- Twitter has become an invaluable resource for educators looking to participate in professional learning communities, reports EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Through hashtags like #edtechchat, educators can discuss a variety of hot topics, seek advice, share best practices, and build connections with peers across the nation and beyond.
- While the platform has opened the door for around-the-clock, self-directed professional development opportunities, experts have noted that success on that front is a matter of getting out of it what you put into it.
Social media, and Twitter in particular, has changed a number of educators' professional lives. At the Future of Education Technology Conference conference in Orlando, FL, earlier this year, Barger Academy of Fine Arts Principal Greg Bagby and Chattanooga Christian School Technology Coordinator Julie Davis detailed how Twitter has enabled them to engage in "PD in your PJs" via hashtags like #BFC530, also known as "The Breakfast Club." Bagby has also taken his engagement a step further and created Voxer groups to further connect with contacts made via Twitter.
But while social media is critical to being a "connected educator," doing so also goes beyond simply using social media. As Jimmy Casas, principal of Bettendorf High School in Iowa, and Jeff Zoul, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Deerfield, IL, have detailed, these educators "actively and continuously seek new opportunities, people, and resources outside of their own school or district to grow as a professional."
While Twitter is a great stepping stone to connecting with peers and experts educators might not otherwise come into contact with, nurturing those relationships and gaining the full benefit of that communication, collaboration and sense of community will require more effort than passive involvement in the occasional Twitter chat.