New twitter users usually look overwhelmed and, frankly, lost. Twitter is a world of its own, and a tool teachers should be using to establish a Professional Learning Network.
A Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a network of people with a common profession/practice that share ideas related to their field to learn from one another. Establishing a PLN early on in the teaching experience can prove to be highly beneficial. As a teacher, I know that first year is stressful. Attempting to manage students for the first time while integrating the great ideas from your credential/masters program does not always run smoothly. Having a PLN to work through the do’s and do not’s can really save a new teacher from drowning. But PLN’s benefit every teacher, keeping their ideas fresh and up-to-date while providing feedback and new resources. Twitter is one of the easiest ways to start a PLN.
To start a PLN on twitter, and to manage all those tweets, start with lists. Make a list of people that fall into the same category. I would start with a list of teachers in your content area or grade level. Since there are some awesome educators on twitter, follow with a list of those that inspire you. Have lists for local teachers as well as teachers whose tweets you love. Beyond lists, save your searches. Since I teach math, I saved #mathchat because teachers are always sharing math resources with one another. Other examples are #edchat or #HSMath. Personalize, but make sure you choose searches that other educators are posting in frequently enough. When you post something related to a search, make sure you # it. Lastly, start @-ing people. When you respond to educators, they will respond back.
Twitter moves fast. Establishing a PLN may not happen overnight, but with persistence, it could happen within two.