Twitter and TweetDeck As Professional Development

Each course provides new opportunities for me to broaden my horizons. Twitter, until recently, was a means to check a rugby score, or get security/weather/gate updates on our Mountain Home AFB feed. It never really occurred to me the wealth of knowledge waiting for me in my smartphone. Once I started following my teacher and classmates, the amount of information bombarded me to the point I was indeed shellshocked.
I guess I should have figured that others would feel similarly. Some wonderful person created TweetDeck. It made organizing the things I wanted to follow easy to lay out in front of me, allowing me to track my chosen educational feeds. The page is divided into columns. For me, this helps abate the sensory overload I experienced earlier.
Professionally, connecting to others in the field of education via Twitter offers me answers to questions I did not know I had. In a tiny window of time, I discovered more useful information than the “death by PowerPoint” type of faculty in-services I have experienced in my career as an educator.
Tasked to choose hashtags, I chose the following:

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 2.54.43 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-19 at 2.55.23 PM
I learned something new with each, so I have included both why I chose each one and what I learned this week.
#specialneeds – I choose this to keep abreast of the special needs community. Teaching students who learn differently can be filled with unique challenges. Staying current with best practices seemed logical. I was surprised that Kansas University Center for Research and Learning’s hashtag was not getting current responses as they generally lead the discussions for best practices. Special needs hashtag contains some parental information as well as educators. Some filtering is needed as not all posts are focused on secondary learning.
#teachingenglish – Certified in English/Language Arts, I wanted to explore what teachers are doing now. I discovered many educators doing amazing things in their classrooms. Again, getting more than I bargained for, as the community is not focused solely on secondary education.
#edleadership – Wishing to return to the boarding school community in the future and wanting to return to the Dean of Student’s office, it seems practical to see discussions administrators are having and how they are solving current problems. Many of the threads are either public school issues, or simply not secondary concerns. Regardless, it is comforting to see many of the issues discussed in EdTech 541 being discussed on this thread. I feel well prepared now.
#mlearning – Seeing how teachers are implementing mlearning and BYOD intrigues me. There are constantly new ideas being shared. The community shares ideas and questions. Again, I have to filter with a secondary lens; but there is much to learn and webinars are frequently promoted.
#artsed – Frustrated I have not located a specific hashtag for Theatre Arts, I joined artsed. I feel it might be too wide a scope for me. Most of the posts are Fine Arts or Music related and adding the secondary filter, there does not seem to be a great deal left. There seems to be resistance to technology with Theater teachers. I know, I felt the same way. I will continue to follow and see if more folks open up. At the same time, I hope to find a more focused hashtag for high school Theater. (High school drama gave me much more than I expected as that is filled with high school students venting about their lives.)
#NAISToF – Of all selected, I found this site most enlightening. National Association of Independent Schools Teacher of the Future is all that the title claims. Most US independent schools belong to NAIS. The sharing level is high on all fronts. Yes, there are K-12 educators using this hashtag so I will need to filter what is pertinent. However, this tag is full of my tribe. Issues are ones I can see having happened or ones I will face later. Also, the community seems supportive and discussions of technology integration are frequent.

Specifics I discovered

  1. I discovered a wonderful Roadmap developed by two mothers with children who learn differently to assist other parents in similar situations navigate choosing a school.
  2. An English teacher posted a great lesson for teaching non-verbal communication I could use with ESOL, ELA or Theater students.
  3. mlearning site offered iPad resources for 9-12 implementation.
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About "B" Bernheim
“B”, his nickname, returns to the other side of the desk after many years. Graduating from UNC-Charlotte in 1983 with a BA in Education (K-12), he entered active service with the US Army. He began teaching high school upon completion of his tour of duty. B taught Language Arts and Social Studies for one year at the middle school level. English, Composition, Public Speaking, Theater, Forensics, and Technical Theater are among the subjects he has taught in public high school settings. Most recently, he was a Strategies of Instruction teacher, Assistant Dean of Students, dorm parent, girls’ hockey coach and rock climbing instructor at The Forman School in Litchfield, CT. The Forman School is a 9-12 boarding school specifically targeting students who learn differently.

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