So today, I set myself the challenge of writing something meaningful.
I thought long and hard, and settled on thinking about how Twitter has changed my way of teaching. My lovely husband, who is a very-nearly teacher, often says he wants to get into Twitter, but just doesn’t quite get how to get into it. So here goes: my Twitter sales pitch.
This time last year, I was on maternity leave. Being the conscientious teacher that I am, I would regularly check my work emails and read the minutes of staff meetings, and one day, a colleague mentioned using Twitter. Being a curious soul, I thought I’d have a look. I’d already set up an account, used for useful things such as stalking my teen obsessions (Phillip Schofield!), harassing Radio 2 DJs by asking for requests, and generally looking up the hashtags that seemed to flash up on lots of trendy programmes. So, all in all, I hadn’t been particularly overwhelmed.
However, I thought I’d give it a go. I looked up my colleague and started following lots people from her list, and suddenly, a whole new world of information started to open up to me. Of course, some of them I stopped following, but my list just keeps growing, and I have already found so many people to enthuse, support and inspire me.
In the few short months that I was away from school, so much seemed to have moved on, and I could have easily been left behind. People like @Lisa_Learnpad, @ICTEvangelist and @ICT_MrP constantly give me new ideas and advice for how to use technology in the classroom. I’ve been introduced to Learnpads and Padlets, QR codes and Augmented Reality (although I haven’t used that one yet!), all of which were a foreign language to me. Others, like @MichaelT1979 and @jpembroke help to bring some sense and practicality to the minefield that is Assessing Without Levels. They help to keep me one step ahead of the game – documents that are forwarded to me from my head and the LA advisor are already in my files, thanks to Twitter. I’m sure the staff at school are fed up of hearing me bleating on about yet another idea I have found from the internet, but I’m not ashamed of that. I’m proud that, after 15 years of teaching, I can still get excited and enthusiastic about my job.
Of course, with idealism there is always a realistic downside. There are many, many fantastic ideas out there which I would love to implement in school, but I just don’t have the authority. Yet. Others I don’t have the space or the resources for. There are lots of brilliant ideas which I think would terrify the staff if I tried to introduce them (such as @ICT_MrP’s QR code lesson objectives), but that I can’t implement in my own classroom without it being a whole school approach. What I need is an SLT ally: someone who I can get on side with these fantastic initiatives and who can then help me to roll them out. So, while I work on finding myself a Twitter friend, I’m just going to keep on being excited by all the fantastic stuff I stumble across each day, and keep putting it into my own classroom practice. And for all of you fantastic Tweachers out there with the brilliant ideas, thank you, thank you thank you… please don’t stop the Tweeting!