I met with an educational focus group this week and part of our discussion centred around the use of social media as a professional development tool. The group was split over the importance of such approaches with some advocating strongly the need to engage and others vehemently opposed to its use. As a keen and committed tweeter I thought about how I benefit from twitter. How it has become an indispensable learning tool and constant source of relevant CDP.
Confirm – Instantly ‘check’ you’re on the right lines. As a primary headteacher I find twitter a great way to very quickly found out how others have dealt with a certain problem, idea or initiative. What we their experiences? How did they overcome difficulties? Twitter helps me confirm I’m going about things in the right way. It reassures me that I’m not alone in dealing with a new situation.
Twitter also provides challenge and stimulates discussion. It is a fantastic way to get involved in professional dialogue with equally passionate educators. Edchat, ukedchat and numerous other forums provide platforms for discussion around topical issues and there are also those individual lines of thought that can be followed up with others anytime, anywhere. Twitter is an opportunity to test your thoughts and ideas in a critically supportive, encouraging and honest environment.
Importantly, twitter also enlightens me. There are so many people happy to share new ideas, innovations and practices that they’ve discovered, trialled and used successfully in their own practice that every visit to twitter reveals something to follow up and learn from.
Twitter has become a part of my professional kit bag, it is for me, the educators’ online companion, connecting me to a world of support, challenge and innovation.