OLD Thing 3: Twitter & Other Online Communities

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INTRODUCTION

Congratulations! You already have a Personal Learning Network or PLN!  It may seem obvious, but a PLN is about YOU choosing what, when and how you want to learn. It’s about connecting with other professionals, online and in-person, and learning together, collaborating and sharing.  This workshop is part of you PLN. You’ve chosen to join an online learning opportunity with a whole bunch of other educators and you’re choosing what and when you want to learn.

What is a PLN?

WHAT ELSE IS PART OF YOUR PLN? 

Blogs, Websites: What education related blogs, news sources, websites do you follow regularly? These can be a huge piece of your learning network.

Local Colleagues: No doubt you have at least a few colleagues that you know you can turn to for help with developing new ideas and solving problems. For many of us, these people are often the core of our PLN.

Social Networks: But just because you have a rich network of local colleagues, don’t rule out online social networks as a another source of valuable connections. Social networks can help us connect with other educators in our local communities and around the world. This can provide an amazingly rich source of innovative ideas and support. Stumped with a problem that you can’t solve or need to brainstorm with someone? Maybe someone in your online community has faced this same problem and can share some good ideas. And you can do the same for them. We all have expertise, let’s share it!

Professional Organizations: Are you a member of local, regional and national professional organizations? What learning and networking opportunities do they offer?

Conferences & Edcamps: Attending conferences and edcamps do double-duty. You learn alot from the speakers and sessions. And even better, you can connect with and learn from other participants. Are you like me and a bit shy at conferences? Make connections ahead of time via social media. I’m amazed at the number of online friends who have become “in-person” friends & valued colleagues as a result of connecting online and then meeting at conferences.

Other pieces of the puzzle: Local and state organizations, professional conferences, edcamps, webinars, tutorial websites, and more.

You can use this PLN organizer to help you think about the pieces of your PLN.  When you click on that link, it will ask you if you want to make a copy in your own Google Drive. From there you can edit your own copy of the document.  Or download this PDF version.

RESOURCES TO EXPLORE

Facebook Groups: 

Twitter:

EXPLORE TWITTER

While Twitter isn’t the only piece of a PLN, it’s probably the simplest place to start connecting with other educators. And if you haven’t yet really figured out how Twitter works, this is your chance!

You don’t have to dive right in and join Twitter if you don’t want to. You can easily “lurk” – read tweets from folks who post publicly. And you can follow conversations about topics by searching for a “hashtag” that is being used to highlight conversations around particular topics.

Hashtags are short keywords that people add to their tweets to flag them as being related to a particular topic. If you’re at a conference, the organizers will likely decide on a hashtag for the conference. That way people can easily follow what’s going on at the conference, just by searching for the hashtag. Hashtags are also used for informal sharing of information via twitter. Two useful hashtags for educators are #tlchat (teacher librarian chat) and #edchat. You might even find some tweets about this course with the hashtag #slscooltools! This 60 second hashtag video is a great explanation of hashtags.

Some Twitter Tips:

  • It’s ok to lurk for a bit while you get comfortable.
  • Find a friend and practice tweeting with them.
  • You can keep your account private if you like, but others won’t see your tweets unless you let them follow you.
  • Perhaps better to be public and just not tweet anything terribly personal or embarrassing!
  • Share great resources that you find.
  • Share tips and ideas that have made your work easier.
  • Use the retweet option to re-share information that others have tweeted.
  • Watch for questions and offer to help others out.
  • It takes time to build a great community, give it time, it’s worth it.

Finding people to follow:

  • Check my list of EdTech folks or Joyce Valenza’s. (my list is hit or miss, so let me know who I’m missing!)
  • Start with the Who To Follow search page.
    • Search by name, though you won’t always find people that way.
    • Browse and search by interests.
  • Ask your friends!
  • Watch who other people are talking to and pick some people to follow.
  • People may not follow you back right away. If they have lots of followers, they may not even notice you started following them. To connect with someone, say hello! Thank them for sharing great information. Watch for a chance to help them out or offer an idea.
  • Afraid of being overwhelmed by twitter, these tips will help: How Twitter Can Power Your Professional Learning
  • If you find you’re suddenly following hundreds of people and can’t keep it all straight, use the Lists feature to organize people into groups.

LEARNING ACTIVITY

You’ve probably figured out that we’re encouraging you to explore Twitter! And since some of you are veteran tweeters already and some might be just a bit hesitant about joining twitter, we’re offering several options for this lesson.

Option 1: Not ready to join Twitter? Then simply explore instead.

  • Visit the Twitter search page and search for the hashtags: #tlchat, #edchat and #slscooltools (or any of these hashtags that are of interest)
  • Read through the tweets, taking time to explore some of the resources mentioned.
  • Also identify a few people that are sharing resources you’re interested in.
  • Write your blog post: 
    • Some things to consider
      • Did twitter help you find good information?
      • Interesting people? Anyone you know?
      • How might you use twitter?
      • Are you likely to join twitter in the future?
      • Include or link to your PLN organizer if you like.

Option 2: I’m ready to join!

  • If you feel comfortable just jumping in, then go for it!
  • If you want a short tutorial on how to sign up, review this tutorial from Twitter: How to Sign up on Twitter.
  • Search for the hashtags tlchat, edchat and slscooltools (or any of these hashtags that are of interest)
  • Read through the tweets, taking time to explore some of the resources mentioned.
  • Identify a few people that are sharing resources you’re interested in and follow them. Get connected! Follow them.
  • Write your blog post: 
    • Some things to consider
      • Did twitter help you find good information?
      • Interesting people? Anyone you know?
      • How might you use twitter?
      • Include or link to your PLN organizer if you like.

Option 3: Veteran Tweeters

*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT

  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL for the post.
  • Return to the Google Classroom assignment page.
    • Select your assignment.
    • Click on ADD –> LINK
    • Paste the URL for your blog post –> ADD LINK
    • TURN IN

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.