Thursday, April 29, 2010

Think Twice Thursday - Twitter/PLN Professional Development

Yesterday I had the opportunity to introduce Twitter and PLN's to a small group of teachers at my school.  For me it was a great opportunity to share what I have been experiencing for the past 5 months.  First, I started out explaining how I came to get involved with Twitter and how my perception of Twitter was the same as theirs.  I explained that I had to first remove the self-doubt that I had about Twitter in order to learn how to use it and engage with others educators on Twitter.

I then shared a Glog that I created to collect resources related to Twitter.  We watched the two videos contained in the Glog so they could see a comparison of how Twitter is used in Society and how Twitter is used in Education.  You can see my Glog below.  Feel free to share with colleagues.

After we watched the videos I shared with them all the replies that I got from my PLN when I asked them on Twitter to share their locations with me, as well as how Twitter impacted their education lives.  I had over 35 replies and was able to showcase how Twitter connected me to Educators around the world.  They were impressed with that.  It helped them to realize that education is not just an issue in our county or state, but in other states and other countries as well.  It also helped them to realize how resources could be shared with people from all over the globe.

I then shared with them a list of common Twitter Terminology that I typed up so that they would always have that if they ever get stuck.  You can see an image of that terminology below.  Feel free to use and share.  I also provided a handout that described how to set up an account in case we weren't able to do so during the Professional Development.

Luckily, My DTC provided access after school (it is currently blocked until we get a Social Networking Policy adopted).  We created accounts for all that attended the meeting.  We then found each other on Twitter and started following each other.  I even had them Tweet to #edchat that they were new to Twitter so they could see a Hashtag at work.

It was fun to see them find other people and start following them.  I shared Twitter 4 Teachers and helped them find teachers who teach the same subjects that they could connect with.  The Librarian looked for authors, The English Teacher looked for friends in the community.  The AD found our local athletic association, KHSAA Twitter accounts.  Our Spanish Teacher was finding other foreign language teachers (she had an account, but never thought of using it for education).  My Health/P.E. teacher started searching for other teachers as well.  It was a great experience for me to see them realize how the power of connecting with others through Twitter could be beneficial to their professional life. 

This morning, the English teacher sent an email out to the staff telling of her Twitter "Tale."  I could never put something like this together.  Kudos to her.  You can see an image of the email below.  Click on the image and it will enlarge it to where you can read it.

So what is the true point of this post: 
What is keeping you from having a Twitter/PLN Professional Development with your staff? 

I highly recommend that if you are on Twitter and are part of a great PLN, share that with your staff.  Share how your PLN has encouraged you to try something in your classroom.  Share how your PLN has open your mind and heart to an increased passion for education.  If you don't think any of them will be receptive, all it takes is one to share how it has helped them to feel like you did something good.  You won't know if anyone is interested in Twitter unless you ask.  That is all I had to do.


  1. I've been tossing around the idea of doing a Twitter PD for my teachers this summer. To be honest, the idea makes me nervous because a lot of teachers see Twitter as just a silly social-networking tool. It is hard for me to put into words the vital lifeline that Twitter is for me in my professional growth. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I plan to use many of your ideas as you have encouraged me to move forward with my plans of sharing this with other teachers.

  2. I am very interested in creating a PLN and have started doing this within the last year. But I find it very difficult to keep everything together. Is there any sites that allow a person to house all of the blogs, twitter accounts, and facebook posts and well as all the other things involved in a PLN at the same place?

  3. Hey Lindsey, I use Tweetdeck to track my Twitter account. It also allows Facebook access, but I don't use Facebook for PLN purposes at this point. Have been contemplating that for a while. For blogs I use Google Reader to subscribes to all the blogs I follow.

    I just use a combination of Tweetdeck and Google Reader on my computer, plus a Twitter app and Reader app on my iPhone.

  4. That sounds like it could work. Thanks for the suggestions.

  5. This is such a great post. Thanks for putting this all together. I will be sharing this with other teachers in the hopes of getting them on board with Twitter. Thanks again for your hard work.


  6. The terminology sheet is outstanding, great idea! I just did something similar with a few of the staff here (both computer teachers). They were impressed by the wealth of information that my PLN had and was so willing to share. Can't beat it!

  7. Last week I was informing faculty at my school of the importance in creating a PLN! I would love to host a workshop/conference to further explain the benefits of Twitter to them.

    Lindsay- Try Netvibes. This is my Netvibes page, however you can create an account for free and design your own. There are a number of possibilities. For myself, I simply keep all of my favorite blogs. You can add Facebook, Twitter, news, etc. Enjoy!