Twitter has changed my teaching career in a way I didn’t think possible!
My Twitter journey started roughly three years ago. When teaching my Year 4 class, I wanted to find a way to keep parents informed with what was happening in class. After a little persuasion, my head teacher agreed and my class Twitter account was created! It worked brilliantly as a parental engagement tool and sharing news, examples of work and sharing work produced by children with real professionals around the world had a massive impact in my class.
At the start of the next academic year, my role changed and I came out of the classroom to cover PPA across the school. I therefore changed the class Twitter account to a whole school account. This role also involved implementing a class set of iPads across the school and to evidence all the work produced on iPads we started a school blog.
After blogging and tweeting some of the iPad work we were producing, I was advised to start my own teacher Twitter account (@ICT_MrP). I also started my own teacher blog – mrparkinsonict.blogspot.com – and continued to tweet ideas from my blog. I quickly started to gain followers and received lovely comments from others on Twitter.
I was then asked by a school, who had seen my ideas through Twitter, to lead a training session as they had just invested in iPads. From there, word spread and I was then approached by Alan Peat through Twitter to work alongside them to deliver training focusing on enhancing learning in the classroom using technology. I now work part time in my school but also lead training nationwide and beyond recently returning from work in Dubai. I have led many conferences for Literacy Shed and myself and met some incredible teachers all over the world. I have Twitter to thank for this! The level of support, guidance and inspiration I have had has not only changed my career but my outlook on teaching.
For me, Twitter is the best form of CPD out there! It is free and it puts CPD in your hands. You don’t just access ideas and inspiration from the consultant that the SLT have decided to invest in. You decide who you follow and who you interact with and there are hundreds of thousands of inspiring teachers from around the world you can follow. If you work in a small or big school, you are limited as far as people within the staff you can find ideas and inspiration from. When you join Twitter, you become part of a global staffroom and the ability to share, interact and learn are fantastic!
Here are some reasons why teachers should have Twitter:
- Keep up to date with the latest educational news. Find out the latest news from the government, Ofsted and other educational experts.
- Follow experts in every aspect of education – visit their blog or website, ask them questions, be inspired!
- Ask other teachers for guidance, advice and lesson ideas!
- Use Twitter to share children’s work with parents and the school community.
- Interact with real life professionals and ask them to comment on your student’s work.
- Follow different Twitter accounts such as @abandonedpics to provide interesting writing topics in class.
- Share successful lesson ideas to inspire others!
- Connect your classroom with the world!
So if this has inspired you to start a Twitter account, here are some top tips to make the most of Twitter:
If you are worried about students or parents following you, choose a Twitter handle that doesn’t link to your name. Do the same with
your profile picture.
- Follow, follow, follow, make sure you have a timeline that is full of amazing ideas from great educators around the world!
- Join in the chats! #UKEdChat, #SLTchat and #Primaryrocks are just some weekly Twitter discussions where you can connect and chat about different topics related to school.
- Tag people in tweets- if you don’t have many followers, tag some teachers who do. If they retweet it, your tweet will be seen by many of their followers.
And my one personal rule is:
- Be positive! You may see tweets that you don’t like or agree with. Simply choose to unfollow rather than get into a heated argument. As a teacher you have enough stress with the job!
Lee Parkinson (@ICT_MrP)
Follow Collins on Twitter:
Primary teachers: @CollinsPrimary
Secondary teachers: @FreedomtoTeach
Revising students: @CollinsRevision