Twitter- a way to build a network

Twitter RepliesI was honoured to be asked by Innes Kennard to present a couple of workshops to groups of teachers in the Wairarapa and Palmeston North last week. We talked of the communication, audience and collaborations enabled by the use of Web2.o tools in the classroom.

Particpants asked about how I let people know of the things we do in the classroom and how I have been able to form a Personal Learning Network.

We spoke of having an RSS feed like Google Reader or Bloglines to bring interesting blogs to you instead of having to go out and check them every day.

I spoke of the power of Twitter to connect with educators around the world and demonstrated that with a quick tweet to that affect. I don’t like to send out general tweets like that as a rule as I don’t like to presume that I will get a response.

Being that, personally, I generally do not have the time to tweet during the teaching day I was surprised at the number of people who could spare a moment to reply. Responses came thick and fast from Scotland, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Maine, Essex and New Zealand. All within minutes. Powerful stuff. Thanks team.

When I got home I got to reflecting on how these people came to be in my network.

I try to support others- that’s how I get supporters. I try and engage in conversations with people. A couple of people who replied I had not been previously following as I went through a stage when I felt I might be overwhelmed by following too many so I really followed few who requested that I follow them. I immediately remedied that by a follow.

When I first started the journey to create a Learning Network I was way to shy to express an opinion because I was in awe of the reputations of the people I was following. After having built up a rapport with some of those people I now realise that generally they are just teachers like me- like us.

So- to build a network, I think, people should just leap in and engage with fellow educators- leave comments, direct tweets to people, ask questions, encourage, challenge, discuss. We are all learning together.