Sunday, November 29, 2009
Twitter and what it does for me....
I have been a member of Twitter for about 18 months, I was introduced to it by Bernie Dodge as he mentioned it in passing in one of his presentations. It was in its early days and I couldn't figure out how it worked or what the purpose was.
6 months after joining I was reintroduced to twitter via a presentation from the Syrsi Dynix Institute podcasts and the person who was explaining it made it sound useful, they also explained how it worked and what they got out of it as a librarian. I was intrigued, went back into my twitter account and started following key people in the area of my interest - School and Teacher Librarianship. The way I found these people was to visit Joyce Valenza's twitter home page and see who was following her, and who she was following. I quickly had about 50 people to follow and sat back and watched for a bit.
I was astounded at the amount I was learning and what I was being directed to in such a short amount of time.
I was introduced to so many things that have allowed me to expand my knowledge, increase my personal contacts and have exposed me to so many resources that have helped me to build relationships with the people I work with, and to expose the students to amazing resources to help their learning. Twitter allows me to connect and learn from people all over the world.
I have had the opportunity to meet with people face to face who I have met on twitter, and had extremely rewarding conversations that are already past the 'small talk' phase as we already know where, and what we are up to in our professional lives.
Twitter is one of the best ongoing professional tools that is available, it continues to keep me up to date with the ongoing discussions, resources, and thoughts on what is going on in my field. I am able to share with others my creations, and immediately receive feedback on what I am creating. I can ask questions and get answers, I can be introduced to new ways of doing things and exciting projects that others are doing in their schools and classrooms and adopt them for our own needs, this can only be advantageous to the students I work with. It is like having a huge faculty to bounce ideas off - but without the headaches of working with so many people!
I have the opportunity to follow conferences, and learn of presenters and educators that are making a huge impact on learning I never knew existed before I had my Personal Learning Network. (PLN)
I am now up to following 165 people, with 135 following me. Twitter is different to list-serves and other email based forums. The people who are connecting with each other are interested what each other have to share. They want to know what you are doing and so immediately it gives you the confidence to share and know that someone will be able to use what you share. The posts are short and to the point - 140 characters does not give you space to waffle. Checking twitter posts does not take a lot of time - what does take the time is following up on what has been shared, but this is all learning, so is an investment. I do not follow people who will waste my time, and I am conscious of what I am posting so as not to waste others time.
In saying that I do follow a few people for fun like authors Robert Muchamore and Neil Gaimen (Neil is a prolific tweeter and quite funny) and Lance Armstrong, who has an amazing life which he shares in his quest to promote his Livestrong charity.
Still not convinced? Someone set up a google doc asking educators to comment on "The Power of Twitter for educators" Have a read of what others think - if you already are on Twittter - add why you continue to be a part of that community.
Twitter is the most important professional learning tool I have access to right now.