Why Busy Teachers Should 'Listen Up' for Tweets: Twitter™ Can Help YOU!

real hi res jpgTom Whitby invented the #edchat hashtag. He also writes a very fine blog called “My Island View”. Tom is one of those “Pioneer Blogmasters.”His goes back 5 years. He’s an experienced educator who knows K12 inside and out, top and bottom; higher-ed too. Plus, he knows what needs to be said, and has no qualms about saying it. 

WhitbyPageTom Whitby’s blog page photo (far right) shows someone lollygagging in a hammock. Tom is far too busy doing triage on various K12 educational issues to have time for a hammock. Two of his most recent topics are “Professional Development for Teachers” and “Personalized Learning Networks for Teachers.” Why these two topics? They are both critical to keeping teachers informed and improving their skills. We who teach need them to keep our students informed and improve our own skills too.

Last week his blog featured this title: “Why Twitter Will Never Connect All Educators.” If you are a teacher or a teacher of teachers, we urge you to take a few minutes, click the link or the photo above and read his blog.

Welcome back! Tom Whitby says “Twitter will never connect all educators.He’s right: Nothing works for all. But before you reject Twitter out of hand, you ought to take a look at it. It just might work for you.

Mr. Whitby says some very insightful things in this blog; we’ve added our own underlined commentary:

•   “The mindset of a 20th Century educator is very comfortable for most educators since they were trained for the most part by 20th century educators.” In other words, we do what we know and the knowledge keeps changing.

•   “…. if you wait and ride it out long enough, all of these initiatives will all go away.” That advice worked once. The problem now is that teachers are getting inundated with more and more new initiatives. Help is needed!

•   “The gap however, between 20th Century educators and 21st Century learners, is now beginning to widen at a much faster rate…..The gap between teacher and student will continue to widen if the educators’ mindset for learning does not evolve.” In other words, evolve along with it or become increasingly irrelevant.

•   “Educators can only be effective if they too are learners.” So, where do they find the time to continue learning. There is no more time is there? Well, maybe a little. Read on!

What to do? Here’s some answers:

  1. images-1Build your own Professional Learning Plan (PLP)What new skills will you need? Only you can answer that question. Who can help you learn? Your colleagues can…maybe not in your school, but the many social media tools can link you up with some great helpers. To get you started, click on the graphic to the right for a template to get your started on your own PLP:
  2. timthumb.phpForm a Professional Learning Network (PLN).  Find two or three like-minded teachers to join you in the name of mutual Self-Improvement. It will happen! Here’s a link to more information on building your PLN. Just click on the graphic to the left:


We’ve seen this collaborative learning work effectively many times for busy teachers and professionals like you.


Twiitter4TchrsTruth told, Twitter does take some time to learn, but the payoff is worth it. Twitter is terse and pithy, (only 140 characters per message) and more importantly it works. Build your own PLN and Tweet with dozens of like-minded teachers out there who can help each other.

Here’s a useful link from another famed blogger, Kathy Schrock, to learn more about Twitter; just click on the graphic to the right:

Edudemic.com has a useful link too: http://www.edudemic.com/guides/guide-to-twitter/

These links will get you started and help you find others to learn with and from.

As professionals we must use well the time and resources we have. We owe it to the students we teach. More importantly, we owe it to ourselves. We model the learning we ask of others.

We practice what we preach!

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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.