Sunday, January 3, 2010

Twitter for Professional Development

Next month, I am going to give a presentation on the benefits of Twitter for professional development in education.

I have presented to faculty before on writing centers and writing across the curriculum, but this talk will be broader. And, although it is not original, I think it's timely and crucial.

In education, there are many fine teachers who are excited by and on top of the latest technological tools. But there are also many more who might be afraid, or feel that it's now pointless, that they will never catch up.

I want to show everyone how easy it is to incorporate lifelong learning into daily routines, and how the sharing of information on Twitter benefits us all.

Twitter is like many things in life--it can be silly and gossipy and superficial, or it can be thought-provoking, inspiring and deeply useful.

Since I've been posting on and reading posts on Twitter, I have (some days--not all) learned so much. Just this morning, @CafeNirvana posted and Re-tweeted (RTed) about six articles that made me think, "I can use this in my teaching!"

Example: a psychological experiment that compares perceived personality traits with situations. Dubbed "The Good Samaritan Experiment," researchers hypothesized that people are more likely to help others if they are not being rushed (if they perceive they have time and aren't being pressured to hurry up) AND if they already have the parable of The Good Samaritan on their minds. Being rushed, I believe, was the primary reason people didn't stop to help an apparently-ailing "victim."

I want to use something like this for my own students. In Journalism class, I believe we can craft a similar experiment, try it out, and then report on our findings.

What else did I find on Twitter today? Wonderful articles on the nature of genius (what makes a genius?) and genius and "late bloomers" --can you tell that I am interested in this subject?--and poetry.

I read and will use it all.

Go ahead--create a Twitter account. Feel free to follow me @ecollins8

There is an impressive community of thinkers, writers and artists (and people interested in every subject imaginable) out there on Twitter.

Time on Twitter is, I am happy to report, time well spent.


  1. A very astute post. You put your finger on the reluctance of so many educators, artists, and other creative types to engage with social media. I'm sure this will be a rewarding presentation.

  2. Thank you! Maybe I'll get techy and up-to-the-minute and plan for video (which I'll then post). But if I'm feeling not-so-thin, the video may not happen.

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  4. I'm sure this will be a rewarding presentation.

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