Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post: Twitter: Best Professional Learning Around

With all the professional development opportunities out there, how does a busy educator find the best resources? My favorite Professional Learning Network is Twitter, which I explored at the urging of colleagues. Many people form negative opinions about Twitter based on how it is portrayed in the news and in popular media. In actuality, it’s a very powerful tool for collaboration and professional support. Here are a few reasons you might like to use Twitter, and how.
Twitter is a free, always available resource. I’m connected with teachers, librarians, thought leaders, authors and publishers all over the world. I can find content at my fingertips - articles of interest are posted where I can find them quickly, with topics highlighted concisely. Sharing my own ideas through tweets brings me more followers with whom to share, and from whom to learn. I can find countless targeted discussion groups to follow and join. There is much more to this social media tool, including surprises... I’ve won apps, books, and even an author Skype through Twitter! Ready to join in the conversation? Here’s how:

Join Twitter! You’ll need a username, email, password, and a profile. Write your profile in 140 characters. Highlight your interests. Discover! Use the hashtag symbol # immediately followed by a topic to search for folks like you, or groups that interest you. Some good ones: #nerdybookclub #runteacherrun #bookaday and #edtech. Follow others! You can read their tweets first to see if what they have to share is relevant to you. Try these: @MrSchuReads, @jenniferlagarde, @iChrisLehman, and of course, @cybrarian77. Write a tweet! You can include a hashtag along with a topic and see if anyone is listening. Check out these two great Twitter cheat sheets for educators.  and

Guest Blogger Info
Valerie Stein is long-time Library Media Specialist for Soundview School, an authorized International Baccaluareate World School in Washington State: She reviews books for Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children’s Media: . Valerie’s tech interests include exploring the uses of Social Media to connect to high-quality resources, and demystifying tools and technologies for her patrons. She blogs at where she features the writing process, select book reviews, and teaching news. You can follow her on Twitter @stein_valerie. She’d love to follow you back!

Collaborative handshake attribution: Berdea, on Wikimedia Commons:

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