Learning and Leading with Twitter

ISTE Standards for Educators 1 & 2

My latest focus on my journey towards digital education leadership has been focused around the first and second ISTE Standards for Educators. These two standards are about being a learner and being a leader… which through my research, I have learned go perfectly hand in hand. 

Standard 1: Learner 
Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators:

1a – Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1b – Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.
1c – Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

Standard 2: Leader 
Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:

2a – Shape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.
2b – Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c – Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

I was mostly interested in 1b and 2c and how “participating in local and global learning networks” can help to achieve 2c. In our current teaching and learning model of remote education, I have seen the importance of not only starting to use new digital resources and tools, but the critical need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of these resources. It isn’t impossible, but it is unrealistic for each teacher to spend the time researching and exploring every single digital resource or tech tool that they come across. And this is where those “local and global learning networks” can come into play!

This led me to my essential question: Focusing on remote learning… how can educators support each other to help advance understanding and implementation of technological tools. Let’s get started!

What is a PLC/PLN/GLC?

Whether you call it a “professional learning community”, “professional learning network”, or “global learning community”, we are essentially referring to the same thing; a group of people that come together (physically, or virtually) to discuss ideas, question one another, and further thinking on a specific topic. 

Andrew Miller, an Edutopia Blogger, writes about how to create effective PLCs. PLCs (professional learning communities) are groups of educators that come together to collaborate and learn from one another to help improve student engagement and achievement. He states that “a learning team constantly engages in a cycle of learning: analyzing data, setting goals, and learning individually and collaboratively, as well as implementing and adjusting practices to meet the needs of all learners.” 

His post “Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities” is a great resource to help get started in PLCs, you can find it here.

There are tons of ways to get into PLCs… your school, your district, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so so many more. I personally was in “PLCs” on my social media accounts without even realizing it! 

One of my faves on Facebook is Not So Wimpy Fifth Grade Teachers, an insanely gracious group of teachers who share so many resources and support their fellow teachers like nothing I’ve seen before. (Also not as “professional”, but a learning community nonetheless Fitness for Teachers, a group that give advice and encouragement on how to stay healthy while teaching). 

And on Instagram I follow some incredible groups who share resources, provide professional development and give inspiration: Get Your Teach On and Teach Your Heart Out.

While all of these are fantastic ways to get hooked up with PLCs, I am on a mission to expand my horizons. Being a millenial – I have been aware of the existence of Twitter for quite some time. I even tried it out when I was in high school… and quickly decided that it wasn’t for me. Fast forward to my teacher prep classes, and it was suggested again for me to make an account to help come up with ideas for lessons… and again I decided I didn’t need a Twitter and that I had a community in my cohort, and that was good enough for me. Well, now a decade after I pushed Twitter to the side, a pandemic hits and teachers’ “traditional” strategies are all out the window as remote learning becomes our “new normal”. Once more, I am walking towards the “Twitter” light – and I LOVE what I see. 

Twitter

image attribution Flickr user sylviaduckwirth; 50 Of The Best Education Accounts On Twitter

Here is some of my original learning:

  • “Hashtag” – an easy way to sift through posts and find ones that are specific to the information that you are looking for
  • “Ed chats”- a set time to log in and collaborate over a set topic
  • Networking – connect with other educators by following them! 
  • Posting – share your findings with the world!
  • Tweetdeck – a website to use with Twitter that allows you to follow hashtags
    • You can also schedule tweets to post! (Thanks to the amazing @mheinema1, Digital Learning Coach Extraordinaire who introduced me to this tool!)

Steps to get started

Start following users to add to your network! Here are some great handles that I follow that focus on digital education: 

@SonsOfTechEdu – “Risk Taking Ideas to promote collaboration and change in classroom pedagogy and student innovation.”

@drdavidwicks – “@SeattlePacific Prof, @edtechsandbox chair, @edcamppswa, @ncce_edtech, #LearningSpaces, #BlendedLearning, #ETCoaches, #OnlineLearning, #digcit #eportfolio”

@NCCE_EdTech – “NCCE is a professional learning organization that hosts the largest education conference in the Northwest and provides PD to educators year-round! #IamNCCE”

@JoeMarquez70 – “K-12 Edu Strategist, Google Innovator #GTAATX14/Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator, CUERockstar, #EdTechMacGyver, #EdTechARMY @SonsOfTechEDU Podcast Host

@crscience – “Over 20 years of practical support for great elementary science teaching. 1 of 50 Essential Twitter Feeds for #STEM Educators”

@CommonSenseEd – “Part of global nonprofit  @CommonSense, providing free digital learning tools resources for educators: #DigCit for K-12, #Edtech reviews, and #Privacy evals

@cultofpedagogy – “I help teachers crush it in the classroom. Love my family and CrossFit. She/her. Find my courses at //cultofpedagogy.teachable.com

And of course, my handle: @5th_adventures – “A grad school student and 5th grade teacher experimenting with digital education”

Once you have followed some people and are ready, you can get in on the fun! Here are some great hashtags for teaching and learning:

#kidsdeserveit – They host weekly chats with alternating moderators every Wednesday at 6 pm PST

#edchat – An ongoing chat about all things education

#globaledchat – April 30th 2020 at 5pm there will be a chat to share ideas about global education projects.

#elearning – Integration ideas of how to add elearning into your classes!

#edtech – a great way to see posts about new educational technology or a way to find what is working in other classrooms!

#edtechsandbox – a hashtag focusing on continuing education endeavors towards mastery of ISTE standards and digital coaching 

Remember, you can just follow others and search hashtags until you are comfortable being part of the conversation. Twitter has the ability to bring teachers from all over the world into one community, to explore and evaluate digital resources and share their findings and success together. 

What are your Twitter findings? Drop a comment below!

References

Goal-Setting for Teachers: 8 Paths for Self-Improvement. (2018, September 24). Retrieved from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/goal-setting-for-teachers/

ISTE Standards for Educators. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

Miller, A. (2020, January 4). Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/creating-effective-professional-learning-communities

Rubin, A. (2020, January 16). How to Build a Teacher PLC in 3 Easy Steps. Retrieved from https://www.weareteachers.com/teacher-plc-steps/

Serviss, J. (2019, November 6). 4 benefits of an active professional learning community. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/professional-development/4-benefits-active-professional-learning-community

One Comment

  • Jan White

    Thanks, Sarah. This post is such an encouragement for me. I have been wanting to have more of a Twitter presence and your post makes it seem like an exciting adventure. I’m following you now – and thanks for all the other suggestions to add to my list. Also thanks for highlighting Ed chats and Tweet Deck – I will be looking into how to use those features.

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