I found connecting with people to form my PLN was a bit like being a detective. You just need one lead to point you in the right direction. Mine started , with this article from Jenny Luca (2012). After reading Luca’s article I chose some educators from her list and looked at their profiles and followed a few. These people included:
I started small by following a few people from the list plus some colleagues from my university course. I saw people they followed on their profile or people they had retweeted from. I started by lurking around, observing how things worked, bookmarking tweets that could be useful later on for teaching or reading further. One day I took the leap and retweeted an interesting tweet to our course hashtag #INF532. Somebody in our course responded! I learnt how add my own tweets, to send a Tweet with links from articles and web sites I came across that I thought would be beneficial to my PLN.
One retweet about the tool Wakelet resulted in the original Tweeter tweeting me to offer assistance if I needed it. It was it amazing to connect with others for the first time who I didn’t directly know.
At first, I found Twitter totally overwhelming, with a constant information source coming in, however a suggestion from Rhiengold (2010) that we need to be focused on what we pay attention by choosing what we look at in Twitter helped decrease my concern. I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the amount of information coming in but now I am being more selective of what I look at (or mostly bookmark to read later). Perez (2012) also gives advice that even if you can’t keep up with the information stream reading for a short amount of time (5-10 minutes) a day is better than avoiding it altogether. I have since discovered Tweetdeck to be a great tool. Read about my experiences with it here (Silver, 2019).
I often use this advice to just have a quick look when I feel overwhelmed and I’m glad I do. I have found so many useful resources to practical application and to expand my learning and thinking. I have even been able to use Twitter to assist another teacher to bring relevant, real time resources to their student’s learning. I was able to send the teacher links to articles about recent scientific discoveries that came up in my Twitter stream. I’ve started following some hashtags such as #ditchbook which provides fabulous ideas from educators around the world.
I now find my Twitterstream one of the most valuable sources of information and ideas, it certainly is a valuable tool for educators.
Are there any people or hashtags you particularly like to follow on Twitter?
Luca, J (2012, October 27). Personal Learning networks [web article]. Retrieved from http://education.abc.net.au/newsandarticles/blog?id=40029
Perez, L (2012). Innovative Professional Development: Expanding Your Professional Learning Network. Knowledge Quest, 40(3), 20-22. Retrieved from https://primo.csu.edu.au/discovery/fulldisplay?docid=proquest1010627392&context=PC&vid=61CSU_INST:61CSU&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&tab=Everything&lang=en
Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Educause Review, 45(5), 14 -24. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies
Silver, T. (2019, May 25). Tweetdeck [blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningawaits/2019/05/24/tweetdeck/