Other than the toys and tools I’ve been using stemming from WIRED this year, my personal tech ‘breakthrough’ has been Twitter. Twitter itself is blocked in school, and mobile devices are not allowed to be used, but Twitter is also a phenomenal professional resource. I have been seriously impressed by the amount of discussion, the number of resources, and the general camaraderie that I’ve found amongst connected History educators.
By following half a dozen people whose websites I use regularly, I was quickly able to expand my ‘professional learning network’ (PLN) to gather ideas and thoughts from like-minded teachers around the globe. I don’t log in every day, but when I do I can quickly scroll through tweets and pick out the best of them. Engaging in public professional conversation is easy through the ‘reply’ button, and I can store the best tweets for easy access at a later date by using the ‘favourite’ button.
This year I have not only learnt about curriculum changes taking place in the UK (which I would otherwise have been unlikely to know about), but also picked up a raft of new ideas for teaching activities, and been invited to join a number of think tanks / research groups to explore different aspects of History teaching.
In short, Twitter is a revelation for me. I always thought it was a “poor man’s Facebook” but having taken the time to explore it I’ve found that it’s actually a phenomenal professional resource. Although I haven’t used it explicitly as a tool in class due to school policies, the ideas I’ve gained from it have vastly improved my classroom teaching this year. It’s allowed me to connect with other teachers to share ideas, and has engaged students from around the world to access my revision website.
If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me at https://twitter.com/MrAllsopHistory