Twitter for Just-In-Time Professional Development

In this module of EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) I had to follow several hashtags in Twitter that would be useful to me professionally. I use TweetDeck to organize my hashtags. Prior to this course, I had never used a tool like TweetDeck. I will from now on. It really helps organize my Twitter feed.

 

hashtag1

Screen shot of TweetDeck with columns for each hashtag

Prior to this week I never followed any hashtags; only people on Twitter. This seems like a more efficient way to find information that I care about but I am worried that I will miss information because most Tweets don’t have hashtags applied to them. I know I often forget to put a hashtag on my Tweets and choosing an appropriate hashtag can be challenging.

What new hashtags did I follow? #edchat #onlinelearning #edtech #oer #elearning #connectedlearning and #BlendedLearning. In just the 1st hour I learned several new things: 1) EdChat (“discuss and learn about current teaching trends, how to integrate technology, transform their teaching, and connect with inspiring educators worldwide”) occurs every Tuesday and users can choose the topic of discussion, 2) OfficeLens is a tool I didn’t know about that can “scan documents, cards, and whiteboards with your phone, making them more readable, and in some cases editable”, and 3) most important, I realized I need to pay attention to hashtags in Tweets and follow ones that relate to my interests. I previously only focused on the thought leaders I wanted to follow.

I have been using Twitter (along with several blogs) for a few years for professional development. It has been an invaluable resource. I found so many useful resources and interesting bogs/papers that I don’t think I would have found otherwise.  I use it in more of a push mode in which I get information pushed to me randomly instead of a pull mode where I search for specific information and pull it in. I periodically review my Twitter feed during the day (usually while waiting for the elevator, standing in line, or waiting for a meeting to start) and if I see an interesting link or resource I open it and review it. If I know I want it for later I favorite it or retweet it (that way it’s saved in my Tweet list).  When I need specific information on a topic I tend to Google it. So I have no experience searching Twitter for specific information. The challenge of using Twitter for professional development is two-fold I think: following the right people and hoping things get Tweeted that you need.

Now it’s your turn. How do you use Twitter for PD? What are some of its limitations and how have you overcome them?

 

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