October is Connected Educators Month. If you know nothing about it at all, I suggest you read here or here. I also find this post by Steve Anderson (@web20classroom) very informative. I first heard about this last year (mid-August, so half way through the CE month last year) and enjoyed the blogs and articles I found to enhance my learning. Being even more connected myself this year, I felt the need to contribute some reflections about the process and benefits I get from being connected. I work with and know many hard-working people who truly don’t believe they have the time (or the technology skills) to be a connected educator. I believe they would benefit SO MUCH from being more connected, if for nothing more than the fact that the more connected you are, the easier it is to find resources. In fact, I wanted to know what the twitter hashtag for this year’s Connected Educators Month was so I tweeted the question out to my PLN. Within 30 seconds
@jswiatek had responded.
(I have since seen #cem13 as well!)
Some of the ways in which I connect with my fellow educators include:
- Blogging – writing, reading, and participating in challenges
- Book Clubs (virtual and in person)
Two of my favorite ways to use twitter to connect and learn are hashtags and lists. I believe that both of these features are underutilized by many twitter users and can help newbies build a useful PLN quickly.
Hashtags are a way to mark specific topics within your tweet, in order to connect to others with similar interests. Hashtags are also used for twitter chats. Twitter’s help center gives an explanation here. Not only do I enjoy participating in twitter chats, but I have found so many more relevant connections and resources through my use of hashtags. When I am looking for support regarding a coaching issue, I type #educoach into the search box and I am instantly connected to fellow coaches sharing resources. When I want to know what current and future leaders are thinking and sharing, I review tweets posted under #satchat and #satchatwc. When I need something specific, I try various searches to see if there are relevant hashtags to the topic I am searching. I have discovered many new topics and people worth following this way.
Lists are one of my favorite features on twitter (info from the help center). As my PLN has grown, it has become increasingly complicated to keep up with the great ideas shared day and night across the globe in my twitter stream. By creating lists I am able to group the people I follow into smaller, more manageable sets. The more proficient I have become at creating and using lists, the more purposeful my lists have become. I create lists for people within my district, people who teach, who are administrators at the site, district, or county level, authors, bloggers, and whatever else seems relevant to me. Rather than spending time trying to read and digest my never-ending twitter stream randomly, when I dedicate time to my personal learning on twitter, I focus on one of my lists. This has helped me read new blogs, find even more great educators to follow, and prioritize my learning.
*Updated in 2016- I turned my lists into columns on Tweetdeck, for even more purposeful use of Twitter for resources!
How do you use hashtags or lists to enhance your time on twitter?
How are you a connected educator?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments and on twitter to continue my learning!