Twitter, PLN, and Useful Education Hashtags

           Social media site Twitter has offered a new type of online conversation and the development of Professional Learning Network, or PLN. Although teachers are engaged with students in class and teachers in the building, in comparison to time spend in professional development, teachers are isolated and alone. What could really make a difference for teachers is to create an open dialogue about learning across all levels of education. A conversation with other people that we respect at a time that we choose on topics that are self directed and in a way that does not take teachers away from the classroom. In an ideal world, educators would be part of an interactive community that all contribute to a conscious stream of ideas, opinions, experiences, resources that have been tried and tested, links to good websites, teaching techniques and reflections. A community where questions and be asked and feedback given based on real life experiences. This type of learning community would be very useful. And it can be found on Twitter.

          While more online conversation is happening, educators are sharing more and trying more things based on the recommendations from teachers around the world. Davis (2010) in her article “Social networking goes to school” references Steven Anderson, the well-known #Edchat co-creator, in regards to the use of Twitter as part of a Professional Learning Network. In the past, professional development was formal and rigid. You went to events scheduled by the district because this is what they think you need. With social networking allowing teachers to connect to one to one to many, teachers have the professional development they really desire on a daily, even hourly basis. The buzz and inspiration felt when going to the professional development seminar or conference, can be felt constantly online on Twitter. Questions posed at any part of the day can be answered by a variety of educators all offering a different perspectives and techniques.

         This week I hosted a professional development workshop in School District 61 in Victoria BC. I had 30 teachers and EAs (educational assistants) watch how I function on Twitter. I introduced to them the value of saving lists and hashtags. instead of strictly following people on Twitter. The value to following and searching for topics is that the conversation become more personalized and focused. Here are a few hashtags that I feel could be useful for your personal learning network.

#hsc (Homeschool)                        #edu                                   #iPadChat                                      

#cpchat(connected principals)        #kedu (Kindergarten)                      #edapp  

#kinderchat                                  #GlobalEd                                       #1stchat                          
                               
#k12media                                      #midleved (Middle School)             #2ndchat

#edadmin                                       #lrnchat (Learning)                           #3rdchat

#elemchat                                      #4thchat                                    #titletalk (Librarians – Books)

#edchat                                         #smchat (Social Media)                    #5thchat
                       
#spedchat (Special Ed)                #edtechbc                                           #6thchat

#edtech                                        #tlchat                                                  #k12
  
#education                                  #edbc

– Mr. Shortreed

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