Okay, maybe lifeline is a bit dramatic. Maybe.
That cute little blue bird has been around since 2006 and has grown into quite the communication giant. When it first emerged on the cyberscene, I was a young(ish) mom who had just been widowed (my personal blog shares that story), and completely uninterested in social media. Deep in grief, I didn’t pay much attention. Then a college friend introduced me to Facebook. I found that interesting, connecting with old and new friends, conversing in real time on various threads, seeing pictures of life. I did sort of roll my eyes at all the updates, reliving what I felt like was the politics of adolescence. How many friends? How many likes? I decided Twitter wasn’t something I wanted to do. FB was enough. And then I went to METC 2010.
As I sat in a Web 2.0 session learning from none other than the great Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian, I watched in complete awe as this educator sitting next to me used his Tweet Deck to dialogue with his students. I, trying not to let my mouth hit the floor, sheepishly asked him to explain his process.
I use Twitter solely for professional purposes. I’m not one to push out and say much, so for a long time I would just post articles that I felt said something relevant and interesting in the field of education. I had no idea what I was doing. I did have my personal blog linked to Twitter. No hashtags at first. But I paid attention to how it worked. I learned about PLC’s and who to follow and what was trending. I followed masters-of-their-craft educators along with colleagues. I practiced discernment and tried not to feel overwhelmed by the information tsunami Twitter seemed to release every minute of everyday.
Twitter has taught me about badges, Google Apps , what exactly is deeper learning, and the importance of coding. It has lead me to technology resources, learning management system ideas, gaming resources, lists and more lists of apps and even more apps. And. So. Much. More.
Years ago, maybe we could go to one conference a year to hear one person present on one topic and then we would read a few recommended books. Now we can learn every second, if we so choose. When used for professional development, Twitter provides relevant and timely information and dialogue about education. It offers a plethora of resources to implement into the classroom and is a fantastic tool for communication. Not sure how I will use Twitter in the classroom quite yet—maybe just for chronicling our day or conversation in class and out of class–still thinking and processing. I’m all about being intentional.