Ongoing learning is a fact of life in many professions, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the teaching profession. In many ways, teachers remain students throughout their career. From the intensive study to earn their teaching degree to the continual professional development required to maintain their certifications, educators are lifelong learners.
Many people outside the profession are surprised to learn just how collaborative teaching can be. Educators freely and willingly share information among themselves at an astonishing rate. Want to know how to overcome a particular challenge in the classroom? Need a fresh new plan for an old lesson? Have an idea that could use some input? Other teachers are often your best resource.
Technology has made it easier to connect with educators all over the world. Online, you’ll find blogs, discussion groups, and chatrooms for every facet of teaching. Many educators use these online forums as their own Professional Learning Networks (PLNs).
Developing Your Own PLN
Perhaps the best part of developing your own PLN is that it’s specific to you and your goals and needs. Where PD requirements may not immediately enrich your classroom tactics, a PLN enlists the help of other educators who share your challenges.
PLNs can come in many forms, but the ones formed via social media are often the most active and vibrant. Many educators find that Twitter is a natural fit for developing a PLN of their own.
Using Twitter For Your PLN
With its 280-character limit and continual updating, Twitter moves pretty quick. It takes a little bit of time and practice to get up to speed, but once you’ve got it, it can be the most powerful learning experience you’ve ever had in your PJs.
There are plenty of Twitter chats available for just about every educational specialty, from principals to counselors to project-based learning. With Twitter, you can meet up with individuals who have the same challenges and questions you have, and exchange ideas and encouragement. As a PLN, you can’t beat the genuine connection you’ll get from participating in a Twitter chat..
How to Use Twitter
New to Twitter? It’s simple to sign up and get started. All you need is a username and cell phone number. You can participate in Twitter chats via your cell phone or on a laptop, but you do need to provide your cell phone number in order to sign up. It’s as simple as 1-2-3:
Specialty Chats for Your PLN
Once you’ve gotten the hang of Twitter and its various chats, you can search out different specialty chats that reflect your areas of interest. Here are a few chats on Twitter that are specific to education:
|Chat||Chat hashtag||Day & Time|
|Assistant Principal Chat||#apchat||Sundays 7 pm CDT|
|Culture of Learning||#colchat||Sundays 8 pm CDT|
|Title I Chat||#thetitleonechat||Mondays 5 pm CDT|
|Principals and School Counselors||#PSCchat||Mondays 7:30 pm CDT|
|Principals in Action||#PIAchat||Mondays 8 pm CDT|
|Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators||#MSSAAchat||Tuesdays 7 pm CDT|
|Project Based Learning||#pblchat||Tuesdays 7 pm CDT|
|School Counselors Chat||#SCchat||First Tuesday of each month 7 pm and Wednesdays 7:30 pm CDT|
|School Culture Chat||#CultureEd||Tuesdays 8pm CDT|
|Elementary School Counselor Chat||#escchat||Thursdays 7 pm CDT|
|Principals, Administrators, and Lead Educators Chat||#MEMSPAchat||Thursdays 7 pm CDT|
|New Teachers to Twitter Chat||#NT2T||Saturdays 8 am CDT|
Just search the hashtag to find and follow these chats. To make it easier to follow these chats as they are happening, you can use TweetDeck or TweetChat, which allows you to isolate the chat from all the other tweets in your feed and focus on the conversation.
Twitter brings together educators from all over the world to share, collaborate, and encourage one another in their chosen fields. As a PLN, it’s hard to beat Twitter for its extensive reach to others around the world.
Have a great educational twitter chat that you’d like to share? Tweet @PBISRewards and tell us all about it!