This afternoon I’ve been busy spending an hour with different teachers from diocesan schools in the Parramatta area on the use of Twitter for professional learning. Although the session was designed for beginners, an IT colleague and I decided to go to explore the session from the perspective of trainers working in schools to disseminate new ideas. I find social media to be largely unchartered territory in my school (and many schools that I know), largely a result of blocking, slow take-up, misunderstanding and technophobia. Putting technology into the hands of teachers and making a positive difference means understanding some of these issues and really engaging with some of the concerns non-users have.
From this point of view, social media also represents one of the cliffaces of the digital divide. As Lisa Nash, the facilitator of the session points out, the value of Twitter is in tapping into the thinking of people – experts, professionals, educators and the like – and then using those ideas to change the way things are done. For those with no interest or inclination, relying on traditional face-to-face and print-based professional development seems almost professionally self-defeating in the twenty-first century!
I find sessions like these both interesting and heartening. It’s great to see teachers, leaders and administrators getting in and getting their hands dirty. I’m hoping that this session sparks some future learning opportunities beyond the confines of 9-5 face-to-face.