A couple of years ago if you asked me what I thought about social media sites like Twitter, I would have mentioned how they are nice to keep in touch with old friends. Or maybe even something like, I think my students are on them too much. This year has really change my mind about how to use social media….especially twitter.
For many years I had a Facebook account, and used it to keep in touch with friends and extended family and see pics of their families. Then about this time last year I started to notice how people’s post were getting on my nerves. Either they were forcing their view upon me, or just over sharing. I know that Twitter had a character restriction, which seemed interesting because it would logistically limit peoples ranting. So I started using my Twitter account more and Facebook less. At first I was following some friends and some sport players and people connected with sports, but my principal at the time Glenn Robbins (@Glennr1809) was using it for professional reasons. We had an Edcamp style PD one day, where Glenn spoke about how to use Twitter professionally. I attended and started using Twitter for professional reasons too.
Of course one of first follows I had for professional reason was Desmos (@desmos). This had become my new favorite tool in the classroom. In the spring last year Desmos posted on Twitter that they were going to offer a Fellowship at their HQ in San Fran. I was intrigued so I filled out the application and was chosen. Besides the free trip so San Fran, this Fellowship gave my career a spark that I didn’t realize I needed. The training we receive was awesome, but the professional connections I have made from that trip have given me a reason to think about my professional path, and how I want to improve. The Fellowship has given me a support team that helps we design better activities and lessons for my students. In addition is has given me reason to explore topics that I would never would have, because I teach Algebra 1. Some of those topics are polar coordinates, parametrics, and locus of points . Exploring these topics have made me explore mathematics to a level I haven’t since my college years.
Another benefit of being on Twitter is that I have been created my own professional support group, from basically throughout the country. I have made social media connection with math teachers, math coaches, and administrators. These relationship have led to great dialogues about techniques and and educational philosophies. Following them on twitter also led me to following some of their blogs, which given even more room for discussion. I like the give and take and support that we can offer one another. Twitter has basically offered me PD whenever I want it!
Calling Twitter social media is a little misleading for me. For me Twitter does offer social media for me, a nice way to connect with some people I want to from sports; but more importantly it offers me professional connections and relationships to help me grow professionally. If you are a teacher, and don’t have a Twitter account, you should really consider it!