#ukedchat – a year or so on and I’m still a fan!

I blogged in August 2010 about the weekly #ukedchat discussions that happen every Thursday on Twitter between 8 – 9pm.

https://dailydenouement.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/ukedchat/

A year on and I’m more enamoured than ever with the whole #ukedchat ‘thing’.

Why? Well, for a start I have now got professional contacts from all over the UK who provide me with advice, support and inspiration on a daily and weekly basis. Sometimes I think there is a tendency for teachers to become quite inward-looking. We get very caught up in “this is how we do it here” and “our focus is this”… #ukedchat takes you out of your own classroom and gives you a privileged insight into hundreds of other schools, methods, pedagogies etc.

It’s free. It’s fun. It’s fantastic.

Join us?

Twitter for Teachers

This feels almost like a 12-step confessional: my name is Clare, I’m a teacher and I’m addicted to Twitter.

Well, addicted isn’t exactly true, but I do use Twitter increasingly to aid my professional development and practice. To non-tweeting colleagues that seems strange. They don’t ‘get’ Twitter and they don’t understand how or why I use it.

I’ve blogged before about my participation in the weekly twitter discussion #ukedchat  https://dailydenouement.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/ukedchat/ (if you wish to read it again!) but today I’m thinking more generally about the myriad uses I find it has to help me on a daily basis.

Take today for example: I’m looking for inspiration to update the corridor displays in our new English block. At 11:41am I logged into my Twitter account and wrote:

“#engchat #ukedchat Our English dept is in desperate need of beautifying (just moved bldgs) Seeking corridor display ideas. All ideas welcome!”

For the rest of the day I’ve been receiving tweets from a variety of English teachers and other subject specialists with some great ideas for displays. The very generous @daveterron even went so far as to send me some quotations and display documents via DropBox. Fantastic support!

Where else but Twitter would I have received this wide-ranging and prompt support? If you teach but don’t tweet, you should!

This weekend I’ve contributed to a discussion with English subject colleagues about the new GCSE spec, I’ve commented on a great linoit for @tomhenzley’s Year 4 class, I’ve read some excellent articles which were sent via links on Twitter and I’ve shared some thoughts about why the careers service shouldn’t be cut with Andy Burnham, MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Education (@andyburnhammp on Twitter.)

Twitter connects me with other people who share my interests. It makes me reflect on my work. It makes me better at what I do.

If you still need convincing as to the value of Twitter, perhaps this article by Lucy Tobin (@lucytobin) will help: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/09/twitter-teachers-forum

To tweet or not to tweet? There really should be no question.

#ukedchat

If someone had told me this time last year that I’d be spending time in the hols ‘talking shop’ with a group of strangers via a micro-blogging site more frequently associated with celebrity gossip, I’d have laughed at them.

Fast forward to 2010 and welcome to the world of #ukedchat!

So, what is ukedchat?

Between 8-9pm on a Thursday evening a group of people who have teaching/education in common gather for a natter on Twitter. The topic is decided by a democratic poll, again publicised on Twitter, and the discussion is moderated by volunteers.

What do we talk about? Well, tonight’s topic is:  “How can we make our classrooms a more inclusive learning environment? (Are ‘tech tools’ the answer?)” In previous weeks we’ve reflected on what went well in the last year, how to maximise the use of technology in the classroom, how to share best practice etc etc.

Why is it so good? It is genuine support and professional development. It’s cross-phase and for me, that’s exciting; I don’t think we work enough with our primary colleagues. People work in schools and colleges all over the UK and beyond. I’m able to actively network with fellow professionals in a way that I truly don’t believe I would otherwise in the proverbial million years!

It’s worth staying in for…

But hey, it’s Twitter and on a smartphone or Netbook or iPad, who says you actually have to stay in for it!

So if you’re interested in education, then come and join us – search for #ukedchat on Twitter and get contributing.