- The Quest for the "Perfect" World Literature Book - June 20, 2018
- Podcasts in the Classroom: Benefits, Tools, and Tips - January 23, 2017
- Podcasts in the Classroom: My Students - January 10, 2017
- Harper Lee's Impact on My World - February 19, 2016
- Net Neutrality and Educational Technology - March 2, 2015
- The Instructional Techie: Interview with James Sanders of the Ed Tech Team - February 26, 2015
- The Instructional Techie at the Southern #GAFESummit in Atlanta: Day 1 Part 2 - February 5, 2015
- The Instructional Techie at the Southern #GAFE Summit in Atlanta: Day 1 Part 1 - February 4, 2015
- Why Should We Care About Virtual Education? - October 22, 2014
- Why Robin Williams Helped Me Be a Teacher and an Adult - August 14, 2014
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For most teachers, the words “professional development” can cause several emotions. No matter what your feelings, professional development is a must when trying to grow as teachers. In the past, professional development meant that you had to take time off from school, drive to a different location (unless it was at your school), and sit through someone droning on and on. That is changing. Professional development is becoming a more interactive and offering a wider variety of topics than the traditional sort.
Why? Teachers and other education professionals are taking to Twitter and participating in online Professional Learning Networks like the Twitter chats that are held by different groups. Through this experience, teachers connect with different education professionals from around the country and world over a variety of topics that allow them to share their knowledge with others. You will see some amazing conversations and discussions and get some great ideas and resources for your classroom.
I started participating in online PLN’s last fall when I met, through Twitter, the folks behind Social Studies Chat (#sschat) while getting ready for the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference. I started following the hashtag and participating in some of their weekly chats. The first one I participated in was a chat hosted by a group of museum education programs. The topic was about how teachers can use museum resources. I had so much fun with my first one. Tweets were flying through my timeline. I tweeted with so many people from different organizations and states. Before I knew it, I hosted my first one. I have hosted three so far and love it.
At their busiest, these chats can be crazy fast. Luckily, each chat has rules that make it easier for you to follow and use. I have embedded a tutorial I created for #sschat users, but based on the other chats I have participated in, the rules are pretty much the same across the board.
There are Online PLNs and Twitter chats for almost everything you can think of in education. I follow Social Studies Chat, English Chat (#engchat), Gifted and Talented Chat (#gtchat), and Ed Tech Chat (#edtechchat). Chats are usually held at different times and days so that users can participate as much as possible. I recommend all the ones I follow and this Twitter chat based on Dave Burgess’s awesome book, Teach Like a Pirate, (#tlap). My advice for anyone who wants to be a part of PLNs and Twitter chat is to explore all the options and find the ones that connect with you. Some may be on a summer break, but there are some that do still meet over the summer. Participate, share your knowledge, and grow. Who better to learn from than others like you? I have grown as an educator, met more people, and am working on becoming the “expert” that all educators should be. Professional growth and development will never be the same.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]