How tweeting has helped me as an Educator
I never thought that twitter would have been something that I would have enjoyed and I avoided it like the plague. I do enjoy social media and have been active on Facebook since its inception year back in 2004. Twitter just seemed to be a struggle for me because it had no "friends list" and tweets seemed so un organized compared to Facebook's clean wall and news feed. I had a friend (fellow educator) tell me about how twitter has helped her as an educator. She mentioned that all I need to do is to start tweeting at a conference and I would start to see the impact.
My first tweet was at a Next Generation Science Standards conference where Michigan Department of Education was providing updates. It felt weird when I posted it but I continued anyways. I continued to tweet anything that I thought was interesting and retweeting anything that I liked. Since I was a new on twitter I was unable to have much interaction with others.
That's when I got connected with #Miched. This is a group of educators that really pushed this hashtag to being a community of educators for the state of Michigan. There are so many great ideas that are generated from the is hashtag that I could not even keep up with them all. That is a good situation to be in. Below is an example of how one teacher used #Miched to share an online formative assessment tool that she uses called Socrative.
I started posting on #Miched and got great feedback on the ideas that I had. OTHERS STARTED TO FOLLOW ME! It was actually a cool feeling knowing that complete strangers were interested in what I wanted to say or share. This got me looking into other hashtags related to my field (#alg1chat, #mathchat, #edchat). I started to find some great activities that I would never be able to come up with on my own.
By sharing my ideas and commenting on others, I have been able to make some great contacts across the state of Michigan. If I have an idea I want to run by others, if I need advice, or if I have a question I have multiple people I can contact now. Being a part of a community of educators through twitter has changed my prospective in education.
Since, I been highly encouraging others to start using twitter. It is a small commitment getting started but you will see the benefits as time goes on. You just have to stick with it. If you really wanted to get connected with both your local community and the education community, then I suggest you send 2-3 tweets out a week of a picture of a classroom activity. You may find it meaningless but you will find that it will benefit other instructors and it will benefit you from others providing feedback. For the community aspect, parents enjoy seeing what is happening in the classroom and though kids do not say so, they enjoy having their work shared. It makes them feel important.
So here is a list below of 20 different thing that you can do to start tweeting. All of us educators have busy lives but do not see this as one more thing but think of it as a way to open up new opportunities.