The Power of Twitter – PD for 140 characters or less

OK. I know everyone who is on Twitter likes to sing it’s praises. 
I am not the first teacher nor will I be the last teacher to do so. 
However, can I say again how awesome Twitter is? And can I say that its awesomeness lies in its potential to inform and teach? And, will you believe me when I say that Twitter can provide the best PD opportunities ever? No, you don’t believe me, yet? OK. Allow me to illustrate this point by sharing what happened to me this afternoon.

Earlier today some of us met to discuss the role of mentors in the PYP exhibition project.
I casually brought up the idea of using Facebook (FB) as a way for students to communicate and share their learning with others. Actually, I never got passed mentioning Facebook because almost everyone around the table told me that we couldn’t use FB since the students were too young; FB has a 13 year-old limit for users.

But, I wanted to argue, the teacher would be the page administrator who would monitor the content to be posted on FB. Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to explain myself (this was probably not the best venue to have this discussion anyway) because by that time the conversation had veered in a different direction.

As soon as I got home I posted a couple of tweets asking if anybody was using FB with elementary age children. Although I’ve done this before, this was the first time I included someone who is a well-known educator (@coolcatteacher) rather than simply depending on hashtags. Once she favorited my tweet and retweeted it I started getting replies. Before I knew it, I was involved in an hour-long conversation with several educators. 

Although I didn’t get a definitive answer, I received valuable responses that will help me participate in my school’s decision regarding social media use by students. For now, however, I will explore Edmodo as an alternative to FB as recommended by one of the teachers I was tweeting with this afternoon. Since I am already familiar with Edmodo, I can use it right now. 

What an incredible experience! I will definitely do this again now that I know an effective way to ask for help on Twitter. 

If you haven’t yet delved into Twitter, I highly recommend you do so soon. More than anything, Twitter provides you with opportunities to create your own PD.

Are you convinced, yet? Tweet me a message @elisaw5 and let’s start a conversation. You’ll be amazed at what can happen. 


I think I have begun to understand the power of Twitter.

First, a little history. I’ve had a twitter account for several years now and, although I would occasionally tweet or retweet a post, I rarely engaged in much conversation. I was always worried that my tweets weren’t witty enough or correctly written, not to mention that it took some effort to parse them down to 140 characters. I was never quite sure what hashtag to use or who I was supposed to mention in my tweet – the contemporary version of a faux pas. 
I have only participated in a tweet chat once and, even then, I couldn’t stay the full hour. But, those 30 minutes that I was online, reading and posting, were amazing. So, while I have yet to make twitter chats a regular part of my repertoire, it is coming. I have connected several times with other educators via direct message and although it felt good to reach out, it didn’t generate lasting connections or enhanced learning opportunities.
Last week, however proved to be a turning point for me. I was invited to tweet about myself, my school and my particular teaching situation in South America for an entire week. I tweeted every day, for an average of three times a day, which while usual or low for some, was a challenge for me. But, I didn’t only tweet on the guest twitter account, I also tweeted on my personal account. Some people tweet throughout the day and still work at the same time. I truly don’t know how they do that! In any case, this situation forced me to experience what it would be like to tweet, respond to tweets, engage in conversations and make new connections. So, I have vowed to continue to post and respond as often as possible throughout the day. My goal is three tweets a day; it still takes time to compose a tweet!
This week I am participating in a Twitter chat with Sir Ken Robinson being sponsored by Adobe Education on June 13th and I am participating in the Twitter book chat for Teach Like a Pirate #tlap that starts June 17th. Look me up on Twitter @elisaw5 and let’s connect.
So, have you found the power of tweeting? Tell us about it in a comment below.
Happy tweeting!