twitterMost of us have heard of Twitter. The micro-blogging tool has become relatively famous for its users’ coverage of the earthquake in China and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, but what you may not be aware of is its power as a tool for educational professional development.

My district was in the same boat as many throughout the world — we had a budget in ruins. This lack of cash meant that, unfortunately, professional development was put on the chopping block.  This is when I discovered the power of Twitter.

Back in September, distraught at the notion of no professional development, I turned to the great list of educational technology people I follow in Twitter. On this single day in September, I virtually attended (on UStream) the Learn2CN conference in Shanghai, China and later that day, an educational technology conference in Pennsylvania, all from the cushy chair in my office and most importantly, at no cost to anyone. I’d discovered the most important tool in my toolbox.

The most frequent question asked by educators about Twitter is “How do I find people to follow?” Fortunately, there are several excellent resources to find educators from around the world.

The best is a wiki entitled twitter4teachers. This incredible wiki lists Twitter users by the subjects they teach. This is a great way to find people with the same interests you have, which will allow for excellent resource sharing. The subjects range from administrators to media specialists to music teachers. This would be the place to start your trek into Twitter.

Educators on Twitter is a public Google spreadsheet that lists educators from all over the world. The spreadsheet contains their name, Twitter name, and a bunch of information about where they live and what they teach.

A third resource is Just Tweet It!.  JustTweetIt breaks their listings down into a directory containing much more than just educators. They do have a section dedicated to education. The list here is huge but is not meticulously broken into categories like twitter4teachers. It’s still a nice place to start.

If this all seems a bit overwhelming right now, it is. The key is sticking with Twitter for a couple of months. You’ll discover that this is an amazing solution to cash-strapped budgets and their lack of dollars for professional development.

Oh yeah…shameless plug: You can follow me here, and you can follow LEARN NC/Instructify here. -JERRY SWIATEK


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