CPD is changing and the change is being driven by Twitter. Tweeting is a quick way of gaining ideas and advice from colleagues across the globe. You have a question? Ask it on Twitter and get a range of answers. Want some ideas on a new topic you’re trying out?Ask on Twitter. Someone, somewhere will have tried something similar.
Twitter has opened up conversations, furthered professional dialogue and engaged practitioners worldwide. It has lifted the profession from the classroom, the school and the district to a global platform where cpd is relevant, personal, immediate and succintly stated.
Beyond Twitter but through it, PLNs have developed, teachmeets have grown and a range of other forums that allow for extended CPD. 140 character is sometimes not enough! Personal Learning Networks allow you to further conversations that can start on Twitter, to ask for advice and help. To pick others’ brains and share their thoughts and ideas. I have recently seen the Educators PLN provide such support and provoke great dialogue and discussion on a range of areas of education that are relevant across the globe thanks to the sustained efforts of @tomwhitby @shellterrell and many others.
It is the freedom to dip in and out of conversation, to chose what is relevant and join in where and when you like that makes the Educators PLN and others like it so powerful. I also benefit hugely from my peers across the world who help me, encourage me and support me both through Twitter and Educators PLN.
Teachmeet grew out of people’s desire to share technology to support learning. Two minute and seven minute presentations allow ‘enthusiastic lurkers’ and fellow presenters to gain so much CPD in one evening that you would be hard pressed not to allow it to impact positively back at base!
‘TeachMeet grew from a meeting of minds around some French food in Edinburgh, during the Spring of 2005’ (source: edublogs). Since that initial meeting where @ewanmcintosh and a group of online friends brought educational opportunity and dialogue into a new, more relevant and accessible format, teachmeets can be found occurring across the world providing teachers with personal, effective and exciting CPD.
Teachmeets also sorts the wheat from the chaff. Teachers aren’t directed to attend, the sessions fall outside the school day on many occasions, meaning you’re getting a bunch of truly committed practitioners, prepared to give up a fair chunk of their own time to develop their learning and their practice without being directed to.
All of the above represents how CPD is changing, a change brought about by Twitter. The future is exciting, the possibilities for teachers CPD seemingly endless. Let’s hope this move to ‘for teachers, by teachers’ sees a shift towards more autonomy in the profession as a whole. A move away from centralised prescription towards trusting teachers as the skilled, committed professionals they are- CPD doesn’t have to come from government, or local authorities. It can and should come from the professional’s personal needs. Great teachers go beyond what they’re asked to do because for them, teaching isn’t a job. It’s more important than that.