Twitter as a professional development tool


Twitter graphic from Spoon Graphics

As you all know, Twitter is #1 on the Top 100 Tools for Learning list this year for the second year running.

Those who voted it into the top spot, know how important and valuable it has become for them.  Others, who haven't yet tried Twitter, often show their surprise  that a tool which they often consider "trivial" can be of any use for "learning".

I've written a lot about Twitter as well as talked to many people about it – whether it be in  small corporate workshops or in conference presentations.  One of the ways that I try to explain its value is to show how it is a great place to build a PLN – Personal Learning Network.  However, this does not always hit the right spot, as it can take a bit of time to explain what a PLN is. So recently, I've been talking more about Twitter as "a professional development tool", and I now see more more people showing interest.

I often start by talking about my own professional developmemt using Twitter, ie by connecting with like-minded learning professionals worldwide, and how I have learnt so much about what is happening in the learning industry and how it is evolving.  Keeping in daily contect with those, whose opinions and ideas I value, is now enormously important for me  – both professionally and personally – as is participating in the weekly, synchronous live chat session, lrnchat, as well as getting involved in Twitter backchannels at conferences and other events. 

I also go so far to say that  without Twitter I probably wouldn't be able to do my job as effectively as I do nowadays, which includes advising organisations on the way that learning (and in particular workplace learning) is changing. And furthermore that although I continue to read blog postings about what is happening in Learning & Development,  my RSS reader – where I aggregate and manage my RSS feeds, this activity is now taking 2nd place to my use of Twitter.

Of course, there are many others who understand the value of Twitter as a professional development tool.  In a previous blog posting I mentioned a schoolteacher who felt that Twitter had not only increased her desire for and pursuit of professional development, but also had improved her self-confidence and attitude (See What Twitter has done for me)

And here are a few other articles I have found too:

Do you view Twitter as a professional development tool?  If so, do please leave a comment below on how it is helping you, or else share a link to a resource where others have shared their experiences.

[And if you are looking for more information on how Twitter can help YOUR professional development, take a look at my online Guide,  How to use Twitter for Social Learning]

9 thoughts on “Twitter as a professional development tool

  1. Doug

    Very true!
    We recently highlighted the ways in which Twitter has become a professional development tool for our student workers.
    This quick interview – http://lss.wisc.edu/news/375 – with our Social Media Interns shows how they are using Twitter to gain job skills, while helping us get the word out about our services.
    Partnering with our students in our social media efforts has been an excellent way to make skill with social media a part of the mentoring and professional development package we offer. And, it has been fun, too!

  2. twitter.com/leahmacvie

    I recently re-read this interesting article in the Open edition of Educause Review. It mentioned something about using Twitter and social media tools properly, which really made me think about how I use the tools. I consider myself a fairly heavy Twitter user, though I’m not connected by mobile devices all of the time. I also use Twitter to retweet things I think are cool and to advertise my blog posts. Sometimes I will engage in conversations via hashtags. But, what really has me thinking, is if I am using it correctly. If Twitter is a great PLN tool, I should be engaging in conversations more, following people more like minded, and focus my retweets on my passion of choice. One of the hardest things is finding a balance between working full-time, life, and engaging in “fun stuff” like Twitter, blogging, and personal research.

  3. Rick

    Twitter is definitely a development tool. Thanks for posting this 🙂 – I think I’ll piggyback on it and link back here to your thoughts. Sparked me to share that I’m getting one or two new questions a day about what Twitter can really do for folks beyond the trivial you mention, so I think you’re right on track with this.

  4. Samantha Culshaw-Robinson

    My boss recommended Twitter and I was a bit sceptical at first; after all how much info can you get into 140 characters? I have just learnt so much and been inspired by the educators on there (I am a Teaching Assistant). I really think it’s fantastic.

  5. Cecilia Coelho

    I couldn’t agree more. Building a PLN on twitter has helped me become a better professional in so many different ways. First and foremost because it gave me a tremendous motivation boost, learning about all these wonderful teachers around the world doing so many different, exciting and new things in their classes. Then add to that great and fascinating discussions about ELT, #ELTChat, all the tools, blogs… It’s an endless list of ways to learn, reflect and develop in our practices. And educators seem to do it in the most fantastic way. I wonder if other professions do it as we do.

  6. Paddy

    Completely agree – it is definitely a tool that can get people talking. More and more it is an expansion tool. You spend each working day working face to face with the same people and the daily norm takes over. You get lost in paperwork rather than focusing on developing cpd and cultivating enthusiasm! I found Twitter incredibly useful for revising my marking http://reteach10.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/reflective-teaching-through-twitter-and-marking/#com-head – thank you for the post!!

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