LinkedIn is a professional platform where you can connect with other educators. It focusses on networking and can enhance your professional reputation through the sharing of articles and updates, and by interacting with others. In terms of professional learning, LinkedIn can provide you with access to articles, tips on ways of working, and information about what is happening in education around the country and the globe.
Facebook allows users to connect with others either individually or through groups. There are many teacher groups based on subject, year levels, states, cities, and regions. Pages for teachers have lots of content and allow teachers to share information such as articles, photos, videos, questions, and opinions. You can search for Australian Curriculum groups, teacher groups, sector groups, and subject areas' specialised groups. Look at suggested pages when you join groups and askcolleagues to invite you to like pages which may be of interest to you.
Twitter can be used to receive news, ask questions, follow people of interest, and to engage in chats. It is easy to use, provides skimmable content and shared information can reach a large number of people quickly. On Twitter, you can curate your content to match your personal interests. Twitter posts have a character limit, which can be restrictive, but can also be a bonus, allowing you to find items that appeal to you when quickly scrolling through information. It can also be beneficial to read conflicting viewpoints to your own to try to understand the perspective of others. Some teachers use Twitter to blog about their practice, tweet a link, and invite other teachers to comment. This is a great reflective practice.
Twitter chats are a public conversation, based around a hashtag, which connect educators worldwide. The chats occur at a set time and day, making it easy to join regardless of location or timezone. The hashtag makes it easy to follow the conversation. You can find 'chats' by seeing what's trending, through Google searches, tweets from people they are connected with, and through the curated content in the 'For You' tab. Twitter chats are intellectually engaging as you are exposed to a wide range of views on a variety of topics. They generally last an hour, and the sharing of professional knowledge and practice is vast. Your contribution to the chat could be counted as professional engagement in networks and the broader community.
You can use Twitter to:
- find educators to follow who share your interests
- follow an education Twitter chat, then join a chat when you are comfortable
- use hashtags in tweets and to search topics
- contribute by commenting or by sharing. Sharing can include images, articles and videos, which you can post with a short comment and a hashtag about the main idea.
Some of the popular education hashtags and chats you can follow are:
- #aussieEd is a popular Australian chat hosted by various people on Sunday nights. A range of topics are covered, often very relevant to the Australian context. Hosts include international speakers, researchers, and teachers.
- #HALTNetwork is a hashtag to follow to find educators who have undergone HALT (Highly Accomplised or Lead Teacher) certification and share their professional learning.
- #PSTchat is another Australian chat that supports preservice and new teachers. Hosts and topics vary, but the focus remains on supporting new teachers.