Self-Directing Professional Learning for Educators
Author: Donna Miller Fry
I am the Assistant Director of Education for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, a sessional instructor at Queen's University in Ontario and a member of the Advisory Board for the EdCan Network (formerly Canadian Education Association).
I am a former Secondary School Principal in Northwestern Ontario, for four years on secondment with the Ontario Ministry of Education as the Provincial Lead for Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching, a proud former member of OSAPAC, co-lead of OSSEMOOC, and former VP of ECOO.
As we move into learning about creating our online presence on Twitter, let’s take some time to see who other educators are recommending as great people to follow as you build your Professional Learning Network (PLN).
Below are some examples of Ontario Educator Twitter Profiles.
At this point, we hope you have had the opportunity to:
search Twitter anonymously for topics, hashtags, dates, individuals
create your own Twitter account and profile
follow others who have similar professional interests
follow others who will provide you with rich learning
Please see the list of posts on the right side of this page, or scroll down for the posts if you need to update any of your learning.
Today we are looking at the power of following hashtags on Twitter, a skill that is becoming more important across a number of different social media.
Hashtags allow you to take part in conversations, aggregate groups, follow learning at conferences, follow topics that interest you, and follow/participate in live chats that interest you.
Twitter explains hashtags here if the concept is new to you.
For new Twitter users, #ff or #followfriday is one of the best hashtags to watch for. Each Friday, Twitter users use this hashtags to suggest people to follow. This will help you build your online PLN.
If you are in Ontario, watch for the work done by Doug Peterson.
You can search for #ff or #followfriday on any day.
Suggested Learning Activities
Together, we have been building a list of favourite hashtags here. Please continue to share hashtags you find that are of interest to you professionally.
Ask your colleagues about the hashtags they follow, or the hashtags being used at learning events that they are attending. What can you learn by following the hashtag?
For our courses, we use the #OSSEMOOC hashtag. Are you ready to share a favourite resource or link from your account using this hashtag? Next week we are learning about the anatomy of a Twitter Tweet, so if you feel that you need more support before Tweeting – that is coming!
Congratulations on creating your Twitter account. Remember that your profile is what others see as your online identity. How will they know your interests and your passions? How will others know what you like to share? Allow your profile to change with you. By keeping it up to date, you will find it easier to connect with others who you want to learn from and share resources with.
Today we are thinking about how best to build our Twitter feed – the tweets that arrive on our home page.
We have already shared Tom Whitby’s well-written, concise guide to building a rich PLN through Twitter here.
How can you quickly get value in your Twitter feed? Follow people who will share the things you want to learn about.
We can do this through lists.
It’s helpful to take some time over the next few days to follow some people and look at their lists. What lists interest you? Who on the list will contribute to your learning?
Taking the time to build your Twitter feed will help to ensure that you are getting the best professional learning possible on Twitter.
Today we are reflecting on what we have found by using the simple and advanced Twitter searches, and we are thinking about what we might want our profiles to look like as we create accounts in the future.
Here is a fabulous new resource to help push this thinking – another thoughtful blog post from Tom Whitby: Who Should I Follow on Twitter? This is a beautiful simplification on what is important when learning to use Twitter professionally. We highly recommend that you read this as you move forward in your work with Twitter.
Over the next few weeks, consider the following reflective questions:
1) What have you learned so far from your Twitter searches?
2) Where is the value to educators in being competent (or excelling in) the use of social media?
3) What is the best way for educators to learn about social media?
4) What are your goals when it comes to using social media in your professional life?
Yesterday we had the opportunity to look at how we can access Twitter anonymously and search for tweets that might interest us, using hashtags or simple searches. This is very helpful, for example, if you want to follow the learning from a particular conference or learning event.
As you might suspect, the Twitter Search can be much more functional and complex.
By choosing “Advanced Search”, you can really tweak the kind of information you gather on Twitter.
This screencast demonstrates the advanced search for you.
Try a few searches of your own.
1) Do you have a favourite researcher or education leader? Can you find their Twitter handle (account) and search it for what they are tweeting? Some suggestions are Dr. Simon Breakspear, Dr. Andy Hargreaves, Dr. Michael Fullan, Dr. Alec Couros, Dean Shareski, Tanya Avrith, George Couros, Ira Socol, Dr. Tony Wagner, Bill Ferriter, etc.
2) Can you think of a favourite conference that you weren’t able to attend? Can you search for the learning that happened there?
3) What international event can you follow on Twitter based on the location or timing of the event?
Next week we will explore how creating a Twitter account allows you to follow people who are tweeting about things that are interesting to you, or valuable to your professional learning.
Please feel free to respond in the comments if you have questions about this learning.
Twitter is like a huge public library of information. Learning the skills to find the information you need, and to send out the information you want to share to the right audience, are important digital skills.
Today we are learning the very simplest way to access information on Twitter – an anonymous search. Here is a demonstration of how it is done.
Try searching for things you are interested in. Try the different types of searches like top and live. What happens when you choose Accounts? There are many interesting people sharing on Twitter.
Some popular education hashtags include #notabookstudy, #mathleadersNEO, #fdk, #onted, #ontedleaders, #ossemooc, #cpchat. What others can you find? What hashtag gives you information that is of interest to you?
Start building community and collaborating with others in this course. We have set up a google sheet here to collect your favourite hashtag. Please visit the site and share an education hashtag you have found. Several hashtags and lists of hashtags have been shared on this page. Bookmark it as a resource for further learning.
(This lesson is optional. If you are not interested in learning about the thinking behind this tiny, independent MOOC, please feel free to move on to the next lesson).
This “course” is set up as an asynchronous MOOC. We would like you to think about how this course is different from others you may have “taken”.
Sometimes teams or groups of educators work through this course together so that they can share their learning.
This course is a tiny MOOC. What does that mean? We think Dave Cormier explains it really well. For the full video, check out our OSSEMOOC site here. For more information on kinds of MOOCs, an explanation can be found here.
Please click on the title (Twitter for Absolute Beginners) to go back to the list of “lessons”.