As I mentioned in a previous post I am relatively new to the world of Twitter. I have set up my new Twitter account for my Digital Learning module as part of my Masters degree. The purpose of my new Twitter account is to connect with as many people as possible from the world of education in order to learn and grow as part of the education online community. Before being set this task I would never have thought of Twitter as a place where I could find resources or advice on teaching. But I was unbelievably wrong. Twitter is a goldmine for the educator if you know where to look . In order to discover how to make the most of twitter I began looking up tutorials and articles to see how to use twitter and how it can improve my work as an educator. The first article that stood out to me is written by Megan McPherson, Kylie Budge and Narelle Lemon. This article talked about twitter as an informal learning space. I immediately liked how they described twitter as this informal learning space as I think it takes away some of the pressures usually related to learning and educating. They speak about twitter broadening the conversation from the hallways and staff-rooms into the global sphere. You have control over the type of profiles you follow to ensure the news you want to see comes up onto your profile. The 140 word maximum tweet also provides a quick vies of the story and then if you want to research further you can use the hash tag to search for more opinions and discussions. ‘Twitter efficiently filters information through’ (McPherson 2015) so we can see what we need to see.
The second author that spoke to me was a fellow blogger, Tom Barrett. Barrett, in a blog about twitter for teachers, describes twitter as a constantly flowing river (Barrett 2008). When we open up our twitter accounts or feeds we are at the banks of the river looking at the ever flowing water. Some people stay here looking on taking in the new information or some people dive in and eagerly contribute. Whether you are on the banks or in swimming you need to be involved to see what is happening. If you are away and miss a tweet it has been washed downstream and unless someone re tweets it is likely gone forever.
I think what stood out to me as an educator from both these articles is the possibilities twitter holds for people. It is a mass collection of information, resources and opinions that can help you form opinions and gather ideas. At the start it is ok to sit back and watch the flow but I think for educators to get the most from twitter they need to learn to swim. It is important to share opinions and begin discussions in order to learn and grow. I think it is time I put on my armbands and go for a swim also. If you have read this and have anything to add please find me on twitter and join me in discussion 🙂 5j16MsDunne is my twitter name I look forward to hearing from you.