Twitter and Professional Learning Networks – EDTC6104, Module 3

Scott Schopierary
Scott Schopierary – Flickr

For the third module of this quarter I was wavering about what I wanted to research and dive into.  My question for the last two weeks is based around helping teachers avoid learned helplessness and resolve issues using technology.  There are so many directions I could have gone with this and my mind was running in circles over what types of problems teachers I know have had with technology.

Again, I’m talking about ISTE coaching standard 3 – digital age learning environments and specifically.

Guse digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community.


Often, I’ve worked with teachers who have become frustrated with the thought of even starting a project with technology or using it for their own professional development.  It is an overwhelming process.

This video is from a few years ago but I think it’s still worth a look about how technology and teaching is viewed over time.

Technology and Professional Learning Networks

Generally, what I have heard from other teachers is that they don’t have many resources to continuously learn more about using technology and they often feel as if they are by themselves in this game.  This got me thinking about professional learning networks (PLN), specifically ones that are based in technology.  

Who are “Digital Immigrants”?

On the blog The Innovative Educator (2010), the author talks about the term “Digital Immigrants” which was coined by Marc Prensky.   Teachers who don’t have enough training in technology are in this category and feel that they are not “native” users of technology as their students are.  The biggest message?

Get over not being a native and take control of your own learning.  

The basic idea is don’t allow a lack of training to determine your growth but create your personal learning networks where you can take responsibility for your own digital literacy.  

I resonate with that.  

What can we do as teachers to not be content with where we are in our professional growth?

Learned Helplessness

This can also be thought of as “learned helplessness”.  In Andrew Miller’s post about this he describes learned helplessness from the point of view of students but it can easily be seen from a teacher’s point of view.  This is especially true about what he has to say regarding curating and creating learning resources.  He says “We have to be comfortable not always knowing the answer, and instead suggesting we find the answer together through the vast amount of learning resources at our disposal.”  Although this relates to helping children find resources, we as adults need to make sure we have resources at our disposal to glean from.  Twitter is one way to do this.


I have noticed that PLN’s using Twitter have grown more popular in the last few years and according to a post on the website Teacher Challenges, many teachers agree with the idea that Twitter is one of the top ways that they help grow their PLN.  I highly recommend you check out their article about using Twitter to build your PLN as it does a good job in describing how start using Twitter for your professional growth.

Twitter can be used to connect in general with other teachers in whatever content area that you are in and there are many ways to participate. This is true whether you join structured twitter chat sessions with teachers all over the world you haven’t met or if you connect with people you met in person at a conference.  This post on using Twitter to expand your professional network gives some examples of chats (although the times may be out of date) as well as general steps for setting up your account.


Tweet Chat, Hashtags, and Etiquette

If you’re interested in learning more about chatting, is an excellent website for easily finding chats.  It’s very simple.  All you do is enter the hashtag that you want to learn more about and it instantly gives you other people who are talking about the same things.  

Here is also a list of educational technology related hashtags that are popular in that realm that can help you find applicable twitter chats.

Are you new to Twitter? Here are some etiquette tips…

Where to Go From Here…

Using Twitter and other social media sites for professional development may seem daunting at first, but if you start slowly you can greatly increase your ability to feel more comfortable with technology.  Although I am presenting this as a way you can increase your use of technology and familiarity with technology in the classroom, you can of course use it as a way of deepening your knowledge of your specific content area.

As an educator, my goal is to constantly become better at my job and that is a hard thing to do alone.  Being a part of a professional learning network has greatly increased my knowledge and skills as a teacher and it is my hope that others will try out online PLNs as well, especially if you are hesitant with using technology.

Follow These 14 Hashtags for Education Technology Updates. (2015). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from

Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: Think you’re a Digital Immigrant? Get Over It! (2010). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from

Miller, A. (2015, May 11). Avoiding “Learned Helplessness” Retrieved August 21, 2016, from ttp://

Step 2: Using Twitter to Build Your PLN. (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from

Teacher Challenges – Free Professional Development From Edublogs. (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from

Welcome to TweetChat! (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from


L. (2016). Hey Teach! Twitter Educator Etiquette. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from

H. (2008). Technology and the Terrified Teachers. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from

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