Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year. 2017. To blog or not to blog? To Tweet or not to Tweet?

As I scroll through my timeline I see a wealth of teachers pledging to blog more regularly, weekly or otherwise. I feel slightly in awe of them and wonder how they manage to find the time to write so regularly and look over at my own blog and berate myself for my lack of posts.

It’s easy to feel disheartened when there are so many great blogs out there (see for a list of top education blogs around the world) and ( Teacher Toolkit’s list- the most followed education blog in the UK)

BUT , and this is the important thing, IT DOESN’T MATTER if you blog weekly, monthly, randomly (or not at all!) What matters is that you do what works for you. I have a blog to reflect upon things that I have done and it is so interesting reading past posts and looking at how I have made changes or improvements to my teaching.  Unless I have something to say that hasn’’t already been said, I don’t tend to blog. So I don’t make lists of educators to follow or influential blogs but like to think that some of what I write will strike a chord with others and perhaps give them food for thought.

When I take part in forums on twitter (my favourites are #PrimaryRocks on Mondays 8-9pm, #ASEchat Mondays 8-9 pm #uikedchat on Thursdays 8-9pm and #SLTchat on Sundays 8-8.30pm ) It’s easy to think that this is where it is all happening- and a lot does happen in them for certain. I have met some amazing people as a result of twitter and had opportunities that I may not have come across otherwise.  And lots of those people aren’t on any lists but have so much to share and I am delighted to have the privilege to have met many of them as well as to interact online with them.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that the vast majority of teachers aren’t even on twitter; and that many of those who are don’t use it regularly. I have run several workshops about the benefits of using twitter which have resulted in teachers joining, but most of the teachers I work with don’t use it at all.

Here’s my list of why you should use twitter- I’d love to know yours.

1)      Fabulous networking tool (especially if you teach in a small school)
2)      Great way to share ideas and resources
3)      A sounding board where you know people will give their opinions
4)      Fast way to hear about policy changes (saves trawling through the almost-impossible-to-navigate website)
5)      Ability to communicate with educators across the country and beyond
6)       Quick access to some excellent blogs about education
7)      Great way to keep positive through the changes

Why do I think teachers don’t use twitter?
1)      privacy issues- accounts can be made private, but this is an understandable issue for many
2)      spam spam spam- I don’t find this too much of a problem- I just block and report
3)      time- always an issue. Twitter is so different to facebook insofar as you can’t possibly ‘catch up’ on what has happened since you last logged on- hashtags are a fab tool to search for interests and it’s a case of going with what is happening at the time.
4)      Negativity/arguments  It can be all to easy to limit one’s followers and following to those who always agree with you/have the same outlooks . it can also be easy to get drawn into some , shall we say, scratchy discussions. For me, I follow a range of tweeters and don’t generally get involved in scratchy discussions- but it is always interesting to see a range of ideas and points of view. If someone doesn’t want to follow me, or I don’t want to follow someone then so be it- I don’t waste time worrying about it. I stick to positive tweets and sharing good practice which has worked well for me so far .

HAPPY NEW YEAR .  I’m planning to keep trying to persuade colleagues to give twitter a try- that’s my first NY resolution. Bring a friend to twitter.

Who else it up for this?

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