I joined Twitter last July in order to build my PLN...only I didn't know that's what I was doing at the time. After seeing hashtags everywhere (even on Facebook?), I decided to check out Twitter and see what it was all about. I knew, however, that I wasn't interested in following celebrities or Hollywood gossip. I simply wanted to check out Twitter and see if there were any educational resources available. I had been playing around with Pinterest and discovered valuable information there that I could use in my classroom, so I thought, "Maybe there's something valuable on Twitter."
Boy, was there ever! Teachers from all over the world were tucked away in this little corner of the Internet. At first, I had to really search to find them but that shows just how much of a treasure they are. I have stumbled upon something so worthwhile. Connecting and collaborating with so many talented, creative, passionate, and innovative educators on Twitter has been the single most important thing I've done this year to enhance my professional growth.
I have heard some teachers say that taking part in Twitter chats or really trying to build their PLN through social media would take too much time and really isn't worth it. I say that reading the posts/links and sharing ideas is time well spent and I'm shocked that anybody would think it's a waste of time! Actually, having a PLN has saved me time. For example, just this week I took part in a 45 minute Twitter chat about extension activities in math. Educators from all over were joining in and posting links, sharing resources and ideas, and encouraging each other. By the time the chat was over, I had 30 tabs open which were full of relevant information and resources. Do you think I could have found all that information in 45 minutes on my own?! Sure, I could have surfed the web and found many math sites, but I knew this was valuable information. I could trust the sites that were recommended because they had been used by other teachers whom I respect.
I also love that I can pose a problem or question and (sometimes within minutes!) teachers in my PLN will tweet a response, doing their best to help. A Twitter PLN is so supportive and helpful.
I am so thankful for all the creative and passionate teachers out there who are willing to share ideas and resources with me, along with lots of encouragement and support. There is great value in a Twitter PLN!