Saturday, 9 August 2014

Twitter momentum & 'The Question'

My journey with my Twitter PLN has really gained momentum over the past 12 months. Since attending EduTech in 2013 I have become more involved and interested in using Twitter for educational purposes and professional development. I joined Twitter in 2012 after my AP Stuart Taylor (@Sharelearning) discussed it at a staff meeting. It was a slow start, with some heavy use and weeks of no use to start with. I noticed it took me close 18 months to get to a 1000 Tweets and about 150 followers. In the past 12 months I have tweeted about 2500 times and gained a further 450 followers. The growth is carrying on exponentially. There are a number of reasons and individuals that have brought this about.

Last year I delved into my first Twitter chat, #histedchat every second Wednesday. It was such a fantastic experience being able to connect, share and discus with other history teachers from many different places. I made contact with so many new teachers online, and this gave me a real encouragement to get even more involved. This first chat saw me connect with individuals that I still connect with very regularly, Matt Esterman, Simon McKenzie, Ilja van Weringh, Jan Molloy, Catherine Hart and many more. It spurred me on to host my first ever chat, I moderated the #histedchat session 'Teaching History in the 21st Century' and it was a great learning experience. 

Along came 2014, and my Twitter journey has really taken off over the last six months. Matt Esterman approached me to present at the TeachMeet during EduTECH 2014, and I'm so grateful for that opportunity. It was a first for me with regards to speaking publicly, and I loved doing it. A few weeks later I was presenting an hour long workshop at the Christian Schools Australia Queensland Conference in Brisbane. Another first, and a very rewarding comments from participants. The momentum is just gaining steam, I have applied for the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney, created a 1-minute video for it. Holding thumbs I get in, but if not, I will keep on applying and perfecting my use of Google Apps in Education. I then presented in Bec Spink's Evernote in Education Hangout on 7 August. Another great experience and learning opportunity. I'm looking  forward to using hangouts with my students in the coming weeks. Now my next big event is TeachMeet Fraser (#tmfraser) which I'm organising to try and get teachers in my region together to start connecting, sharing and exploring digital possibilities in teaching. I'm grateful to Matt Esterman & Steve Box for their help and guidance getting this started. I love the concept of TeachMeet and the potential of different educators getting together to share.

Through sharing and connecting I have gained many new followers, but also found countless educators for my PLN that contribute to my own development. I have joined into various other chats whenever I had the opportunities, like #edchat and #aussieED. All of which open the doors for greater connections between educators all over. Twitter surely is the best professional development tool, global staffroom, group of experts, network, friends, and so much more combined. 

The question however is, why are there still so many that are not using it?