WHAT! Did you say twitter?

College kids roll their eyes. Colleagues don’t have time. And the famous response: “Yeah, I have an account, but I rarely use it, don’t remember the password, or it’s my personal account and not my professional account.”

At edcamps, conferences, and education events, I meet educators from all over the world who aren’t connected on twitter.

YET.

Maybe educators resist twitter because they:

  • Have seen world leaders and celebrities use this tool inappropriately.
  • Aren’t ready to embrace the power of archiving, sharing, and telling their story.
  • Feel twitter isn’t a space that meets their professional learning needs.
  • Prefer facebook, instagram, or even snapchat for learning purposes.
  • See twitter traffic as too much of educators marketing themselves and their products, and not enough meaningful learning opportunities (anymore).
  • Don’t see the value or purpose in one more thing.
  • Just don’t want to.

But the fact remains: I still can’t find a better space where educators can connect to learn and grow together. If you do, please share by responding to this blog.

Recently, I came across a blog from a pre-service art teacher just finishing college. He was wrestling with the value and purpose of twitter and why he was being encouraged to use it.

My response went something like this:

I agree that twitter can appear overwhelming at times, and, that feeling may lead to a lost sense of purpose. However, Twitter features incredible value for every educator, because it’s one digital space where there is something for everyone. It’s a space where there are many educators and incredible scores of information–So, we go to where the people and information are.

Twitter–like many things throughout your career–will be what you make it. And all through this post, I’m hearing a lot of reaction. Therefore, I’m going to encourage you to be proactive. I’m encouraging you to stay the course, and to enjoy this resource even more by personalizing your experience.

Here’s How:

1–Create your own archive. You can use twitter to archive your own resources. What are your art education standards? Create a hashtagging system for them. When you find websites, videos, or images, tweet them, and hashtag them with your art education standards. Then, you will be able to reference and share these resources at any time, as well as log your own learning journey.

2–Find accounts to follow that help YOU learn. Twitter is a living, breathing space that changes every day. You won’t like every tweet from every tweep, but when you do find accounts that meet your needs, put them on push notifications, so that every time that account tweets, you are notified. This way, tweets will come to you, rather than you having to go out and search.

3–Seek learning opportunities around you every day. When you’re more aware of your art education standards, learning opportunities become even more transparent. Therefore, you will find yourself wanting to know more about festivals, conferences, local happenings, world news, and other even semi-related events, because you will realize the learning potential from different perspectives, you will see new ways to learn and connect your standards directly to the world, and you will also realize how important it is for your learners to connect what they’re doing with life beyond your learning spaces.

Hope to connect with you again on twitter, and I hope this helps.

Sincerely, 

@KyleHamstra

(Blogger’s Note: I’m just now adding step 4)

4–Follow hashtags that help YOU learn. Perhaps one of the best social media features ever is the ability to track and follow information through hashtags. There are genuine educators out there tweeting meaningful information to help you learn and grow, and a lot of it is hashtagged for your convenience. Once you have tweetdeck set up, add columns that are hashtag-specific to your learning needs. Following hashtag streams can keep you abreast of current events, expose you to new ideas, and help you become better for your learners.

You don’t have to be on twitter–You want to.

If you don’t want to, then don’t do it. Either way, your attitude and how frequently you seek your own professional learning opportunities ultimately affect your students and their learning.