TL Blogging Challenge #13 – Share all of your professional social media contact info and links. How do you engage in social media for professional learning?
Even though I use Pinterest, LinkedIn, Feedly, and this WordPress blog as professional tools to connect with other librarians and educators, I’ve been hesitant about Twitter. I knew it could be a professional development tool, but it came down to time.
I knew about the #TLChat and #TLElem weekly chats, but they were always in the evening. My evening time is strictly for family and friends, and that’s one of my best strategies for balancing home and work. So I originally discounted extensive Twitter use because I thought I couldn’t participate in the conversations in real-time.
As I’ve explored more of Twitters features and what a hashtag actually means, however, I’ve discovered (again) the beauty of asynchronous learning. I don’t actually have to be around on Monday nights to participate in the #TLChat, though I’m sure the experience is different in real-time. Anyone can still learn from the TLChat or TLElem chats by reading them afterwards.
Still…I mess up a good deal. Twitter has its own language, jargon, and etiquette. If you haven’t used Twitter before, it’s confusing and utterly overwhelming. I just learned today that the accepted number of hashtags per tweet is only 3. Oops! For newbies like me, there are lots of blog posts and “beginner guides” for teachers, but my favorite is Amber Coggin’s Twitter for Educators: A Beginner’s Guide. It’s a short 11-page PDF document that packed with helpful hints and tips!
It’s hard to get used to formulating my thoughts in short 140-character blips, AND remember to include the right hashtags (# symbol) and reply to’s (@ symbol). I often tweet something and 2 seconds later, I realize that I forgot a hashtag all together, or I forgot to include an @ symbol so it would get to the person I want to have a conversation with. It’s a learning curve, that’s for sure.
But…I really have learned SO much! I started with seeking out maker educators in the #MakerEd conversation. What a kind, generous, and helpful bunch they are! As the makerspace movement starts to really take hold in education, it’s exciting to connect with the people who have experience, so I don’t repeat the same novice mistakes they learned from. Interestingly, most are in private and charter schools. I still haven’t found too many makerspaces in public schools, and even fewer in elementary public schools. It’s still a growing movement, I suppose.
The tipping point for me going all-in on Twitter chats and conversations was Joyce Valenza’s comments at PSLA this year. At the Unconference on Friday night, she made the excellent point that Twitter is now the de facto place to connect and share online. It’s not email list-servs or blogs or Facebook. It’s Twitter. So you have to be on there to be part of the conversation. Realizing that I was missing out on important happenings in the school library world convinced me that I had to up my game on Twitter and start paying attention.
My favorite hashtags right now:
- #TLchat – Teacher-librarians and related discussions
- #TLelem – Elementary teacher-librarians and related discussions
- #TLhack – Joyce Valenza started this with her blog post last month
- #PSLAchat – PA School Librarian Association’s newly created hashtag to discuss PA school libraries
- #MakerEd – Makerspaces in education, and teachers who advocate for them
- #LibMaker – Makerspace in libraries (any kind of library)
The blogging challenge is from Cybrarian Jen at Where Books and Technology Meet. I’m going to try it out, but instead of daily posts, I’m going to try for 1-2 posts a week. Follow and learn with us! The participating blogs are listed in the comments of her post.
Bird image adapted from Pixabay.