Specific examples of how Twitter has helped develop classroom practice
Collaboration and connecting with classes in other countries which were once inaccessible were some of the specific examples shared, but ideas, strategies and inspiration from other teachers have been implemented in classrooms across the land. Examples include: Developing practice in fixed and growth mindsets; quadblogging; wider range of independent tasks, exit tickets and peer/self-assessment; displays; behaviour management techniques; SOLO taxonomy ideas, all just a few of the list received. One teacher told us, “Whole class guided reading – stemmed from a brief chat online and has completely revolutionised my practice (and impacted hugely on the pupils’ end of year levels).” All these idea and strategies all inspired from teachers on Twitter.
And this is where the conflict lies. Used sensibly and responsibly, Twitter can be a valuable source of inspiration supporting teachers to develop and improve their own classroom practice. But the surveillance and negative view points of online social networking remain a concern. Some leadership teams are completely trusting and respect the private lives of their staff, whereas others are living in a strange world where they feel so concerned about the behaviour of their staff – perhaps this says more about the management than the staff. If you are concerned about the leadership team cynically watching over your online activity, there are steps you can take to minimise any come-back:
1. Do not reveal your true name/school within your Twitter profile or tweets.
2. Protect your account, only allowing for those you give permission to access to your tweets.
3. If you do reveal your identity, have a conversation with your leadership team encouraging them to contribute in conversations.
4. Maintain your integrity, professionalism and respect (Refraining from mixing tweets with alcohol!).
5. Common sense is fundamental, but this cuts both ways. Just be aware if your school leadership team lacks any common sense.
There are many positive aspects for teachers to use Twitter as a means of professional development and these can outweigh the negatives pointed out in this survey. The survey continues, with advanced analysis of responses and discussions continuing. If you would like to contribute to this study, please contact us by clicking here, with full publication of the findings due to be released in 2015.