teacher with resources about the Roman Empire for a history teacher colleague
· Asked followers what they like/dislike about Shakespeare on a live feed with a class of sophomores
· Communicated with a Canadian principal about how teachers at his school write blogs as part of their professional development days
· Found a great literature resource with audio and links: www.mirrorsandwindows.com
· Added an RSS feed from Jon Winokur’s Advice to Writers to our Writers Week web page
· Followed live updates on the Chilean mine rescue
· Followed live updates from our local school board meeting
· Received updates from Amazon about some excellent free MP3 songs
· Heard from a student absent from class who checked Twitter for the journal topic he missed.
· Received a friendly reminder that I was in the process of missing a meeting
· Received a valuable list of other American Studies teachers on Twitter.
· Found an important article about the downside of mandated teaching practices
· Read numerous blogs from educators who model reflection and progressive thinking
· Communicated with a teacher in a neighboring state about having our students comment on each other’s blogs
Along with English Companion Ning, Twitter provides me with valuable professional development on a daily basis.
If you’ve had positive or negative experiences with Twitter, I’d like to hear about them. If I can help you get going on Twitter, please let me know. Thanks for reading this.