I have now tweeted 1,332 times and am following 625 educators, and have 441 followers. I look at Twitter as a professional development tool, an inspiring friend, and an intelligent and friendly social network. For someone as busy and somewhat introverted as myself, it is a treasure. And, I have found that it is a great tool for metacognitive practice.
Metacognition: Thinking about Thinking
When I go to conferences, I listen, pull out main ideas, and tweet. I take photos and add words, and my brain starts to put ideas together. I lean my head down, listening, and re-word main ideas from keynotes and presentations. I am acutely aware of using the tool to make my thoughts clear, to find connections with the concepts and myself, and to make meaning from my immediate world. My initial self-consciousness at even having my phone in my hand has given way to a purposeful taking of photos, adding thoughts, ideas, and questions to them. It may look like I'm not listening. Actually, I'm listening - and remembering - much more than I ever did in the past. I used to take notes that were kept in unopened folders that were eventually recycled. Now I stretch my brain and connect on a much deeper level.
It did take some practice; messaging, typing, snapping photos all at once. It has become much easier for me, and I'm sure would be even easier if I were as adept at using a cellphone as many people are. But I persevere, and find that - even if I happen to miss a sentence or two of what is said along the way - I come away with a lot more than I used to. I love how this is immediately shared and often built upon by others. It is a memory-booster and idea-generator all at once, I can review tweets later, and I can like and retweet the ideas of others, and add them to my personal collection.
Tweeting also helps me keep my metacognative mindset in everyday situations as well. I take photos of students on our campus, ask permission to tweet it (so far always greeted with enthusiasm) and then add thoughts to them. The combination of words and images is powerful. Pausing in a busy day to take a picture, connect with an individual, and share that connection, is powerful. I have started making a conscious effort to allow this room for connection and reflection.
I have been influenced by the ideas of others on twitter, and am constantly amazed at the intelligence and creativity I encounter in the education community. I rarely have time for a "tweet chat" but the few I have participated in have been incredibly thought-provoking. Just seeing some of the remnants of the chats of others has been useful. My Twitter community has opened my eyes to things I need to think more about related to teaching and learning; accessibility, equity, diversity, tech tools, professional development, data, research and more.
Tweeting stimulates my thinking process; I have to think about what I want to take away and how to express it. For me, the process of tweeting is thinking - often deep thinking.
Have you had this kind of experience? How do you approach twitter? I'm interested in your experiences. On twitter I am @lizfalconer80.