Friday, July 18, 2014

Using Social Networks as a Learning Tool

I love Twitter. If I had to pick one tool as the linchpin of my PLE, it would have to be Twitter. It's such a great way to learn about topics you find personally or professionally interesting--as long as you can find a hashtag to follow. It's also a great way to connect with other educators who share your interests. I--like many thousands of other educators--use Twitter for my own learning. But how can social networks be used as a teaching tool? Twitter seems ideal for informal, self-directed learning. But how well does it work as a formal, teacher-directed learning tool?

 Since I love learning via Twitter, I put this question to my PLN:
I also tweeted the request specifically to some thought leaders in EdTech and innovative education whom I thought might have some ideas and resources for me, including Scott McLeod, Kevin Honeycutt, George Couros, Wesley Fryer, Alice Keeler, Rick Wormeli, and Eric Sheninger. Some of these wonderful people had specific examples off the top of their heads and shared links. Others referred me to colleagues on Twitter who had stories they could share. Most retweeted my request to their own huge followings. What happened next was fantastic.

Over the course of 24 hours, I've had interactions with over 50 educators sharing their great ideas. I have connected with teachers across North America, from the UK, from Australia, and from New Zealand. Some tweeted anecdotes of the things they did. Others shared links to blog posts they had written about their Twitter experiences. A few followed me and we've had conversations via direct messages. All were eager to share their stories and resources.


I have only met a precious few of these wonderful people face-to-face. They don't know me but for the 9000-some tweets I've lobbed out there over the past 5 years. But they are so gracious, so friendly, so excited to share their experiences. I was honored by their receptiveness to sharing, to helping me answer my question.

So what was the answer to my question? How can teachers use Twitter as a teaching tool? That will be my next post...

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Image via Garrett Heath [CC BY 2.0]


  1. Thanks to you Dave, I am now following Alice Keeler and she has given me so many tips on using google classroom! I now know how to set up "journal writing" without having single weekly "assignments". I am am getting PD online. Thank you. :)

    1. Hooray! Glad you've connected with Alice, and I'm so glad that you're finding valuable PD coming to you through your social networks! :-)