Prior to EDTC 300, I knew absolutely nothing about Twitter. I had no idea how it worked, and I did not think that I was interested in any of the content on the platform. I also had never even heard of a Twitter chat before joining #saskedchat for the first time in EDTC 300. I really enjoyed getting to jump into the Saskedchat again this week, as it has been a long time since I last participated in a Twitter chat. I always have so much fun when I do join one, and it is something I really want to start doing more often on my own time.
I think Twitter chats are one of the best and most effective ways to grow your personal learning network on Twitter. The best thing about Twitter chats is that they allow you to connect with fellow educators in real time, so you can have actual conversations. I find that the way people talk during a Twitter chat is more casual, yet also more personal, than how they would regularly talk when posting & commenting. This is why I believe participating in a chat allows you to connect with other educators on a deeper level and helps you actually feel as though you have created relationships.
One of the downsides to Twitter chats is that they can be very confusing and overwhelming at first. I find using TweetDeck really helps you stay on top of everything and not get lost. The other possible downside is that most Twitter chats occur on a regular schedule, such as Thursday nights at 7pm. I have found it difficult to be able to participate in the #saskedchat for this reason, as I always seem to end up having a class on Thursday evenings. An alternative to this is finding a different educational twitter chat that works for your schedule. There are many out there. I do think the experience is well worth your time, if you can find a way to fit it in your schedule.
Like many social media platforms, I think the value of Twitter as an educational tool depends on how you use it. Social media platforms will show you content that you interact with and content produced by the people you choose to follow. I believe Twitter can be an amazing professional development tool and a fantastic resource for teachers. You just have to use the platform properly, take the time to find fellow educators to follow, participate in educational Twitter chats, and share valuable resources that you discover.