Professional Development for educators has transformed from whole group, one-size-fits-all trainings scheduled for one week in August, one day in October, and one day in February to Professional Learning available anytime, anywhere. Driven by goal setting and high expectations for continual growth, educators are LEARNERS, seeking content to improve their craft. A digital platform for such flexible learning is imperative, as it removes the barriers of time and space.
Described within Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas, under Article I: The New Digital Learning Environment, we find a premise that calls for such individualized learning opportunities:
I.c The potential of learning anywhere, anytime, “any path, any pace” must be embraced. Future learning will be a combination of learning at school, virtual learning, learning at home, and in the community.
One of my favorite means to build a professional learning network and engage in a reciprocal practice of giving and receiving professional learning is through Twitter. Powered by self-initiative, identifying colleagues and instructional leaders to follow, hashtags to search, and Twitter Chats in which to participate, this social media platform connects the world of educators with a device we have in our pockets.
New to Twitter? There is great support, clarifying the social media jargon on the Twitter website here:
Who should you follow? One place to start is the set of educational leaders in Texas who serve as the TASA on iTunes U Content Leads:
- English/Language Arts (Eric Simpson): @EricLSimpson
- Mathematics (Mary Kemper): @MrsKemper
- Science (Jodie Deinhammer): @jdeinhammer
- Social Studies (Catherine McGuinness): @CatherineCatryn
What about hashtags? To search for information tagged for specific content, search using hashtags. A list of Education Twitter Chats (organized by @cybraryman1, @conniehamilton, @thomascmurray, @cevans5095, @jrochelle) can be found here:
Recently, I led our monthly district chat, #CISDchat. I promoted it on Twitter and Educators, Instructional Coaches, Campus Administrators within and beyond our district participated in the conversation about digital tools in the mathematics classroom!
In my district, mathematics educators use #75019math to tag Tweets about what is happening in their classrooms. As their Curriculum Director, I am able to search using this hashtag and ReTweet or Reply to what they have shared.
There is a whole world of possibilities for professional learning on Twitter. Give it a try, contribute and learn with colleagues around the world!