What would you give for more time?
More time to play with your kids. More time for the hobbies you love. More time to travel and hang out with friends.
I know what I’d give. For me, there is nothing more important than maximizing time.
As educators, we know that time is a scarce commodity. We spend every minute of the day trying to maximize our use of it.
Before school, we finalize plans for our lesson and get the whiteboard ready. At lunch, after scarfing down a sandwich, we finish up some of our grading. And after school, before the bus even pulls out of the parking lot, we are busy tutoring students who need additional help.
But as obsessive as we are with our time, we also waste it.
We waste time worrying about possible outcomes of lesson rather than creating them. We waste precious minutes searching for the perfect resource on google only to find out it doesn’t exist. We waste time on circular conversations with other educators that prevent us from moving forward.
You see, in the busy world of an educator, it’s less about having more time, and more about maximizing the efficiency of the the time we’ve been given.
The Most Valuable Fifteen Minutes of your Day
What if I told you there was a way to accomplish in 15 minutes what usually takes you three hours?
You can. Irregardless of your tech skills.
If you haven’t discovered the world of Twitter, you need to.
Fifteen minutes on Twitter could spare you hours of searching for resources or obsessing over lessons, and immediately connect you with other educators who can help you find what you are looking for right away.
It’s a one stop shop for PD, resources, inspiration, ideas, and support for the strategies that will create the biggest impact in your classroom or school.
Creating a profile takes 5 minutes, and creating your first tweet, even less than that. Once you have a Twitter account, here are the five most useful tips to get the most out of it.
Tip #1: Find and follow useful hashtags
Most people, once creating accounts, immediately add friends and try to gain followers. That’s the wrong approach. Instead, you should first find the most relevant hashtags to your needs, and follow them. Chances are, they will offer you far more ideas to use in your classroom or school right away.
Here are six good hashtags to start with according to “Getting Smart.”
Tip #2: Download Tweet Deck App
Twitter can be a overwhelming database of information. Getting the “Tweet Deck” app will help organize information in nice columns so you can get the most relevant ideas and resources delivered straight to your phone.
Choose the lists that most interest you, add them, and ‘voila,’ you will have resources at your fingertips in the areas you care most about.
You can download that app here. https://tweetdeck.twitter.com
Here is an example of the feeds I have in my Tweet Deck.
Tip #3: Engage
When you find a resource or blog post attached to a tweet you like, engage the author. Like the post or replay- ask them a question and find out where you can learn more. Educators love to help each other out. Here’s an example of how I engage others on Twitter.
Tip #4: Dig deeper in links
Many posts on twitter will take you to blog posts about latest innovations in education, or strategies for you to use right away. If you dig deeper, you will find that within the posts, there are more links or sources cited. Investigate these links to find out more about the topic.
Tip #5: Keep your PD from Twitter all in one place
As you peruse through twitter posts, hashtags, and ideas from other educators, it’s easy to get overwhelmed without taking action. To ensure you stay focused on your own professional development and growth, keep your learning consolidated in one place.
I like to use OneNote Notebook as a central place for all my digital learning; others use “evernote” and clip articles, videos, posts, notes to place into their virtual binders.
You can download those two apps here and here.
Time will always be our most precious commodity as educators. Let’s make sure we are using it wisely.