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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Guerrilla PD - The Rise of Social Media for Educators

I was recently asked by a group of preservice teachers what has been the most powerful professional development strategy that I had undertaken during my career? This was a profound question because they had give me permission to share with them a practice that had revolutionized my world as an educator. My response initially took them by shock but as I explained my reasoning and philosophy they discovered an untapped supply of experts, experience and resources.

Social media once was just thought of as a means to connect social stories, updates and status but in recent times there has been a professional revolution with many educators taking up Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest etc. as a means for quality professional development. It has become a form of "Guerrilla Professional Development" where educators have access to professional conversations happening around the world anytime, anywhere, without cost and restriction. For me my choice in social media has been Twitter and Linkedin as they flatten my world and removes educational hierarchy. People are people even if they are professors, doctors or classroom teachers. In my professional network I have some of the world's most innovative educators and researchers. I find they have no problem taking time to inspire and encourage good practice and are willing to engage with me as a professional and with my students.

Craig Kemp has written a wonderful post on "10 Steps to Creating the perfect Educational Twitter Account" it is definitely worth the read. When I professionally use twitter I engage a viewer called tweetdeck to organise the chats that I am following. In doing this I am able to track trends and interact in a productive way.

In understanding how twitter works you have 140 characters to post a comment. This is known as microblogging. Each user has a username known as a handle for example @hostbrian and the use of a hashtag # creates conversations between groups of people that are socially related or interested in particular topics. I describe them like classrooms!

The list of these professionals could go on and on, however; these are a list of some of my favourate educators to interact with:
Prof. Mark WestonSir Ken Robinson, Prof. Alec Couros, Vicki DavisCraig Kemp, Ritu SehjiAndrea StringerLeonie Bennett, Matt EstermanZeina Chalich, Sunny ThakralBrett SalakasAlice Keeler, Jason HoskingAnna CarswellMeridith Ebbs, Abi Woldhuis, Deb ClarkeMaggie MattsonJena BallMarty KeltzBev LaddDave Burgess and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Some of my favourate hashtags to follow and engage with that always offer quality professional conversations around pedagogy and practice are:
#aussieed, #satchatOC, #whatisschool, #inzpired, #dojochatanz, #makered, #tesoloz, #asiaed, #PSTchat, #BFC530, #tlap, #includeed, #educoachOC

As I continue to grow as an educator I have continued to innovate. Working beyond my own professional account similar to a growing number of teachers, I have successfully implementing a class twitter account. I have done this for the purpose of engaging students with an authentic audience from the community and connecting students to the world, optimising their understanding by using 21st century tools that enhance their learning.

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