Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

Using Twitter in Education – Reflecting on Professional Learning as it happens

Leave a comment

I posted this first on ASV Teachers – Showcasing ICT Use in their Classrooms:

For several schools in our system, weekly staff meetings have in the most part, been replaced with professional learning (PL) sessions where teachers gather together as a whole staff or in smaller professional learning communities (PLC) to develop their practice.

This week in one school, a senior leader with her ICT PLC – an action research group developing their knowledge, understanding and skills in the use ICT with their students – led other small groups of teachers to explore several  Web 2.0 or other ICT tools. Teachers could choose which ICT PLC leader to meet with. 

In addition to experimenting with a tool, during the session the teachers were asked to use a number of questions to reflect on their learning. Reflective questions included: How and when might you use this tool in your classroom with your students? Why might the tool be useful for you and your students? What outcomes might this have for students’ achievement? What additional support might you need to use this tool?

As strange as it may seem to some readers of this post, I have really only recently realised the value of Twitter in assisting me in my own professional learning. Consequently, even though I’ve had an account for three years it had mostly remained unused. Now I have begun following educators around the world who have expertise in a variety of learning areas and pedagogy, accessing learning from them and links from their tweets.

Through a tweet I came across the idea of teachers using Twitter to have their students to reflect on their learning while they were in the middle of it! As I work with teachers, I thought I might be able to try this with them too!

This week I was presented with an ideal opportunity to experiment because teachers were given focus questions to use for reflection. (Another objective for me was to try to model how teachers  might usefully use Twitter with students for reflection on their learning, or indeed other leaders with staff.)

So at the morning gathering of our teachers on the day of the PL I asked those with a twitter account to come ready to use the social media during the afternoons meeting – previously a ‘no, no’.

It was then that I found that not a lot of staff use Twitter anyway, but I went ahead with the idea. (About 6 teachers indicated that they have a Twitter account, and one decided to ahead and create an account.)

I created a school hashtag which of course, when attached to each tweet would allow those participating to access the conversation.

While the small conversation that developed focused more on the fact that we were observing a lot of interaction and collaboration during the session rather that the reflective tweets I had expected, the result was encouraging enough to have me try again.

I also hope that this experience, along with others to follow may develop into professional conversations about how social media like Twitter might be valuable when used responsibly in learning and teaching!

Stay tuned!

Related articles

Author: Sandra England

Learning & Teaching Coordinator F-12 at Gilson College, an Adventist Schools Victoria school. Twitter: @GCLandT or @sandy_e

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s