Last year I berated my husband (@chamada) for always being ‘connected’ and checking his tweets. I couldn’t understand what he was doing and how this was important to do during stressful times. I decided that if I he was getting so much from this attachment, that I would do a challenge and test out Twitter for myself and see what the fuss was all about.
I started small. I researched some of the PE people that interested me. I emailed some of my friends in Australia as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, USA, Tanzania etc and asked them about their Twitter use and whether they used it and did a little research. It was interesting to gauge their responses and for me to think about what I was going to do with this medium. I admit that I don’t like Facebook, I have tried and still have an account, but I don’t like it, it isn’t easy to see what is happening and I can’t filter the information to separate my private and work life. I decided that I would use Twitter professionally to:
- find out what people were up to in their PE Departments in other International and regular schools
- follow some PE teachers – only follow people who shared their profile so that I could check that they were real people doing the same or similar jobs as me so that our experiences would make sense
- find out about some hashtags (when you first see them they look weird and daunting) and see what I should and how I should use them
- try and connect and grow as a PE teacher to be better for my students
After a few weeks I was really getting into some great conversations. I started using Hootsuite which allows you to filter your twitter account. You can then have different columns of tweets that show you different hashtags or your direct messages or home feed etc. I find this to be really useful so that I can filter out what is important to me. I have my home feed, I then look at #pegeeks and #physed and whenever someone uses this hashtag, I can see what they wrote. I have also filtered out #PEPLC as I am leading a group on this and want to see what others are doing! I also have direct messages, favorites (things I am interested in or want to read later) and I look at what some of my fave PE people are doing @mrrobbo @joeyfeith and @kenforde as I admire what they are up to and have big followers who ask some great questions and share their advice.
Update: A few months on and I have received more Professional development from Twitter than any other forum at this stage of my teaching life. A big thank you to others including: @PENathan @AndyVasily , Rick Baldock (ACHPER magazine) as well as DrAshCasey, KellyAnnParry and BlakeKampen. I have included the others who continue to inspire me on a weekly basis below. Please add them to your PLN!
There are other web-apps that stream tweets – twitter fall as well as tweetdeck and others. The important thing you will find is as you build up your Professional Learning Network (PLN) you can’t see everything. And you shouldn’t try! So keep those interesting people close at hand and then filter out the noise to stay true to your Twitter mission!
I have connected with some amazing PE people in the last year. I could never have met these people at one conference or PD week. I will never get to work with all of these people and I have connected with people who have the same interests as me which is really important to me – so I am moving forward with them. I am also looking at things that don’t interest me – as they are sharing new ideas or theories that blow my mind.
So with this in mind, I challenge you to get onto twitter, or to try and connect another PE teacher to twitter. Jarrod Robinson (@mrrobbo) has put out this great 14-day Twitter Challenge to get people started! It isn’t hard to do and is a quick PD opportunity every day. You can tweet or just read, you can share or not; you can join in daily or weekly. All of this is just waiting for you!
If you are getting moving, here are PE people to get you started, they are not in any particular order, but these are some of the people moving PE and talking about where we are moving as PE professionals. There are many more! So, take the challenge today and get your PE PD in an exciting and completely new way:
- Jarrod Robinson (@mrrobbo)
- Blake Kampen (@mrkampen)
- Nathan Horne (@PEnathan)
- Andy Vasily (@andyvasily)
- Blue Bridge (@MrBridge204)
- Kelly Ann Parry (@kellyannparry)
- Dr Amanda Stanec (@movelivelearn)
- Dr Ash (@DrAshCasey)
- Joey Feith (@joeyfeith)
- Ken Forde (@kenforde)
- Nicholas Endlich (@nichlasendlich)
- Jo Bailey (@lovephyed)
- Clarinda Brown (@clarindabrown)
- Nicholas Stratigopoulos (@Graciouswolf_PE)
- Ross Wickens (@MrWickensPE)
If you already use Twitter, and have some PE professionals that you admire, please share them here so we can really move our connections along.