Not to long ago I learned about Twitter. I joined Twitter not really yet understanding the value, meaningful connections and potential of establishing a Professional Learning Network (PLN). Having been on twitter I have tweeted over 400 tweets. My tweets have been about a variety of things. Many times I have re-tweeted articles I have found interesting, video and photographs via yfrog about new explorations and experiences that I am discovering with my Kindergarten students. All of these examples have been invaluable for my own professional growth as an educator and for my students.
I think the biggest thought and realization that I had once I began using twitter was that there are many people in the world who are interested in many of the things that I am and also have a passion for teaching, but more importantly learning. This is where I really started to “harness” the value of twitter.
I now have 2 twitter accounts. 1 account I have had for over a year now is where I started… I tweet on this account about things I am discovering in Kindergarten, tweet and re-tweet ideas and resources shared by other people who I follow and follow me. It is here where I made many friends who are now a very important part of my PLN, Professional Learning Network.
I met another Kindergarten teacher in Texas through twitter over a year ago. We collaborated on an author study. This year we re-connected and we are now collaborating through video chat on Gmail weekly on a common literacy theme. My teacher friend in Texas shared with me that she also has a twitter account for her kids. I now have one too! Through my class twitter account I am now able to use and focus with my Kindergarten children about the value of social networking and making connections that enhance our own learning and understanding of the world.
Now my Kindergarten children tweet! They understand that by tweeting they are “talking” to others about something important to them. We share our understandings and ideas by “tweeting them”. Through this experience our friends in Texas have also shared a site where we could watch live, baby eaglet hatching! This is wonderful as our next unit of study is about birds. Just through this class twitter account I am able to collaborate with other teachers on an idea that is meaningful and helps us with our learning.
Some important things for me to think about as I continue to tweet and learn about twitter…..
1. I model safe, responsible and positive discoveries that I wish to share with others in regards to learning.
2. I follow people who are sharing professional work and discoveries about their experiences that enhance and interact with learning.
3. I have permission from my parents of the children I work with to use photographs and video.
4. When I tweet photographs and video I do not use names or any identifying information about my students. The students in my class know and understand that when we use video we do not use names. I thought this would be a hard idea, but the children understood this right away. A nice introduction about the importance of being a safe and responsible digital citizen/learner.
5. On my class twitter account I follow only Kindergarten classrooms that are using twitter with their students. Here is where I am able to tweet with other classrooms about our daily discoveries and what we find interesting.
6. I model correct spelling, no text typing here. I was reminded recently that we, as educators need to model correct use of our language for our students. Very important…
7. I encourage parents of my students to join twitter to follow us too! I recently learned that parents can follow tweets without joining twitter.
In conclusion, twitter has and continues to provide endless opportunities for me to connect with others. I am able to explore ideas around digital citizenship, critical thinking, social networking, collaboration and the importance of having a professional learning network. As an educator I value innovation and creativity as well as sharing. I want to be able to provide meaningful and rich learning experiences for all learners. Twitter plays an important role here, for me.