1. Professional learning is available when you need it, 24/7.
After hearing Kevin Honeycutt (@kevinhoneycutt), I was convinced I needed a Twitter account. Although I signed up immediately, I didn't really use it for more than an avenue to track celebrity gossip and breaking news. Then, I discovered FlipBoard and began finding legitimate professionals to follow. I rarely forget to eat or sleep, but Twitter for professional development has caught me wondering why my stomach is growling or I am yawning . Any time, anywhere. I can be reading professional journals from my iphone between innings of my son's ball game! If there's 12-step program for addicted Tweeters, I may need the contact information.
2. Tweet chatting and following hash tags are effective for collaboration.
During the school year, we constantly wish for more time to collaborate with teachers. Various structures and procedures to creatively design collaboration time are put in to place. But, it's never enough. Teachers visit other schools for specific peer observation opportunities and collaboration, but there is only so much in the substitute teacher pool for release time. Setting up a weekly summer tweet chat with our own hash tag (#10TuesTweets) has proven to be an effective way to have professional discussions and learning with each other, but also with others from around the world. And, these discussion can take place without hiring a babysitter, or from the checkout line at the grocery store!
3. Professionals from around the world are ready and willing to help.
Ask and you will receive. I have not found anyone who will not extend themselves to help a fellow colleague. Twitter is a network that gives us no excuse to claim we can't find answers or help from others. I try my best to pay it forward and share every chance I get. I consider my PLN to be a network of "virtual" friends and colleagues.
4. Tweets can be a "link" to unlimited resources in the form of blogs and web resources.
Tweets are a "link" or a window to professional blogs and web-based resources. It never occurred to me that 140 characters could lead to so much information and resources for professional learning. I now have a number of blogs that I follow regularly that I might never have found without my Twitter connections.
5. Social media is not a one-way ticket to disaster, but a gateway to self and organizational improvement.
I, like many parents and educators, lived in fear of social media. No way was anything positive coming as a result of my being involved. My own children forced the issue. So, I began my journey first as a watchdog mom. Little did I know, it would improve me as a professional and energize my passion as an educator. Thanks kids! And thanks to all of my colleagues and friends in my growing professional learning network!