When you hear the words “professional development,” what do you picture? Some educators might imagine early morning workshops in classrooms or school resource rooms. For others, expensive trips to conferences may come to mind. But teachers like Lyssa Sahadevan and Allison Hogan have added a new element to the mix -- they turn to Twitter. Not only is it free, but it is also accessible 24/7 and allows them to seek out topics that interest them.
Since Twitter’s founding in 2006, educators have carved out a space on the social media platform. They have established regular chats on subjects ranging from kindergarten (#kinderchat on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET) to math (#mathchat on Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET). They have used common hashtags to exchange ideas on topics like flipped learning (#flipclass), special education (#sped, #specialneeds), and much more.
In doing so, educators have made connections across district, state, and country lines to form giant professional learning networks. For instance, Sahadevan told me that all she has to do is send out a tweet asking for tips about co-teaching, and she’ll receive responses from 10 to 15 teachers. “The openness of Twitter is unbelievable,” she remarked.
In the latest issue of Scholastic Instructor magazine, we provide a no-fail Twitter guide for teachers. Our guide includes a Q&A with tweeting educators, handy lists of education hashtags and users to follow, as well as charts of weekly chats.
Whether you’re ready to send your very first tweet or have been tweeting for years, we’d love to hear from you. Tweet us at @ScholasticTeach to let us know how you use Twitter for professional learning.