#Twitter #Hashtags for #PD

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.53.09 AMI can’t rave enough about the benefit of following #Twitter feeds for “just-in-time” professional development (PD)!  In the few years that I have been on Twitter, I have made new friends from around the world, built a supportive & informative PLN, and added multiple ideas to my “teacher’s toolbox”.  To say Twitter has revolutionized my teaching practice and philosophy may be an understatement!

Here are a few Twitter hashtags that I regularly follow:

  • #BFC530 – BFC stands for ‘The Breakfast Club’ and we chat every morning at 5:30amEST!! Each morning, a focus question is posted and the attendees of the chat spend a few minutes responding.  The questions are always encouraging and thought-provoking; the educators, always positive and supportive.  Today’s question was: “What PD books are on your agenda this summer?” Now I have a list of about 20 more books I want to read this summer!! We usually wrap up by 5:45am.  I can’t think of a better way to start my day!
  • #TeachMindful – This is another joy booster. The idea behind #TeachMindful is ‘a Twitter Chat about creating mindful learning environments for students. Bringing calm and focus to the classroom#’ Teaching is all about the kids and #TeachMindful reminds me where my focus should be each day.
  • #edtechchat – This is a great feed for all things EdTech. The collaborators share resources, links, and ideas for integrating EdTech into your curriculum. Just this morning this link was shared: Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.06.44 AM

Now my mind is buzzing with how to add this to our 6th grade world geography curriculum! The podcasts and guides for adding digital curriculum to the classroom have inspired me to continue pursuing excellence in my edtech journey.

  • #SummerLearning – This is a hashtag that I just recently started to follow. Because I am enrolled in grad school this summer and am working on curriculum development for my school, I thought it would be great to see what Twitter has to say about Summer Learning. Just this morning, I found this link to a post about grammar. Even though I currently teach 6th grade science and world geography, the English teacher in me is always in-tune to spelling and grammar errors. The link includes a description of five of the top grammar feeds to follow on Twitter. Fun!
  • #EdChat – This hashtag helps keep me up-to-date in the world of education. Timely news stories and recent educational reform are often topics of discussion. Today this handy chart explaining differentiation (always a hot topic at faculty meetings:) was posted: Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.39.42 AM

As you can hopefully see from this post, Twitter is my preferred method of PD.  Rather than sit in an hour long faculty meeting discussing topics of little interest (sorry admin:~), I can spend an hour (or more:) following hashtags and come away with new perspectives and inspiration. One word of warning: Twitter can quickly become OVERWHELMING! I find myself jumping from link to link and before I know it, hours have passed by. I try to limit my time on Twitter but I find so many great ideas that oft times I have 20+ tabs open and my brain is whirling in all different directions.  Does anyone have a # for that?!?!

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Creative Expression: Social Network Learning – CoPs, Connectivism, and PLNs

https://app.api.edu.buncee.com/player/e8abe5dff3944d34982a5a7da891187f?render_slide_panel=0&loop=0

When creating a visual expression of the three concepts in this module: Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and Personal Learning Networks, I chose to begin with the idea of gears. Alone a gear (or cog) does not serve much purpose, but when linked with other gears and a common purpose, these individual gears become part of a valuable network. That is how it is with educators. Alone we are isolated and less productive, but when we become part of a learning community, we can achieve so much more.

Communities of Practice are all about togetherness, which is why I chose images of hands reaching in together and small groups of people collaborating.  According to Lave and Wenger (2014), in Communities of Practice, learning involves a deepening process of participation. Learning is done in groups and the focus is on lifelong learning rather than a short-term project goal. In CoPs, learners collaborate, communicate, and create through social networks over extended periods of time. People in Communities of Practice share a common interest or passion.

Connectivism is a learning theory developed by Dr. George Siemens and Stephen Downes. It “seeks to explain complex learning in a rapidly changing social digital world”(Education2020). According to Dr. Siemens, Connectivism is a social connected process of learning. The visual interpretation of a network of rapidly firing neurons that are connecting through external social spaces is the image I hoped to portray through my next slide. Learning is a process of connecting information through social sources such as blogs and social media. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have redefined learning in the 21st century and build on the theory of Connectivism.

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have, for many educators, redefined professional development. Rather than meeting with a predetermined (by administrators) team of colleagues to discuss a predetermined (by administrators) topic, PLNs use social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate, and create with like-minded individuals. PLNs can meet any time and any place.  Each PLN is unique and each member is a potential source of information. A PLN can be thought of a “collective knowledge”. Facebook and Twitter, as depicted on my PLN slide, have become a central part of PLNs.

My final slide is a visual image bring these three concepts together.  Over time, learning has evolved from an individual practice with a fixed beginning and end, to a community of learners committed to lifelong education. It is no longer separated from other activities. Professional development is no longer fixed to one place and time with one “instructor” or leader commanding all of the attention. As individuals we have a lot to offer, but as a community, we gain so much more.

Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger). (2014, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html
Education-2020 – Connectivism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism
Graffin, M. (2015, November 14). Step 1: What is a PLN? Retrieved from https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-1-what-the-heck-is-a-pln/
Whitby, T. (2013, November 18). How Do I Get a PLN? Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby