I was a real Twitter cynic to begin with. I didn’t understand it, didn’t see the point, and didn’t know why people kept shouting into the cybersphere in the hope someone, somewhere, might shout back.
I can’t remember why I joined, but started following sports writers, musicians and local live venues. It was only when I travelled to see my friend Laura that I began to understand its power, and I am now pretty much addicted.
From an education standpoint, Twitter can be your biggest resource base. Follow the right people, and they will leave a little trail of breadcrumbs, leading you to other interesting and like-minded folk. Become brave enough to tweet yourself, and teachers from across the land will help you out by leaving you links, visiting your class blogs or simply answering a question. I have mainly been following those in the know in ICT, Literacy and PE, but who you follow is obviously up to you and your own interests. It is what you make of it.
Laura originally recommended following David Mitchell (@DeputyMitchell) and Ian Addison (@ianaddison), which I duly did, and from there it has grown and grown. I was able to find out more about what other schools were doing from David’s and Ian’s school and personal blogs, as well as branching out a little further. From here, I found wonderful websites (the Literacy Shed and ICT Magic to name but two) and started reading blogs about developments in education that interest me personally. I even experienced first-hand the community spirit that Twitter teachers have, as I asked any teachers to comment on their use of ICT in their school so I could present it to my headteacher. I received several replies from teachers I had never met, teachers who gave up their time in order to help somebody else. In addition, I had direct messages inviting me to visit schools, and even one generous offer to come into my school to present for free.
If I was cynical at first, then now I am converted, and trying to bang the Twitter drum in my own school. Most teachers are now on there, and lots have been sending each other links to articles, events and websites for other teachers to use. Our headteacher even gave in to the pressure and is taking baby-steps as we speak. We will hopefully be tweeting from the classroom once we begin blogging.
In a time when cutbacks are made to local authorities and in-school training is being reduced, then Twitter is the perfect platform for developing yourself on both a personal and a professional level. Find out more, be brave and go for it. You will surprise yourself – I did.
Recommended tweeters (mainly from an ICT perspective):
@ianaddison – Ian Addison, all-round ICT guru
@DeputyMitchell – David Mitchell, blogging enthusiast and founder of Quadblogging
@ICTMagic – constant tweets of brilliant online resources
@redgierob – Rob Smith, creator of The Literacy Shed
@ukedchat – education discussions every Thursday using the hashtag #ukedchat
@ebd35 – Mary Farmer, another ICT guru
@syded06 – for anything regarding iPads in classrooms
@toots2106 – helpful advice and discussion on ICT
@dughall – again, as above, very helpful and knows his stuff!
@timrylands – regular tweets on what could be used in class
@TheHeadsOffice – founder of the 100 Word Challenge
There are many more – find out for yourselves (and let me know!)