Can Twitter be Your PD?
Many school corporations make every effort to provide professional development that is relevant and applicable to their employees. Often, though, the target audience of PD is not a full representation of the actual audience. This leaves those who are not the target audience missing the one thing they showed up for, some relevant PD.
Enter Twitter! I have come to realize Twitter as my most consistent form of personalized professional development. I chose what I search and I choose what I read. There is no such thing as an hour of listening to or reading information that has no application to my professional life. But, I have to be the first to admit that I was slow to embrace the power of social media as source of professional development. My experience with social media, specifically Twitter, was limited for a couple of reasons. First, it was unknown. If you know anything at all about me, the unknown was at one time not a destination to which I was willfully going to venture. Second, learning from others displayed, in my narrow-mindedness, vulnerability that I was not willing to admit. Once I began stepping out of my comfort zone and fully immersing myself in the platform, I found the benefits of what I read and experienced to be something I wish I had pursued earlier in my career.
Let's get you started on the same enlightenment. If you search for ways to get started on Twitter, you will find some great information. The following steps come from someone skeptical of the professional benefits which could result and hesitant to believe I had anything to learn from social media. I was VERY wrong!
Sign up for a free account
Read Tweets from those who are using these hashtags
Start building your Twitter community by liking and commenting on as many of Tweets as you would like
Continue to build community by following those accounts whose posts you enjoy reading
Start Tweeting your own experiences, perceptions, and thoughts on those interesting hashtags
Tweet resources you have found helpful
Search for and observe a Twitter Chat (#EDUChatList)
Join and contribute to your first Twitter Chat
Since joining Twitter in 2015, I have had times of great activity and times when I am much less active. There is no requirement for how often you Tweet, how many accounts you should follow, or how many followers you need to have. Twitter is an educational resources available when you need it. I have "met" amazing educators who provide information in content area specific to my professional development needs. I've read inspirational posts that remind me that other educators are experiencing the same struggles I witness personally everyday. Opportunities have come my way because I was willing to reach out and communicate with individuals with whom I share common professional interests. Twitter is my chosen platform to share milestones and memories of my family life. And, I've provided my dogs with a platform for everyone to see the joy (and sometimes the frustration) they bring to my life.
As with all social media, there are pockets of negativity. This is an easy fix, simply unfollow or mute these accounts. The world provides its own fare share of toxicity. I choose to not include that in my Twitter experience. No matter your profession or personal interests, there are hashtags out there for you to follow. So, take a step toward personalized professional development and get a Twitter account! Who knows what knowledge, experiences, and opportunities will come your way.