Cultivating a Knowledge Building Community Using Twitter

I work at the University of Toronto as a Teacher Education Program Assistant, visiting our preservice teachers at their placement schools to observe lessons, provide feedback, and offer support. I wrote this piece about Twitter for the OISE/UT MA newsletter.

Many teachers cultivate expertise in certain areas of classroom practice. They join organizations, attend talks, focus their volunteer work, and gather with like-minded peers for meaningful conversations.

This is a great idea. If your dream is to be an expert math teacher, start now. Building your expertise and leadership in a certain domain of classroom practice is a cumulative process in which each small step teaches you something and helps articulate your unique path.

dont-need-to-be-an-expert-to-start-a-business-graphic-design-blenderConsider adding Twitter to your strategy. It’s different from most social media; steer clear of the kitten videos and Trump memes and go shopping for your dream collaborators. You can follow whoever you want! Many leading experts and important organizations are active users who tweet regularly about upcoming talks, new ideas, and important resources. Twitter will keep you informed of up-to-the-minute developments in your field, and will connect you to your people.

Twitter is also a wonderful journal for professional ideas. Write an observation, share an article, document an idea, or post a picture of a project (with permission) that worked well. If you tag your favourite organization or thinker, they may recognize your work with a like or a share, and if you’re really lucky they’ll follow you back. Being an active participant in high-level knowledge building has never been so easy!

Start by looking up your favourite few thinkers or organizations and seeing who they follow. Add anything that looks interesting, see what kind of material they share, and then prune your list back to a lean, mean collection of your favourites.

Twitter connects classroom teachers with powerful stakeholders in a meaningful way. It has been a source of inspiration, reflection, community, and access in my career. Could it do the same for you?

@LCFaith  #respect #empower #share #grow #build #engage #transform