Twitter at the heart – a surprise for many

When I was talking about my own, very limited, experience of all this social media stuff recently I asked the people there what platforms (is that the right terminology?) they used. A few people had websites, less had blogs, quite a lot used Facebook but only a few used Twitter. Those who did have Twitter accounts had mostly let them lie dormant.

I wasn’t surprised, I’d always thought Twitter would be a waste of time myself, perhaps my biggest social media learning to date has been the role it can play in professional life. From hearing important news early and finding out what those you respect are reading and thinking about to extending networks and even, this week, advertising a job. I told them so, and have seen a few out of there tweeting already.

I had found some examples of classroom use of Twitter – like Class 10 where pupils use Twitter within their topic research  which seemed pretty radical practice compared to the fear many of the schools I work with have. It was good this week to be alerted by Zoe Elder (on twitter of course) to this post by Australian lecturer Miriam Tanti who discusses the value of Twitter more eloquently than I have managed, and from someone with experience of Facebook – which I didn’t have when setting out on this journey:

I’d like to thank Zoe (@fullonlearning) and my colleague Joyce for getting me onto Twitter. I have to say that I was quite skeptical with the whole concept of twittering: Did I really care to be informed of the latest movements of a group of people, many of whom I have never met? I mistakenly made the direct connection between the Tweet and the Facebook status … regular updates of what people are having for dinner, the documentation of their attendance to their child’s athletics carnival, their wishes to leave work and go to the beach … I’m sure you get the idea. All bits of information that really have no impact on my life, and honestly could do without. But I was pleasantly surprised!

Several weeks ago I created a Twitter profile @miriamtanti and whilst I have not yet made any significant tweets I have managed to locate key stakeholders and ICT educators and read about their latest endeavors. In such a short time the global network I have joined on Twitter has allowed me to access a wide variety of the latest resources, literature and research that each of my global counterparts are pursuing. The hours that they have saved me from trying to locate such information on my own via search engines and online databases, and the new insights and perspectives they have exposed me to – my teaching and research is all the richer for it.

In terms of global collaboration, networking and professional development there is no ICT tool that has made a greater impact than Twitter, every educator should get an account!

Well we’ll see how I get on with Twitter, after all it has only been a few weeks, but at the moment it is working for me too. Although I was a bit terrified by the tweeting stats of Louise Jones Channel 4 Young blogger of the year, proof if I needed it that I’m not a young thing! Congratulations Louise.



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