I am not good at social media. I have it in my personal life but rarely post. I created a twitter account as part of an assignment in PDP but only used it when it was absolutely required. I admittedly do not use social media as a professional development tool, ever. Then, I hear other educators who are passionate about using technological tools to develop professionally. My reaction is split, on the one side I am inspired and intrigued at how people include such a rich technological presence in their professional practice. Specifically, how they manage their time and prioritize professional engagement with social media. On the other side, I am unbelievably overwhelmed by the task at hand. Trying to learn new technologies, incorporate them into my practice, and finally contribute to the education community. The task seems too daunting to even begin.
With all this battling inside my brain, I can’t help but think of my students. How do they feel when I give them an assignment where they are unfamiliar with both the media and the content? Most importantly WHY DO I EXPECT THEM TO USE NEW MEDIA WHEN I RESIST USING TWITTER? Twitter is an amazing tool that allows educators to gain resources and connect with other educators globally. It is an amazing way to develop professionally and improve your practice. But I get stuck when I try to include it in my own professional skill set.
Degroot, Young and Vanslette further discuss the use of twitter in the classroom in “Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility.” They found that student perception of professors were influenced by their participation on social media, specifically twitter. Degroot et al. found that students believed “self-disclosure increased [educators} personhood.” (pg. 421, 2015) Working in a high school setting, I will not be engaging with any of my students on social media. But what does twitter use mean for professional development? Do administrators and other educators evaluate their colleagues based on their engagement with twitter? And the one question I just can’t seem to get over, is it worth it?
Many educational professionals would say ABSOLUTELY. Twitter allows them to connect with like-minded individuals, gather/share resources, and find support within a community. So here I am, willing to try, in hopes that I will no longer be a hypocrite when I ask my students to engage with the unknown. Maybe I will even start to enjoy it and won’t need to use the ‘it will be good for me’ reasoning.
Now to all my readers (if you made it this far in the post) I am desperately asking for some sort of guidance on how to effectively include twitter (and other social media sites like it) in my professional development. I will gladly accept any tips, tricks, comments or suggestions that may help me invest in twitter.
Thanks in Advance
You can also ‘tweet’ me, @smith_rochellej with any suggestions to further my engagement in professional social media use.
Here is the first resource I found, a quick video on the basics of How to Use Twitter.