In the last two years I have gradually begun to take more initiative in finding professional development (PD) for myself. Some of this was due to a lack of permission to go on PD courses but more so because PD in my area is so widely available online and so under represented at conferences. I started slowly by following some blogs that I stumbled upon through a couple of groups that I am in. Our librarian told me of a few IT related groups that she followed, so I joined them as well.
Then I moved to Twitter and following a few selected blog posts from other educators. Twitter has now become my main source of information and PD. I still visit a few blogs regularly but I have found that many of the blog posts that I have found useful, ended up on Twitter within a few days of me reading the posts. Spending time doing this PD has made me realize that with the increased use of the web, the time for teachers waiting for PD to come to them or waiting to be sent to a training is over. There is no reason that as teachers can can’t improve our practice with ideas gathered instantly from the internet. There are teachers, trainers, facilitators, and companies posting good ideas and resources online at an amazing rate. It’s like having access to all of those great ideas from the Mailboxes magazine instantly at your fingertips at once. It is also good because you can get current ideas and resources from some of the top people in education instantly.
All you have to do is decide whose ideas you find the most helpful and follow them in some way. Be it on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, emails, their website, whatever you like best. It doesn’t matter how you get the information, just get it. You don’t even have to check it daily, because it will always be there waiting for you to access it! Use the internet to your advantage. Don’t shy away from it, embrace it.
This quote from a “you may be a 21st Educator” list pretty much summes it up. “One of your most trusted and reliable colleagues is in another state or country and responds just as quickly via social media as the teacher next door.”
Here are a few of my favorites from twitter: