What comes to mind when you think of CPD? In the past it was events that took ages to get too, would run late and steal away your evenings or even weekends:
This year it’s all been about the webinar, though: a cyber seminar for professionals keen to absorb lots of information while still remaining in their pyjamas.
But what if you don’t have the time for a three-hour course or the CPD budget was blown on last year’s sharpeners, are you at a disadvantage?
For me this year’s revelation has been Twitter: I have spent the last 10 months or so coming to see how you can use it not just as a place to meet like-minded professionals, but as a place to build CPD that suits me and what I want to achieve.
Here are my top reasons to tweet:
1. Build your networks
Having a professional learning network has never been more valuable. Even if schools lock down, it doesn’t mean we should too! Using Twitter as a professional platform as opposed to a social media platform has enabled me to build an ever-growing network that is now my go-to for anything teacher-related.
For example, I recently discovered #FBBWednesday and #FBBteachers – weekly posts that actively promote making connections and building your professional learning network. The aim is to create a huge global multilingual education chat about diverse subjects for teachers.
It’s easy. Write a short comment on your role and interests and use the hashtag. Within minutes, you can be connected to educators across the globe.
2. Research-based insights
Enjoy reading about research-led teaching but no idea where to begin?
There are loads of great accounts such as @researchED, @EdChatEU, @teacherhead, @teachertoolkit and @olicav that will give you plenty to think about. You can find new research or ideas through these accounts and this can help you ensure you are looking at latest best practice.
Twitter is the ultimate library for a whole range of articles, videos and lectures that are readily available to share with your teams and schools at the click of a button.
I am currently using this wealth of past, present and not-quite-published-yet research to begin my own school CPD club.
By using Twitter as a platform to share ideas and find the latest research I feel confident that my colleagues will find the sessions relevant and begin exploring their own avenues. Thus opening up the possibility for anyone to take part and expand the learning network.
3. Making sense of buzzwords
CLT, RT, VT...education loves an acronym – but how do you know which ones to focus on? Everyday we are thrown a new buzzword to make use of and learn how it impacts our students.
Compiling a glossary would be never-ending, so use Twitter to hone in on what you want to find out and more importantly, why.
By navigating the maze using a simple search, it’s a quick fire way to find not only the definitions of current pedagogical terms but also who is talking about it right now.
From that you are open to find key researchers in the field, what people think of the topic and most importantly how it impacts your teaching. I have found this particular area so useful when trying to get an idea of differing viewpoints and reaching my own.
Lest we forget the humble teacher. If you want CPD that has immediate impact then following the likes of @weareteachers will give you just that. Not sure how to teach diplomacy? Need some inspiration for your lesson starters? Look no further.
Educators themselves are the most valuable resource out there and by involving ourselves in the Twitter community we are creating a dialogue that has actual impact.
As the pandemic continues and companies go online, it has never been easier to upskill ourselves. So, if everyone can become an Apple Teacher in a day or learn quantum physics over the weekend, how are you going to stand out?
I believe employers will be looking for that wow factor, for that someone who took professional development into their own hands and built a network of professionals that is ever evolving. Twitter allows us to learn from each other and expand our pedagogy in a way that hasn’t been done before.
We need to stop thinking of CPD as a standalone event and start seeing it as it was meant to be – continuous.
So go on, refresh your feed to refresh your way of thinking.
Holly Laceby is the Yr 6 Year Leader at the International School @ ParkCity, a large British curriculum school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Follow her @holly_laceby.