Yes, you read that correctly, Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ has changed my professional life. Jeff Goldstein wrote a wonderful article about Twitter being the new water cooler. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-goldstein/the-remarkable-power-of-t_b_570607.html I could not agree with him more.
It was not too long ago that I sat at the annual ICE conference in St. Charles, IL in a Twitter conference and thought to myself, "how in the world is this going to work in schools?" I could not see any way in which I would use this tool in my classroom or in my professional life. That all changed about three months ago...
I took some advice of a friend and started small. Just pickings some random folks, I started consuming and just following others. From @azizansari to @teach42, I followed everyone that was a comedian I watched on TV and picked up a few education folks as well. Within a few weeks I had removed the "fluff" and stuck just with the education personalities. I knew a few of these tweeps personally so I trusted them and therefore grabbed some of the folks they were following.
Before long, I downloaded tweetdeck and have constant streams for a variety of education related streams. I honestly can't get enough of it! My district blocks twitter so I use tweetdeck to get my updates at school. http://www.tweetdeck.com/. I look forward to my weekly #edchat conversations where I soak up and now contribute as well.
I recently tweeted that I have learned more on Twitter in the past month than nearly eight years of traditional professional development... and I mean it. Being able to connect to tweeters all over the world and see what is going on is amazing. One of the chief complaints I have always had is that teachers traditionally don't share well. This is due to either a fear of rejection of their ideas or a lack of time and opportunity to do so. Twitter takes those excuses out of the equation by allowing teachers to tweet in "safety" as well as it is versatile in time. You can hop on when it is convenient for you and there will always be someone there to talk with.
If you are not on yet... get on as soon as possible and you can add me to your list so I can follow you @stumpteacher Happy Tweeting!