It’s taken me a little while to get used to the Twitter style of social networking – at first I thought maybe I would listen on a dozen or so teacher-tweeters; then I found some useful tweet-chats and, now, I have just gone through the ‘following 150’ barrier that I set myself (after a dozen, I extended it to 50 – then 100 – and it has just kept growing). How many is too many? I have no idea but I can’t imagine I’m just going to strike upon a nice round number and suddenly stop listening to new voices – especially when there are so many teaching tweets out there that support my ever increasing knowledge of teaching, learning and life at school.
At first I was a little overwhelmed at the stream of information that can be carried through 140 characters, and thought I had to read it all as it arrived in my tweet stream. I think I developed a small case of tweet anxiety – that is, in that one tweet I didn’t read, there would be a link to something genius.
In 6 weeks, this is what I have found:
Good ideas don’t get tweeted only once (supporting learning)
Good ideas get passed around, or retweeted, commented on, discussed and blogged about. A good idea for teaching and learning gets refined by many minds and continues to circulate on the Twitter feed. At the beginning of the school year, teachers are discussing what’s happening in their learning space, how they are setting up the initial week or two, and what new things they are going to try and it occurred to me, as I was frantically trying to keep up with all the interesting ideas, they will discuss it all again next year. There is no requirement to remember, or favourite, every great tweet ever made, because when something is good, it stays in there, being passed around like a favourite chocolate cake recipe or directions to the best teppan-yaki in town.
If you’re not sure, you can ask (supporting teaching)
Maybe it’s something to do with tweeting to teachers, but everyone likes to help. I often have tweet queries appear in my feed, sometimes I know a link that might be helpful, most times I don’t, and there are times I will Google or follow the lead in order to learn more. Perhaps it is has something to do with why these teachers are on twitter in the first place – they enjoy sharing and will pass on knowledge when and where they can.
Finding support on Twitter – like walking into a room saying “Hi, I’m looking for a maths resource for financial literacy” and out of a crowded room several people look up and say “Hi, I can help”. It’s amazing.
It’s called “social networking” for a reason (supporting community)
That’s right – it’s all about being social. You wouldn’t turn up at a staff meeting in order to rubbish people’s ideas or pass out pornography (why on Earth porn-spammers exist, I just don’t know) so have a bit of courtesy for the wonderful people that are putting themselves out there to connect with virtual strangers. There are many teacher-tweeters who take the time to welcome, thank and nurture their follower networks, as well as write blogs. I really admire their style and think they are great, distant, professional role-models. These people can make a joke and take the time to wish a tweet-buddy Happy Birthday, as well as tweeting technical teaching-turkey.
What aspect of teachers on Twitter would you like to celebrate?