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#TwitteratiChallenge

#TwitteratiChallenge?

Many, many thanks to Anne Ingle ( @ozzysocks) who on daily basis inspires and lifts me (particularly in early morning chats when I might be struggling to wake myself up!). As do all the other #earlybirds!

#TwitteratiChallenge is a challenge initiated by the hugely influential Ross, @TeacherToolkit.

In the spirit of social-media-educator friendships, this summer it is time to recognise your most supportive colleagues in a simple blogpost shout-out. Whatever your reason, these 5 educators should be your 5 go-to people in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support.

Rules:

There are only 3 rules.

  1. You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life.
  2. You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already made aware of them being listed on #TwitteratiChallenge
  3. You will need to copy and paste the title of this blogpost and (the Rules and What To Do) information into your own blog post.

What To Do?

There are 5 to-dos you must use if you would like to nominate your own list of colleagues.

  1. Within 7 days of being nominated by somebody else, you need to identify colleagues that you rely regularly go-to for support and challenge. They have now been challenged and must act as participants of the #TwitteratiChallenge.
  2. If you’ve been nominated, you must write your own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost within 7 days. If you do not have your own blog, try @StaffRm.
  3. The educator nominated, that means you reading this must either: a) record a video of themselves (using Periscope?) in continuous footage and announce their acceptance of the challenge, followed by a pouring of your (chosen) drink over a glass of ice.
  4. Then, the drink is to be lifted with a ‘cheers’ before the participant nominates their five other educators to participate in the challenge.
  5. The educator that is now (newly) nominated, has 7 days to compose their own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost and identify who their top-5 go-to educators are.

The hardest part of the challenge was to pick just 5 people. But after much deliberation…

  • @ChrisChivers2  
  • Chris is quite simple one of the wisest and most generous people I know (either on Twitter or in real life). He has an extraordinarily varied career: Teacher, Headteacher, Consultant, University tutor… He presents at Teachmeets, blogs amazingly regularly and with insight and is always always ready to share his expertise, ideas and resources. I am privileged to have met and chatted with Chris. One of these occasions was when he kindly came to visit me at school in this my first year of Headship, needless to say the conversation was enlightening.
  • @MartynReah 
  • Another fantastically generous member of the Twitter community. Martyn often retweets me or discusses ideas online. He is also the fantastic person who started the #teacher5aday phenomenon. He certainly challenged and encouraged me in equal measure to consider my own (and my staff’s) wellbeing and work-life balance. Although I quite often am not able to stick to my aims during a week, his regular reminders and encouragement on Twitter to the education community is a powerful inspiration. Quite rightly this important issue of staff wellbeing is being discussed nationally and internationally because of Martyn’s tireless work.
  • @educationbear 
  • Another inspiring colossus in the Education Twitter Sphere is Nick. A consultant Headteacher with equal measures of expertise and passion. He runs the weekly #primedchat on a Wednesday evening which has been invaluable to me in the last 18 months, both to develop my thinking / understanding and also to help me connect with other primary colleagues. Again I am fortunate enough to have met him and heard him give a rousing and empassioned address at Primary Leaders Live in September 2014.
  • @MichaelT1979
  • I doubt there are many staff working in primary schools who have not heard of Michael or visited his website. Intelligent, insightful, an amazingly regular and powerful blogger and a fantastically generous professional. His website of resources and ideas for the new National Curriculum and Assessment (plus many other aspects), which are offered freely for discussion and use is probably the most powerful model of collaboration I have come across. If all of us working in education were able to share with the generosity and excellence that Michael does then we truly would be living in a self-improving system (without having to concern ourselves about real term budget cuts)
  • @jenrebhen123 
  • There may be some people in the education Twitter sphere who have not come across Chris, which can only be detrimental to them. I had the privilege of working alongside Chris for a few terms. Highly intelligent, inspiring, and driven like you wouldn’t believe is possible. He is the man who re-ignited my passion for my career and reminded me to think creatively and most importantly critically, when I had reached a stage in my career when I had become too focused on jumping through externally driven hoops. He was also the person who introduced me to the wonderful world of Twitter (which my wife Jackie does not always thank him for) but which for me has been professionally transformational and empowering.

A massive thank you to all five of these amazing people, and also to the (very long) list of people who so regularly and generously support, encourage and engage with me on Twitter.

The professional power of Twitter

I was contacted by Hampshire IT (@HantsITschools) to write an article for their termly magazine to share my views on why Twitter is such a powerful tool for all those involved in education, but with a specific focus on senior leaders.

Below is my first draft of the article. It will not be published for a couple of months so if anyone has any suggestions to improve it please do leave a comment or contact me @tim_jumpclarke. Many thanks.

……………………………………..

