For a long time I have been on Twitter, following comedians, film directors and journalists and seeing Twitter as a more interesting
Facebook, with people I’d like to be my friends, rather than with my actual friends. It was for wry observations and pictures of dogs running through sprinklers.
Increasingly, however, Twitter has become my number one place for CPD. First I followed the Guardian Teacher Network and from there
came an exponential list of educationalists, teachers, academics, bloggers etc. Many of these were incredibly generous with their resources and recommendations. There were no whingers (well maybe one or two, but even they offered constructive solutions to their problems and anyone who didn’t I just ‘unfollowed’).
One of the times I knew Twitter was an amazing place for debate was when the topic of learning objectives came up. At the moment I am more of a Twitter lurker than participant, but several of those who I follow were engaged in discussing why we must use learning objectives. (I can see how not everyone would be using ‘amazing’ to describe this kind of debate.) Like many teachers of the modern era, I have been sharing learning objectives routinely with pupils and have been unquestioning in my pedagogy. By the end, through reading the conversation and blog posts such as this by James Michie and this by the Learning Spy David Didau, one of the best and most prolific bloggers out there, I was much clearer in my own mind about the why.
In many ways, the tweets themselves are the least interesting part of Twitter. For me it is about the links. Every day I have many many links to review, with websites and resources to look at. Regular blog posts from outstanding teachers give me ideas to try out the next day and links to research and book recommendations keep my practice fresh.
I often have too brief conversations with colleagues where they share ideas and I seem to get more out of these than some of my expensive training courses. I seek out certain people and ask them what they are doing in the classroom. I think that I do a pretty good job in the classroom but I always know that there are new ideas out there. Twitter seems to bring that idea and take it to its Web 2.0 conclusion. Instead of relying on a small in-school network of people, I have the rest of the country and the rest of the world.
I have also started to write this blog and aspire to bring my ideas to the debate. It will also be the place where I reflect on my teaching and the learning in my classroom.
Now I guess I’d better start getting involved. I’m off to write my first tweet.