How I Hacked My PD: The Power of Twitter As a 24/7 Learning Tool

THE BEST VIEWHave you ever wanted to be in two places at the same time? Do you often feel as if you’re being pulled in twenty different directions? In my roles as District Coordinator of Instructional Technology, ELA teacher, and father of four I frequently feel this way. Saturday was a good example of this as there were two education conferences in the NY Metropolitan area that I really wanted to attend, but family responsibilities prevented me from going to either of them. However, Twitter made it possible for me to “be” in three places at once!

Twitter Wordle 2013-06-25

Long Island Connected Educators Summit 2015 (#CELI15)


Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project 88th Reunion (#TCRWP)


Learning NEVER Stops on Twitter

The awesome power of Twitter allowed me to participate in both conferences simultaneously while at my son’s snowy LAX practice. As I sat in my car, I “rode” or followed both hashtags simultaneously using TweetDeck. I was immersed in learning: gathering lesson ideas for my ELA classes, favoriting new EdTech apps for my students and teachers to try and interacting with the participants in both conferences. This was pure bliss for an education technology geek like myself. It’s a prime example of Personalized PD and it’s absolutely FREE!


Six Take-Aways From My Personalized PD Session on Twitter:

  1. Six Signposts Prezi Presentation: Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading is an excellent book co-written by one of the keynote speakers at the TCRWP  reunion. I’m somewhat familiar with the book, but the golden nugget I found yesterday was discovered via the #NoticeandNote hashtag. Jamison Renfro had shared a truly awesome Prezi of the six signposts that authors of fiction use to alert you to important information. This outstanding presentation includes video link examples for each signpost. It is one of the coolest Prezi’s I’ve seen. You can view it and save a copy of it here: Six Signposts Prezi The Six Signposts
  2. Sneak Preview of the Six Nonfiction Signposts: Kylene Beers gave attendees a preview of her brand new Nonfiction Signposts and Allison Wasserman tweeted it out.      CBNhyocUMAEqJvx-2
  3. ParentCamp & Voxer: Amy Nardone shared her team’s entire presentation on google slides. Now the world can view this awesome presentation on maximizing Family-School partnerships! ParentCamp & Voxer Presentation ParentCamp & Voxer - #CELI15
  4. Teaching Figurative Language With “What Does the Fox Say?” Paul McNeil shared this excellent video that I will use to review different types of figurative language in class tomorrow. 
  5. Scratch: If you’d like to change the face of education, implement Scratch Julian Aptowitz shared this amazing website that allows students to create and share stories, games and animations while learning to code. You can check it out here: Scratch super_scratch_programming_adventure
  6. SLIME: Students of Long Island Maker Expo: WWP Library in Farmingdale, NY shared this flyer for an amazing expo celebrating the creativity and innovation of Long island students in grades K-12. Click the image to get your free tickets to this event.


This is just a little taste of what I learned in one afternoon of riding hashtags. The awesome power of self-directed, personalized PD on Twitter is simply remarkable. I’ve learned more in a few months on Twitter than in years of traditional professional development. I strongly suggest you choose a hashtag or two and RIDE!!


For Further Reading

How to Become a Better Educator

How and Why Educators Use Twitter: A Survey of the Field

Engagement Through Microblogging: Educator Professional Development via Twitter



16 thoughts on “How I Hacked My PD: The Power of Twitter As a 24/7 Learning Tool

  1. Pingback: The Power of Twitter: Professional Development At Your Fingertips | Mr. Kirsch's WordPress Blog

  2. Pingback: The Power of Twitter: Personalized PD At Your Fingertips | The Golden Age of Education | Teachers Matter

  3. Here’s what I love about Twitter chats. If you’re new to the chats, you can lurk & learn. If you’re comfortable engaging, the exchange can be rewarding & uplifting. If you’re contributing you’re enriching the experience for others. One can engage at any level and grow exponentially both in pedagogy & practice. I attribute my professional success in equal part to my commitment to lifelong learning & building a PLN that inspires me to do great & be great.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: » How to Create Your Own Professional Development Network Using Twitter Purdue University

  5. Pingback: New Teachers, Don’t Accept The Default: Suggestions to Ensure Success in Your First Year | The Golden Age of Education

  6. Hi Lee.
    I’m conducting PhD research into teacher professional learning using Twitter. I’d be really interested in your opinions. Would you be able to answer a few questions here on this post (or elsewhere)? There’s more information about my study here together with my contact details should you have any questions, but there’s of course no obligation.


  7. Thanks Lee. That’s really kind of you and I’m very grateful. Shall we try it here and if that doesn’t work for you, ‘adjourn’ elsewhere?

    You’ve made what i feel is an important point here that I’ve not read elsewhere and that’s the notion of being in several ‘places at the same time.’ Can you say a little more about why that is so important for you, and why Twitter was the means to that end (rather than say, other social media platforms)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The notion of being in more than one place at the same time is important to me because I frequently find myself being pulled in multiple directions; especially on the weekends. My children have activities to attend, there’s always something to take care of around the house, and I often have family obligations to honor. This often creates a conflict with my thirst for knowledge and desire for continual professional development. There are many conferences, edcamps and gatherings of educators each weekend and sometimes more than one are scheduled on the same day. I want to participate in EVERYTHING!
      This is where Twitter becomes the perfect platform for personalized, teacher-directed learning. The education community is especially vibrant and diverse there. It attracts a global audience of like-minded professionals who are always looking to push the envelope and expand their knowledge base. In fact, I recently wrote a poem about teachers on Twitter here:

      More than any other social media platform, Twitter offers educators a forum to passionately pursue personalized professional development whenever and wherever they may be.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for such a fulsome response Lee.
    It sounds like that for you, it’s not so much Twitter per se, as the people who are there, what they do what they espouse that are so attractive?
    Thanks too for the pointer to your poem. I’m pretty sure when I started, I never expected a piece of creative literature might contribute to my research! 🙂

    Having described the environment/community with which you’re engaged and some of the resources you found useful, I wonder if could ask you to think about your active participation? How would you describe what you do? Perhaps in the context of PD … or not?


  9. Pingback: How to Become a Better Educator | The Golden Age of Education

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