The professional power of Twitter

Key benefits

  • Connect with others involved in education nationally and internationally, which can give you a broader view of current issues and initiatives. For example it has been interesting finding out how other areas of the country are managing: recruitment, PRP and judging teacher performance without grading observations.
  • Posing questions to gain other views. For example I was recently re-writing a person spec and asked what would be the most important item others would include. I didn’t use all the responses, but I did use some.
  • Regular feeds from organisations like the DfE and Ofsted, with the opportunity to tweet them directly with your views and questions. A number of educators of Twitter campaign regularly to improve education, for example recommending changes to the Ofsted framework. Indeed the DfE, Ofsted and some MPs are more regularly meeting with ‘edu-tweeters’ to discuss policy direction. I regularly retweet the feeds from these organisations through the @HantsPrimSLT account (see below).
  • Find links to research summaries or blogs. For example I found a few 2 or 3 page summaries of John Hattie and David Yates’ book “The Science of how we Learn” back in January 2014, which gave me many of the main points without having to read the whole book first.
  • Hear about practical tips, ideas and projects that schools around the country are running. In particular I have found this useful if a member of staff asks for some advice or a particular resource. Usually you can give them something useful within 24 hours. I have also found “Pinterest” extremely helpful for this (but that’s for another time).
  • Educators on Twitter are mostly very generous and will often share plans and resources as well as ideas. For example I have received copies of whole primary curriculum skills maps based on the new National Curriculum from colleagues on Twitter.
  • Hear about TeachMeets, conferences and other professional development opportunities for you or your staff. For example I have been fortunate to be invited to a national Primary Leaders conference in London purely through Twitter contacts.
  • Promoting the work and achievements of your pupils, staff and school. A number of schools now have Twitter accounts for this purpose. Please feel free to look at my school’s @cornerstonecofe.

 

Why Twitter

 

How to start

This is fairly straightforward. Go online, search for Twitter, click on the link to sign up. There is an excellent blog by @MichaelT1979 which explains this process in more detail, and has links to the official Twitter sign up instructions: http://michaelt1979.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/getting-started-with-twitter/

You can set your account up as locked so you can control who has access to your information if you wish. Many people start by following some suggested people or organisations (see below) for a while before they start to tweet.

 

Time issues

Undoubtedly time is always going to be a key issue. It is possible for Twitter to consume more time in your day than is useful, but I have also found it can save a lot of time. I can quickly find summaries of research or projects from others which actually saves my time, and by building connections people will often share.

Before smartphones and tablets I would probably not have used Twitter. But I now mainly go online in those 5 minute lulls during the day (e.g. whilst waiting for a meeting to start away from school or whilst waiting for my youngest daughter to finish cleaning her teeth before her bedtime story – yes she does take about 5 minutes though I’m not sure all that time is spent cleaning teeth).

Due to it being quick to access, tweets being very short and its interactive nature which allows you to filter out what you don’t need, I find 5-10 minutes once or twice a day is ample time. However I know that other educators on Twitter just check in once or twice a week.

 

connect engage sustain

 

@HantsPrimSLT

This is not an official LA Twitter account. A group of DHTs / AHTs from Eastleigh Borough and myself set this up in June 2014. Previously we had termly meetings but often found that information shared would have been more helpful a few weeks / months earlier.

The aim of this account was for us to share questions, ideas, projects, and latest county / national developments. Ideally we would like as many Hampshire Primary SLT colleagues to follow us, although everyone is welcome.

If you tweet including the Twitter handle (@HantsPrimSLT) it will be able to be viewed by everyone who follows this account, (367 at the latest count). It can be a fantastic way of schools across Hampshire sharing the fantastic work they do and another way of making links with other schools.

 

Some recommendations to follow

Organisations:

DfE: @educationgovuk     Ofsted: @Ofstednews

NAHT: @NAHTnews     NCTL: @the_college

National Primary Heads: @NPH_UK

The TES: @tes     @SLTchat

@UKEdchat     @primedchat

@pedagoo

 

Individuals:

@MichaelT1979     @TeacherToolkit

@MaryMyatt     @AlisonMPeacock

@HarfordSean     @educationbear

@miss_mcinerney     @LeadingLearner

@ICTevangelist

 

Hampshire individuals:

@ianaddison     @MartynReah

@ChrisChivers2     @davidfawcett27

@rlj1981     @MissJLud

@Baggiepr

There is a very useful list (compiled by Ian Addison) of educators working in Hampshire at: https://twitter.com/ianaddison/lists/hampshire-people/members. This includes @HantsITschools.

 

Online discussions: ‘chats’

One of the most powerful elements of Twitter are the weekly ‘chats’. Based around a key question or focus, which may have been voted on during the week, they only last half an hour. Recent topics include: National Curriculum, assessment after levels, PRP, PM, observations without grades…

#SLTchat (Sunday 8-8.30) is one of the most popular, with over 14,000 followers. Nicky Morgan hosted it in December 2014 and Ofsted have also hosted a number of occasions.

I would also recommend #primedchat (Wednesdays 8-8.30) which Nick Gibb hosted in November 2014, and #UKedchat (Thursdays 8-8.30). It doesn’t matter if you have not joined in before, or indeed if you have a break for a few weeks or months.

When I started on Twitter I followed these chats for a couple of months, but without contributing to decide whether it was useful for me. I also found it an invaluable way of finding other educators to follow.

To join in a chat simply type the hashtag (e.g. #SLTchat) into the “Search Twitter” box and then when a list of tweets appears click on “all” to see all the comments that everyone is making.

 

I hope this article has been of interest / help. My name is Tim Clarke and I am headteacher at Cornerstone Church of England Primary (@cornerstonecofe) in Whiteley. I can be found on Twitter under @tim_jumpclarke (not my real middle name!) If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

 

 Twitter collaboration

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