Monday, August 12, 2013

Twitter as a Professional Development Tool for School Psychologists

New to Twitter?  A social media tool such as Twitter is an online resource that can’t be beat for daily professional development at your fingertips.  It can provide a vast resource of research information, which can be easily shared with individuals in your own created “Personal Learning Network,” where you can connect with other professionals in the field.

If psychologists don’t have a Twitter account, it’s easy to get online and make one.  School psychologists can then search out specific hashtags (#) related to the field where people post comments and specific resource of use in education.  Some popular hashtags in school psychology that have been posting information recently have included #psycchat, #schoolpsychology, and #schoolpsych.  If you find a school psychologist posting information that would be useful to you in the field you can follow them.  You now can have a daily feed of ideas and resources available at your fingertips if you choose to access it. 

Quick Learn of easy concepts:

A Hashtag (#), is basically an online “room” where people post related to a topic of interest.  There are tens of thousands of hashtags, some very useful, and some completely irrelevant for professional use.  Find professional hashtags related to #schoolpsychology, or other professional subjects of interest to post to.

Posting – When you post a Tweet, or a resource, it is only readable to your followers.  If you would like other professionals to read your post, post to a hashtag where professionals regularly visit for information.

Directing a Tweet at a specific user -The use of the @ symbol directs a tweet to a specific user, such as @emmauskevink, or @bekcikelly.  Postings then go right to them to read.

Direct Messaging – You can send a Direct Message (DM) to someone as well, but only if they are following you.  If you would like to communicate with someone who is not following you, use the @ symbol and their Twitter name. 

Choosing who to Follow --While obviously this is certainly up to you, I would recommend you follow individuals you know that will help you grow professionally.  Although Twitter certainly is used as a fun social tool, its vast professional value comes from learning from the connections you make.  The wiser you choose, the more you learn.  Remember, professionals are there to learn from you too, it’s a two-way vehicle, so be sure to regularly share your knowledge and resources with others!

Potential Follower Recommendations for School Psychologists:

School Psychologists

School Counselors

  Connected Educators to Follow

Twitter Chats:  The use of Twitter can be highly interactive as well, where a school psychologist can join in on live discussions that are happening in the field of education in general, and school psychology in particular.  Twitter chats occur generally weekly for 60 minutes, and moderators pose questions on a predetermined topic of interest.  Participants use a consistent hashtag to communicate.  For instance, at #edchat, (Tuesdays, Noon to 1 PM ET and 7-8 PM ET), Tom Whitby and colleagues have regular weekly conversations about topics related to broad education related topics. In addition to #edchat, there are a whole host of other education related chats that are state specific or topic specific (#edchatri (Rhode Island), #iaedchat (Iowa), #ptchat (parent teacher chat), #escchat (elementary school counselor's chat), #scchat (school counselor's chat), #satchat (broad based educational chats on Saturday Mornings, etc..).  These hashtags are also great places to meet professional colleagues or find resources.  A list of Twitter Chats can be found Here: Twitter Chats.

Posting Links: Links to newspaper articles, online documents, pictures, or research articles all can be posted and shared on Twitter as well, a feature I find of particular value, as the sharing can be endless!

Overall, the use of Twitter as an online resource is highly valuable, and can bring learning right into your living room,at any moment you’d like.  It is a great place to make professional connections and to have regular dynamic conversations about the field of psychology or education in general.  It may just jump-start your professional world!