This evening, I read a tweet from Louise Dance exclaiming the power of Twitter. I have to wholeheartedly agree with her. Several months ago, after sharing a previous blog asking for support with developing a new assessment system, Michael Tidd put me in touch with the White Horse Federation. That simple tweet started a conversation between myself and Simon Cowley, and led to a meeting where he, Louise and Alison Capstick shared their newly developed (and particularly simple but brilliant) Band Progression Sheets. Here began a relationship between their schools and ours which I hope will be further developed in the future.

Simon talked us through how they had sat down as a Federation and developed the Band Progressions Sheets and how they are being used. We talked about how they could be used in our school, as a stand-alone assessment system but also alongside Target Tracker to monitor the progress of our children. Even though the Band Progression Sheets were still being developed and tweaked, I took some of them back to school to trial with my children. After having gone through one assessment point and approaching our second, it is very clear that these sheets work. We have come across a few problems along the way, as we have had to completely change the way that we assess our children, and we are still perfecting our approach, but the sheets work. Two weeks ago, I introduced them to the staff. I was expecting some opposition from them, but there was none. They can see that the system clearly works and will benefit our children greatly, as we will be so much more confident in recognising the strengths and weaknesses. They can see that these detailed assessments will inform our planning, especially as we are intending to tailor these plans far more to the needs of groups and individuals.  There is so much uncertainty around assessments in schools at the moment, that I think the staff appreciate the fact that we have a definite system in place for my year group, and that we have ironed out teething problems ready for the rest of the school to join us in September.

I am incredibly excited to now be able to share the Band Progression Sheets with the rest of the school: already, several members of staff have asked for copies of theirs so they can get to grips with them. I never thought I would see it, but there does seem to be a bit of a buzz around assessments at school! Today, I went to visit Mountford Manor to see how Louise and her team use the Band Progression Sheets in the classroom. I came away further enthused about assessment and with more ideas to take back to the staff at my school. On top of that, I have come home with lots of other ideas that I’m going to poach: activities for the classroom, display ideas, challenges for the children, and a serious case of classroom envy! The school was an amazing place. Bright, vibrant, and full of incredibly motivated and focussed children. And of course, I met some fantastic teachers. Louise and her team were some of the most enthusiastic people I have come across for a long time. They are an absolute credit to the school, to the White Horse Federation and to our profession.

None of this, the ideas, the assessments, the visits, the new friendships, would have been possible without Twitter. The power it has and the opportunities it can lead to are amazing. If you aren’t a Tweacher yet, here’s my advice. Do it! Find some teachers you know, go through their follower/following lists and get stuck in! Who knows where it will lead.

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14 thoughts on “The Power of Twitter #2

  1. Hi there.
    I’m conducting PhD research into teacher professional learning using Twitter. I’d be really interested in your opinions. Would you be able to answer a few questions here on this post (or elsewhere)? There’s more information about my study here https://cpdin140.wordpress.com/about/participant-information-for-bloggers/ together with my contact details should you have any questions, but there’s of course no obligation.
    Thanks,
    Ian (@IaninSheffield)

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      1. Thanks Hayley; really appreciate that.
        Wonder if I could start by asking why Twitter in particular? There’s plenty of social media options out there, so why has Twitter been the one which proved to be so ‘powerful’ for you?

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      2. I only really use Twitter and Facebook- FB is my personal account and so Twitter is my professional on. The networks on Twitter seem to grow very quickly as you make links between people. However, at times, its strength can be diluted if you follow too many people- I find reviewing who I follow regularly helps. Many of the regular chats which take place are great for finding new sources of information, although it is easy to just follow people with the same views that you have rather than following those who may oppose you.

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  2. I can definitely see why separating the two lives – professional/personal, would be important, but can I ask why you settled on Twitter for the professional, rather than Facebook? Just the way it worked out, or were there things about Twitter that made it better suited?

    Your post provides a powerful narrative of a sequence of beneficial outcomes arising from a single tweet. I notice that you tagged the post CPD, so I wonder if I could ask you how what you wrote in the post maps onto what you view as CPD/professional learning? … or perhaps it doesn’t and I’m making an assumption?

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  3. I had already established a personal FB page before I even discovered Twitter, so I wanted something different for my professional account. It seemed that the world of Twitter was set up for the sharing of ideas, and finding people to follow was very easy. Using apps like Crowdfire also made it easy to find new, likeminded people.
    For me, the post reflects my CPD as an assessment leader – the initial tweet itself led to conversations and meeting which furthered my learning. Sometimes, tweets can give direct information that develop me as a teacher -ideas, apps, resources, websites, documents to read etc, but on other occasions, it’s the interactions with other people (either face-to-face or online) which lead to the greatest developments.

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  4. In a sense then, a tweet might act as a catalyst? It sets in place a chain of events which spread outwards, sometimes leading to physical resources and sometimes to connections with other people? That’s really interesting.

    So the PD you’re enjoying through Twitter is ‘furthering your learning’ and ‘developing you as a teacher’. If someone was to ask what the tangible outcomes of those two actions were, what would you show them? I guess I’m asking, how are they manifest?

    [And Hayley, I really appreciate the time you’re taking in providing answers, but am only too aware that time is a precious commodity, so if at any point this becomes too onerous, I will fully understand if you’re unable to reply. Thanks.]

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    1. I think I could show people the assessment system I have put in place which came about through Twitter conversations, tracking systems I have introduced, resources and apps I have used (such as Kahoot and Explain Everything). Displays in my classroom have been created through being introduced to websites like Rasterbator and activities such as Slow Writes came about through Twitter- there are many, many tangible ways in which I could show how I have developed as a teacher and how the practice of me personally and my school as a whole has been influenced through Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So there’s been an expansion in your personal repertoire, but also changes in the practice of colleagues, like through the progression sheets?
    Would I be right in thinking that changes in colleagues have come about as a result of *your* participation in Twitter, or are some of them ‘tweachers’ too? And would you say Twitter has something to offer everyone, or do people need particular skills/attitudes/beliefs in order to make the most of it?

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    1. I’m the sole Twitterer in school so pass things on. I do think you need to have an openness to change and a willingness to explore to be a “Tweacher”- a lot just don’t want to know.

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      1. Thanks Hayley. One final question if I may?
        “None of this…would have been possible without Twitter” Twitter’s commercial success has been called into question recently, so given how important it’s become for you, what would you do if it folded?

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      2. If it folded, I would of course, be disappointed. However, I am confident that educators would find another platform for sharing ideas and opinions. It would be frustrating to have to build a new PLN, and very time consuming, but I am sure a new way would be found. Twitter, was, for a time, the new Facebook, and it’s inevitable that Twitter will be surpassed by something else. It’s vital that teachers have this kind of platform as there is so little CPD available in schools.

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