Why Twitter?

This is the sixth post in the Professional Development 2.0 series. If you have not already, I would encourage you to start with the first five posts:

Personally, I would just like to list some of the reasons I am such a passionate advocate of Twitter. In the 9 months that I have been using it, I have seen immense benefit and really become a better teacher. I follow about 1,000 educators. I give back to the community whenever I can, but with a ratio of 1000:1, I always receive much more than I have given. The vastness and diversity of experience lets me see things from a perspective that I would not otherwise have had. It was on Twitter that I got the support and help necessary to right this book. Many times this year when I needed help on a lesson or finding a tool, the educators on Twitter helped me not only with much better ideas, but by providing them more quickly than I can find. Twitter has been better than any single professional development because I am able to talk about ideas that are current and relevant to my profession on a daily basis. Furthermore, I have even seen a material benefit. Twitter has allowed me to connect with other educators in meaningful ways outside of the Internet. Twitter has enriched both my personal and professional life.
What can you share on Twitter? There are many ways that you can share things that will make social networking more relevant to you. Having friends and family on Twitter or other social networks can definitely make it more enjoyable. However, the suggestions here are limited to those that deal with education. They are merely some ideas that have worked well for many teachers and not binding or all-encompassing.
  • Share what your students are working on right now.
  • Brag for your students. It is good to be proud of them when they accomplish something.
  • Share your struggles. With all the teachers on Twitter, someone has been where you are and no one will judge you for having trouble.
  • Share ideas: lesson plans, tools, assessment strategies.
  • Ask for help when you are stuck
  • Share resources or links that you find online
  • Give credit to someone when they have a good idea.
  • Conversely, you can gain much from using what others are saying.
  • Gain confidence in your students are capable of from seeing what other students are doing.
  • Share the accomplishments of other teachers and students who you have impacted.
  • Help another teacher. Everyone struggles at some point; there may be someone that you are in a unique position to help because of your knowledge and experience.
  • Find new ideas, plans, strategies, etc…
  • Get help tailored to your needs.
  • Find great new resources from other teachers.
  • Be publicly given credit when you have a good idea.
There is an intentional pattern above. Humans in general thrive on relationships. Educators in particular are in the business of relationships. It may have become cliché, but there is truth to the saying that students do not care what you know until they know that you care about them. Other educators may differ in background and experience, but most are here because they genuinely believe that they can learn something that can help their students and possibly help students’ interests. If you approach social networking with the goal of helping all students, then you will be both enriched and a help to others.

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