All my life I have been told that I talk... a lot. I think I spent at least 5 minutes of recess, every day in first grade, on the line, because of talking. My Mom will even go as far as to say that my husband and I get along so well, because he has lost some of his hearing (too many years in a punk band:)
This brings me to the next reason I love social media. I can talk all I want!
Talk all you want, of course, doesn't necessarily mean everyone wants to listen to what you have to say, but through social media, you can connect with people who want to talk about similar things.
Many of my friends are also teachers, and when my husband and I go to meet them for dinner, we don't get out of the car without Nate lovingly reminding me that I don't need to talk about school the whole time. I know I'm not alone in this.... What can I say? I love what I do and I get excited.
Through social media I have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations about art and education everyday if I want to. I can share posts and pictures that demonstrate my ideas about art education and things happening in my classroom. I can pose questions about my lessons, materials, and educational philosophy. I can follow other art educators and see what they are doing, get inspired, and even collaborate.
Twitter is one of the best places to be for anyone looking to grow professionally!
On Twitter the people you connect with for professional reasons are called your #PLN or professional learning network. My #PLN is made up of working artists, educators, educational leaders, galleries, art classrooms, authors, illustrators, animators, inventors, app creators, art suppliers, local businesses and more.
You can also participate in Twitter chats related to specific topics of interest. Some of the best professional development I've ever experienced happens in these chats and it's totally FREE!
Now, I know what your thinking... that's not hard! I teach art and PD at my school almost never applies to me....
My question to you would be, if you're not getting it at school why not seek it out elsewhere?
Some topics of discussion for chats I've participated in include, but are not limited to, assessment, choice based art education, teaching empathy, stop motion, painting stations, teaching art history, youth art month activities, and school art shows.
What art teacher wouldn't want to talk with 10-20 other art teachers about how they make their art show special? We're always looking for new ideas and Twitter has them.
You may be wondering how these chats work when you can only post 140 characters...
The chats work by following a hashtag, such at #artsedchat, #edtechchat, or #K12artschat. The hashtag designates the group and allows you to connect with people talking about or interested in similar things.
Wondering how to find a chat?
I've been there too. You can find chats on various topics of interest by following other art educators and seeing what chats they follow or you can do it the easy way and resort to this official mega list of all chats education created and kept by Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1). Not only will you find hundreds of education focused chats local and global organized by day of the week and time, but also a list of educational hashtags and detailed tips for participating in a twitter chat. There is a reason this guy has over 50 thousand followers on twitter.
Each chat will have a designated start time and a moderator. While people can post to the hashtag at anytime, during this designated time, the moderator will post questions in an Q1:A1 format.
When the moderator posts a question they will include the label Q1, Q2, ect, to designate the questions number.
When responding to the question it helps to respond using A1, A2, ect. It makes it easier to follow the conversation.
Don't forget the hashtag! Anytime you respond you should include the hashtag so that others following the group can see what you are saying. Without it few people will see your response, questions, and ideas.
Can't be online when the chat is happening? That's ok, most moderators archive the conversation and post it so you can view it at a later time.
3 Major cautions for anyone considering using Twitter for professional development...
1. You may become so connected that you grow into a better art teacher than you were the day before
2. You may become so excited about new ideas that you can't wait to go to school the next day to try them out
3. Sharing is caring: Your next tweet could inspire others, brighten a day, challenge thoughts, start a movement, influence change, or validate learning.
Follow me on Twitter @MComp_OliveART and Instagram @GWDES_Arts
Original Post April 27, 2015
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