Last term, as part of our involvement in the Lambeth Teaching Alliance, we ran a series of sessions for a group of PGCE students from the Institute of Education one of which focused on the benefits of Twitter and personal learning networks (PLNs). To prepare, I automatically turned to the CLC’s PLN asking if anyone had any examples. As usual, our followers came up trumps and Oliver Quinlan (lead tutor in the school of education from the University of Plymouth) immediately responded with a link to a film of one of his BEd students talking about his use of twitter.
As my warm up activity had also been lifted from a twitter posting I felt that I was really showcasing practice in action. The sessions went well and I hope that many could see the potential of twitter as both a support network and a platform for sharing ideas.
For those who are regular users, many articles on the benefits of social media for educators, pass by our eyes most days. It’s preaching to the converted. Those who ‘get it’ can be very evangelical in their passion for the platform but to others who have not joined the social media movement, this passion can be a little off putting.
In addition to our session for PGCE students, we’ve run several other courses over the last few months on the benefits of twitter for learning, sharing, discussing and exchanging. At our recent Aspiring Leaders conference on a chilly Saturday in November, headteacher Neil Hopkins told the gathered group of assistant and deputy headteachers that if we weren’t learning, if we weren’t constantly seeking to improve our practice and acquire new ideas then we just weren’t good enough. His words were a little stronger and the message was clear. To the twitter sceptics, it is sometimes hard to make the case that a tool, often used for dissemination of salacious gossip, could possibly have more serious application. But there is no better case for giving Twitter a try than to learn and feel inspired by others.
Adam, a class teacher from Bonneville Primary, is a keen advocate of twitter for his professional development:
For the CLC team, twitter is our window on the world. In the current climate there is neither time nor money to attend events but with the click of a button you can follow conferences and training via hashtags, you can ask experts, you can share ideas with your peers.
‘But it’s too overwhelming’, I hear you say, ‘How do you cope with all of the stuff that passes you by’ Easy – Evernote (http://evernote.com). This free application allows you to curate content through a system of tagging. It doesn’t even need to pass through your brain. By labelling and storing you can then forgot about it until you have need. My Evernote has many folders, from iPads and Programming to Social Media and Family Learning. I have hundreds of articles and notes which were sourced on twitter and can then be referred to when needed. So, our advice is don’t hang back. Check out some of our tweeting schools or follow a couple of Lambeth teachers. Make it your new year’s resolution to at least give it try..
Start by following a few Lambeth schools/settings:
@st_stephensCc (children’s centre)