Ferguson, H. (June/July, 2010). Join the flock!. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/issues/Join_the_Flock.aspx
McClintock Miller, S. (June/July, 2010). Enhance your twitter experience.. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/Leading_and_Learning_Docs/June_July_2010_Join_the_Flock.sflb.ashx
These 2 articles pertain to NETS 5: “Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership”.
These 2, short articles explain how teachers can develop their PLNs (professional learning networks) by learning how to effectively use Twitter to network with other educators from around the world. Twitter can be an overwhelming tool to navigate but both of these articles are packed with information to make it easier to effectively use Twitter. Twitter can be used to connect to other educators with similar interests, follow subjects and topics of interests by using hashtags (#), and learn from others by examining lists they’ve created and asking questions (either directly to a specific person or just the general Twitter community).
How will I use this information to help me develop a PLN?
I’ve already created my profile in Twitter, which is important, because it describes my specific interests as a high school biology teacher. This allows other educators with similar interests to find me and follow me. I’ve also searched for other educators in this field, using hashtags, such as #biology, and am following them. I’ve created lists to help organize who I’m following by topic. For instance, I’ve created an EDUC422 class so I can look at all the Tweets from only members of my class. I can then share and “retweet” topics of particular interest to me.
The 2nd article goes into further detail about how to use Twitter. Organizing my Twitter account is very important in order to manage and sort through all the information way in an efficient manner. McClintock Miller suggests using HootSuite or TweetDeck on your desktop. I also will manage Twitter and my other social networking sites on Symbaloo. Resources can be shared via a bookmarklet in HootSuite to send to a specific list (like a class that I’m teaching). I’m very interested in exchanging ideas, resources, and information with other biology educators using Twitter. What attracts me most to this resource is the potential to get a specific question answered in a timely fashion from a huge network of knowledgeable people. It also seems like a great idea to enrich the classroom with creative, innovative, and exciting activities and projects.
What are some of the disadvantages to Twitter?
The biggest disadvantage is that it takes time to effectively manage all the information coming into Twitter. It takes time to build up relationships within your PLN. The payoffs seem huge but it does take a conscious effort on the teacher’s part to manage her Twitter account on a regular basis. The 2nd drawback, perhaps, is privacy. Anyone has access to my tweets. Because of this, I’ve created a separate account, distinct from my personal Twitter account which I use more for social and recreational purposes. In addition, I’m very professional about the nature of my tweets. My rule of thumb is, if my mom can read it, it’s okay to publish on the internet.