As promised…an update on Twitter.
When I first started using Twitter I was very apprehensive. I had not previously seen the utility in it for me, but decided to try it out for class as part of my creating a Personal Learning Network. The first week or so was a little awkward. Despite my professor’s suggestions, I was unsure who to follow. There were some suggestions from Twitter, but at the same time they seemed vast and narrow. I felt very lost.
I decided to go with the suggestions I was given to get started and started following a few of the suggested users, along with a few of my classmates. Then I added a few organizations that I had wanted to follow, and then some more. Then I found myself adding authors of articles I had read because I enjoyed the article and the resources they suggested and I wanted to have access to more of what they found helpful.
Though I am only following 36 users and have only 8 followers myself, it feels like I have done a 180 in how I feel about it. I am not sure what I was expecting, but the best resource that I have found in Twitter is people. Just everyday people, educators, sharing ideas. To me, this resource so much greater than any technological find I could grab from Twitter (though I did find a cool tool that a classmate is using called Vizify, an online all about me tool, but more about that in a bit). Through these people, I can find articles dealing with all sorts of education issues. To me, that is very exciting, and I am quickly learning how easily I can find a trail of new information to follow.
One of the cool new tools that I have found through Twitter is Vizify. It was one of the resources that we were given as a choice to look into in our technology class, but I had not checked out. I finally noticed it through my Twitter feed. One of my classmates tried it out and Tweeted the link. I checked out what he had done and found it a pretty neat tool. It is like an online All About Me tool. From what I can tell, it is set up kind of like a story web with you at the center, using your social media to help fill in the blanks. My classmate chose to do pages for career, school, and personal. From what I have seen, it is a creative way to visually tell about yourself. This is not something I am sure I will use, but it was certainly an interesting find.
Besides people and some new tools, I have also found certain organizations to be great resources. In my Twittering pursuits, I decided to follow educational and even environmental organizations like PBS and PBS Kids, Smithsonian Channel, Discovery Education, National Geographic, and Wildlife Conservation Society. For me, as a future elementary school teacher, these are great resources for enriching my class and keeping information up-to-date and relevant for my students, and I know that I will use these resources regularly.
Overall, I am very happy that I chose to try Twitter, and though I am off to a slow start, I can now see its usefulness to me as an educator. I look forward to growing my Personal Learning Network through Twitter and to becoming an active user. If you are an educator, either just starting out or trying to expand your Personal Learning Network and exposure to technology for the classroom, I wholeheartedly recommend giving Twitter a chance. I am so happy that I did. Click here to see my Twitter profile!