Twitter has passed the threshold from possibilities to realised potential. It is a ‘must have’ essential for headteachers, subject/class teachers and those in education as a whole. Twitter provides fast and unrivalled access to educational news, CDP opportunities, resources and communication with educationists worldwide. If you are reading this blog post via a Twitter link you probably do not need to be convinced but maybe you have colleagues who still need to ‘see the light’ in relationto Twitter?
Key benefits of Twitter:
Easy and fast access via computers and mobile devices
There is no cost
Concise messages can be written, sent and read in seconds
Within seconds you can follow a link to an article or blog site (e.g. exploring developments and new ideas in teaching and learning), or a resource (e.g. ideas for a lesson or how to use a program effectively), or details of a course/event (e.g. TeachMeets where those in education in a given area come together to share what is new, working well and good practice)
You can link up with educationalists around the world and share ideas and concerns. This brings a greater international awareness and dimension to our thinking
It provides access to live ‘chats’ with a particular focus (e.g. #ukedchat a weekly sharing of ideas and good practice on a Thursday evening at 8pm)
It is a fast way to share and celebrate successes of pupils and the school as a whole with stakeholders, wider communities and contacts
It is a powerful marketing tool for a school (e.g. ‘pushing’ out information and events)
It is the most powerful factor to enhance CPD in the last few years. You do not need to use Twitter long before you comprehend its power to assist you in your role and to contribute to your professional development.
Those who say Twitter has no value have never tried it. My experience has been that when I mention Twitter some people look at me sceptically or even seem amused that I would be suggesting it could have professional benefits for them. Comments such as, “I do not want to know what others are having for tea or when they are going to bed”, reveals they have not explore Twitter.
The last fortnight has highlighted to me again that people who put their heads in the sand in relation to Twitter do so at their peril. Three examples why (further to the points above):
1) Subject based ‘chats’. The Association of Science Education (ASE) is now offering a weekly online discussion group for Science educators, #asechat (Mondays 8 – 9pm). Other subject associations are already running similar ‘chats’ or will do so shortly. If you are a subject specialist or are seeking information in relation to a particular subject wouldn’t you want access to they excellent discussion forums?
2) Subscription magazines. In the last fortnight I have said I will probably cancel all my magazine subscriptions for the next year, as I can gain so much information via Twitter, and next autumn I will review if I wish to take any of them up again. Interestingly in the post this week a number of the magazines I subscribe to have said they are setting up Twitter accounts to push information out to subscribers more quickly and in a more convenient way for readers. I assume they will block you ‘following’ and accessing articles unless you subscribe. Will paper magazines become a thing of the past? If I continued to subscribe, the new access route would appeal, but it is not an option to those who do not Twitter. Those without Twitter will increasingly have reduced options.
3) Media links. This morning I watched a programme on the television where the presenter said follow my Twitter link for more details. In this case it was the revival of the game of Rounders, due to a 2 million pound grant. Presenters are regularly promoting such links or inviting people to send ‘tweets’ in. Sometimes there can be educational benefits.
You cannot knock something unless you have tried it. At school I seek to drip feed the benefits of Twitter by forwarding article links to colleagues and e.g. by sharing what is new, such as the ASE discussion group. I am noticing that there is a shift, those that are sceptically or see no value in Twitter are starting to melt. My hope is that more colleagues will explore Twitter in the next few months and realise first hand the benefits to them personally and for their pupils.
(N.B. I will be writing my summary in relation to school Twitter accounts, following responses to a previous post via this blog, in the near future)