Twitter is the World’s Best Free Professional Development Tool

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Since I was awake at 5 AM on a Saturday (don’t ask), I figured it was a good time to update my Personal Learning Network on Twitter. For years, I’ve been saying Twitter is the best free professional development tool available; I even teach an online course at two colleges all about Twitter.

Not familiar with the power of Twitter? You doubt the veracity of my claim? Check out the amazing PD and personal enrichment I received on an early Saturday morning from Twitter.

The power of Twitter

With the intention of growing my PLN, I went to one of my favorite educators, Shelly Terrell. One of the most energetic and brilliant teachers I know (by the way, I met Shelly on Twitter and later at the ISTE conference), I know she follows remarkable people in education, business, leadership and entrepreneurship, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong following some of the people in Shelly’s PLN.

Soon, I found Jordan Hamel, an engineering student, who is working on an education technology app. Because I’m interested in mobile apps, I reached out to Jordan so we could connect and share ideas about mobile applications.

Next, I found Jeff Herb, an Instructional Technology Director at a high school in Illinois. Jeff’s Twitter profile led me to his web site, Instructional Tech Talk, a veritable treasure trove of technology resources. I bookmarked Jeff’s site, because I knew I would return to it later and make use of the many education tools there. (Notice the amazing, free PD.)

Minutes later, I clicked into the Twitter handle belonging to Roxanna Elden, a teacher and writer. Her profile routed me to a website that describes her book, See Me After Class. I read a review by Education Week, which said Elden’s book has “a heavy dose of practicality, a dash of cynicism, and wry humor.” I was intrigued and moments later, I was on downloading See Me After Class to my Kindle.

In about 45 minutes of perusing the Twitter PLN of my favorite professional, I found an educator with a common interest, an edtech teacher who edits a powerful website, and I discovered new online tools I may wish to use with my own students or share with colleagues. Oh, and I found a new author and added an education book to my library.

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By the way, all of this was free professional developmet (although I did purchase Elden’s book).

I could have attended a day-long workshop, which would have cost hundreds of dollars and consumed my entire Saturday. The learning would have been negligible. Instead, I spent a wonderful 45 minutes in the comforts of my own home, sipping hot coffee, and I learned more than I have in the last five workshops I’ve attended.

So, you see, if you’re not using Twitter, you’re missing out on the best free education professional development tool, period!

If you’re not on Twitter, please join here today

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Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 115,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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