I often see it said on tweets that pop up on my timeline that #EduTwitter is the best CPD available to teachers. I’m fairly sure I’ve written similar sentiments in some of my own tweets.
It’s certainly true that at its very best the #EduTwitter community can be informative, supportive, positive and can help shape thinking and challenge ideas. From a personal perspective, a recent example of this occurred one Sunday night when I was preparing a report for my Governing Body. It occurred to me that there could be a better way of producing and presenting the report, but I needed some inspiration and ideas from which to work. I put out a tweet asking what others did and I had some wonderful replies from many experienced headteachers / tweeters such as @HoldHeadUpHigh @Fluffyhead28 and @AnniPoole. Where else could one tap into such a rich vein of experience with that sort of speed, efficiency and expertise? Several tweeters went on to email me copies of their report formats and I’m very grateful to people like @d_manby who took the time to do so. Not all in the #EduTwitter community are teachers; tweeters from the world of school governance such as @5Naureen and @mm684 also took the time to offer me their thoughts – further evidence of the broad church of experience and expertise that awaits those who venture into the land of #EduTwitter.
The range of conversations is exceptional and there is always something for everyone. Becoming an active contributor to Twitter chats is a great way to join in with topical debate or focussed discussion on an agreed topic. #UKEdChat from @ukedchat on a Thursday evening is a great place to start. There is also the wonderful #PrimaryRocks chat on a Monday evening which has introduced me to some excellent tweeters such as @MrTRoach, @simonkidwell, @Mr_A_Tennant, @johnbryantHT, @f33lthesun, @Elsie2110, @KarlDuke8, @MrsLamprecht, @gazneedle, @MrsSetto, @head_claybrooke, @Glazgow, @Paul_Steenkamp, @kateowbridge, @mini_lebowski, @etaknipsa, @AaronWanford, @MissSDoherty, @Parky_teaches, @bryngoodman, @goodman_ang, @RobGoffee, @MrHeadPrimary and @WalkingHead65. I recommend all these people as essentials on your follow list.
Sometimes Twitter extends into ‘real life’ with some tweeters taking the time to DM or email directly, extending the conversation and sharing resources. I’m grateful to people like @MrPranPatel, @ShaunDellenty, and @AlisonMPeacock who have done this for me. I try to do the same whenever people ask. The #BrewEd movement – the brainchild of @MrEFinch and @darynsimon – and conferences such as #PrimaryRocksLive enable you to take the ‘best CPD available’ concept further and I’ve been privileged to hear some fantastic speakers – funny, witty, clever, challenging, thought-provoking and totally engaging. This list is far from exhaustive but I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve enjoyed listening to @keran77, @ClareSealy, @MrGPrimary, @Positivteacha, @mrlockyer, @AlisonKriel, @ModernCassie, @jonnywalker_edu, and @rondelle10_b. Hats off to all of the tweeters who are also prepared to present live. In some cases, where you may not be able to attend, you can watch a live broadcast via periscope- such as the time I really wanted to listen to @RogersHistory speak at #BrewEdBrighton.
Some tweeters have helped me grow my Personal Learning Network (PLN) – @PaulGarvey4 and @deputygrocott are keen advocates of that and can help point you in the direction of fabulous people to follow. Some tweeters share really inspirational and positive messages from their work which encourage you to look again at your own practice and your own settings. School leaders @chrisdysonHT and @smithsmm are great examples. Teachers who take the time to share photographs of their learning environments, resources and latest initiatives such as @MissKhan__, @rachelanneashl1 and @Misterbodd are also well worth following.
For those who have a particular passion or interest, there are plenty of tweeters who have specific campaigns and foci: for reading/literacy see @Mr_K_Teacher and @redgierob, for wellbeing see @AdrianBethune, for inclusion see @iqmaward, and for SEND it is well worth giving @gdmorewood a follow. There are many other examples – just dig around and see what is out there.
Above all else, #EduTwitter is a friendly community of people who are there because of their interest and passion in education. The benefits of joining in and networking cannot be overstated – it’s a great way to extend your thinking and add another bow to your CPD. Occasionally it strays into the silly and daft – and the lighthearted moments are the perfect antidote to the stresses and heavy workload that teaching carries. People like @grahamandre and @drewpovey – serious heavyweights with important work such as championing gender neutrality and multi-sector leadership – are great at generating a good balance and involving people in fun such as music challenges and / or inspirational messages and videos.
I cannot finish this blog pass without mentioning @gainshillcrest – a school account which showcases just how important the fun factor is in education! Don’t believe me? Just check out @JungleMaster14 and you’ll see what I mean!
There are plenty of hashtags which are worth exploring, too. I like #PrimaryPicBookClub, #UKEdChat, #whyiloveteaching, #FollowFollowBack, #teacher5oclockclub, #FFEd, #PrimaryRocks, #FundayFriday, #FunPalace, #LookAfterLaxey, #LaxeySchoolCares, #EduTwitter, #SLTChat, #BrewEd, and #IQMAward.
In addtion to tweets and hashtags, you can also find many tweeters who blog or contribute written artcles to magazines and educational publications. Check out bios for links to personal blog pages: my own can be found at maximheadteacher.wordpress.com
Its really not possible to namecheck everyone I enjoy following on Twitter, but I conclude by thanking all of those I’ve referenced in this blog for making me a better educationalist. And I encourage all of you yet to venture into #EduTwitter land to do so. That is where the journey really begins!