Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Teachers - How to use Twitter for CPD

What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets".
A Tweet is an expression of a moment or idea. It can contain text, photos, and videos. Millions of Tweets are shared in real time, every day. Which means that Twitter is relevant and up to date, second by second.
When you follow people, their Tweets instantly show up in your timeline. Similarly, your Tweets show up in your followers' timelines. To see relevant Tweets to your interest, follow people who tweet about subjects you are interested in. Hashtags assign a topic to a Tweet. So, for example, Tweets that contain #Teaching are about just that. Click on a hashtag to see Tweets related to a topic.

Twitter for CPD.
As many schools across the globe are seeing their funding and training provisions being cut for their staff, it is becoming clear that individual teachers are personalising their own professional development needs.
What are the main benefits of using Twitter for Professional Development?
Up to date ideas! Teachers are always wanting to evolve and develop their practice, not wanting to teach the same way year on year. Being stuck within the confines of a classroom can be stifling, so gaining perspectives from those outside can be liberating.

I must get 80 - 90% of my current information regarding ICT in education from the people I follow on twitter. It can be a very precise and up to date way of gathering and sharing information relating to your role as a teacher, which makes it such a powerful CPD tool. Have you ever been to a conference or seminar and thought, I've heard this all before and I've wasted a day? Twitter can change that.
You don't have to tweet to use twitter. Following other people's tweets can become a useful tool for getting up to date information on technology in education or anything else for that matter. It’s up to date, and you can tailor your Twitter feed by only following people who share information associated with your professional development. It’s good to share though, so if you have an interesting idea that you think others would benefit from, feel free to tweet it.

Who should I follow?
Chose who you follow carefully, and don't be afraid to unfollow those who do not post relevant information for your needs. Your Twitter feed can get quite noisy sometimes.  It's a good idea to keep a twitter account of your choice strictly for either professional or personal reasons. They don't often mix very well. That means that your twitter feed should fill up nicely with relevant tweets and won't be interrupted by pictures of your friends cat eating ice cream.
Look at how many tweets the person you wish to follow has posted and compare this with their number of followers. If they have tweeted 3000 items and only have 50 followers, it may be an indication that the information they tweet is quite diluted or repeated, not necessarily informative. (This is my own personal opinion - there may be exceptions)
You won't read every tweet, but don't be afraid of missing them. Once you have built up a good number of relevant tweeters to follow, you should have a nice stream of generally useful information coming your way constantly throughout the day. Fine tune the people you follow as and when the information they share becomes more or less relevant to you over time.
If you do decide to tweet and share information, use these same rules yourself. If your twitter account is for professional reasons, only tweet about matters which are relevant to your subject area of knowledge. Don't post pictures of your Dinner to all of your Teacher friends - unless you're a Food Technology teacher and it's relevant!

Hashtags can be a good way of getting information from a wider audience. When someone includes a #hashtag into their tweet, it indicates the general content of their message. So for example, I might wish to tweet about this blog post to my followers. It would look something like this:

How teachers can use twitter for #CPD www.friendlytechnician.blogspot.co.uk I think this might be relevant for you @ukedchat

In the above example, I’m using the # CPD to tell people that the general content of my tweet is related to CPD. You can use more than one # but 2 or 3 is generally enough. When I include the @ symbol, I’m directing this tweet at someone in particular by using their name, in this case @ukedchat They’ll be notified of this directly, so use it wisely. You can search twitter for hashtags relevant to your needs and you may end up with some useful information and new contacts. Take your subject for example, search for #science or #history and see where it leads.

Lastly, some useful tweeters to get you started on your Twitter journey. I’ve followed these for over a year and they constantly provide useful information for teachers who are interested in ICT and implementing new ideas into the classroom.

Follow these influential tweeters@

There are thousands of others...go and find them! And enjoy your CPD on Twitter. I’m sure you’ll also meet a lot of new friends on the way.
You can also follow me on Twitter! @kieronmiddleton and share this post.

You may wish to visit these links for further information:



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