It's All about Hashtags
As a part of this week's assignment, I just created my own TwitterDeck!
To be quite honest, I have never been an active user of social media sites (I even have opened and closed a few Facebook and Twitter accounts.) However, I have noticed that with opening each new account the ways I used them changed as well; they became more oriented toward my personal and professional interests (as opposed to simply keeping a collection of people I had met at some points in my life.) My best use of social media occurred when I was blogging; suddenly, I created a network of people who had never met, yet they had something meaningful to share based on their mutual interest on the topic!
The course that I am taking this summer (Social Network Learning) is taking me further down that path: I am creating my own network centered around my professional interests. Setting up the Twitter Deck was a step in that direction. Specifically, I have (finally!) discovered what the hashtags are and how they can be useful. The following are only a few that I am now following for my professional development: #education, #edutech, #edtechchat, # educoach, #curriculum, #instructional. In addition to these hashtags on education and educational technology, I have also discovered many related to specifically teaching ESL: #teachenglish, #eslteaching, #tesol, #vocabulary, and #ielts. I feel overwhelmed, yet very excited!
I don't think I really need to discuss the value of the hashtags that indicate edu or edtech! Just looking at those titles! I have already come across a few thought provoking articles on teaching, student motivation, and using new technologies for learning.
#IELTS I have always looked for ways to include authentic materials into my IELTS prep course. Now I think I have found great resources! I have found tips, questions, and strategies that I can now share with my students. I can also follow conversations/discussions by people who have already taken the test so that I can learn from their experience.
#projectbasedlearning Another area of my interest. Just as I added a new column based on the hashtag, I was able to select a few great articles that 1) provided an interesting lesson plan with ready to download materials, 2) outlined the differences between a project and PBL, and 3) shared a blog with students' examples and reflection on their experience with PBL. So cool!
#TESOL I only added this hashtag a few minutes ago but already have a library of resources on teaching spelling, vocabulary, and grammar as well as professional development and job opportunities!
To sum up, Twitter is no doubt a great resource that can deliver "just-in-time" professional development in any area, and it is here to stay (I will make sure it stays this time - no closed accounts anymore:) I am certainly looking forward to my future discoveries and opportunities to learn what I need and when I need it!