For 20 minutes or so a day I go on Twitter and have a look at the ‘tweets’ the teachers I follow have made. Everyday I find something useful, it could be a website, a video, a blog post, a concept to use in my teaching, a conversation I can join in on (sometimes I start my own).
At the 7-12 meeting on Wednesday Ali Newbold made the statement that one off T&D is often not worthwhile as we never have time to implement or follow up the large concepts or programs that a 1 or 2 day conference provides. They often motivate us for the next week and that’s the end of that. Twitter gives me access to as many educators and their ideas as I like and I’m being drip fed those small useable pieces of information on a daily basis. A small sample of useful tweets/information that I have used from Twitter:
- A PE teacher suggested I make links with the fundamental motor skills used in athletics to every day physical activities to try and demonstrate the importance of developing correct technique in athletics, not just to throw further, jump higher etc. This was in response to me talking about how I was running my athletics classes this year using a different approach to previous years.
- The idea for ‘The Shadow Game’ came from a Twitter link. An inspired idea by a PE teacher (no jokes about ‘inspired’ and ‘PE teacher’ being used in the same sentence)! I tried it out last year and the R-3 students (plus some year 10’s) had a ball. Ed also came down and had a look.
- A science teacher from Sydney and myself shared our sites that we created for staff in our schools. Helped us both.
- I had a problem with an app on my iPad and through Twitter contacted the maker (another PE teacher) who helped me sort out the problem in 15 minutes.
- Twitter has broadened my knowledge of education internationally. I have learnt about education systems like Finland’s through Twitter and the links to articles and video. I have read as teachers compare systems in the UK, Finland, the US and my understanding of these systems has grown.
- Sometimes it’s just a statement someone makes that allows you to think more deeply about your educational beliefs like this one from @joe_bower “If tests & grades and creativity disappeared tomorrow which would you miss more?”
It has taken time to build up a ‘following’ list, but it has been worth it. The teachers I follow range from teachers of various subjects (mainly HPE) but also IT and the odd science teacher to JP and primary teachers to school leaders and internationally renowned educational theorists like Sir Ken Robinson. These people span the globe and cover over 13 different countries at last time I counted.
I know Twitter is not for everyone and the views we as adults have of social sites like Facebook and Twitter is not always a positive one. But I can honestly say that Twitter is the most useful Web 2.0 tool I have come across in terms of what it provides me on a daily basis. So if you think you might like to try Twitter, jump in, have a go – what the hell it’s free!