As Linda shares below, I discovered her while doing my research to write a Literary Review about using Web 2.0 to build your PLN. At the time, Linda’s article was the only one I could find that mentioned Twitter for Educators. Many teachers were talking about Twitter on blogs but there was hardly anything to be found in University data bases. I decided to follow Linda and last week end she wrote back. She also agreed to write about her experience here. Thank you Linda.
I first experienced the world of web 2.0 and the power of social networking for professional development when I participated in the PLN 2008, a 12 week online course run by the School Library Association of Victoria I moved from Melbourne to Singapore in 2009, and was inspired to share the PLN with a group of colleagues there when it was run again in 2010. That course is a supported step into the unknown for the uninitiated, but as I undertook this for the second time myself , with the new tools that had come online since the first time, I gained greater confidence in establishing an online network of peers whom I could connect with for professional growth. I wrote about that experience in the FYI journal of SLAV, and that’s how Clare found me!
My professional journey with colleagues at AIS and my PLN continues. This year we have our third PLN group at AIS, undertaking the PLN 2012. It is a small group, one of about 15 Teacher Inquiry Groups introduced in our school this year. I am blogging about it here. Leading this group compelled me to dust off a blog with a single post I started last December! One requirement of the group is that they start a blog, so of course I must too!
I have seen my own confidence and that of my library and teaching colleagues flourish as a result of exposure to the Vic PLN course; a lack of confidence, some degree of cynicism become replaced with a willingness to take risks, try new things and greater trust of social media; a sensitising to the power of Personal Learning Networks.
My own network continues to grow. I took another look at Twitter after a colleague at AIS told me how valuable she finds it for professional learning. I have found groups I like to follow – #tlchat; #vicpln; #ozteachers; #edchat; #edtech, to name a few. As my Twitter use grew, I was compelled to set up Tweetdeck on my ipad. One of the teachers I follow here in Singapore – @robinthailand established a new social group here and we met for the first time on Friday – #profsocial. I met several people I had only previously known online!
New networks and tools have emerged since I wrote Staying connected. Or at least my awareness of them is new. LinkedIn has really taken off as a professional network. I connect with groups like ALIA, and with library professional like Karen Bonnano whose posts I like to read. Library 2.0 is another great network and my library colleague and I participated in a number of sessions in their online conference last year. Through my subscription I get regular alerts to new webinars. Scoop.it has emerged as a great curation tool to follow. My favourites are School Library Advocacy curated by Karen Bonnano, and Social Networking For Information Professionals curated by Judy O’Connell.
Social networking for teachers is a powerful professional development tool that allows us to connect with inspirational and like-minded colleagues anywhere anytime. It’s the way I keep up to date and importantly, the way I stay motivated to learn and inspired to try new things.
Linda Twitchett. Head of Library and Information Services. Australian International School Singapore.