What a year this has been in terms of my professional development and my discovery of using Twitter as a form of CPD, discovering new and exciting ideas and pedagogies, which I have used in my teaching throughout the year.
It began around October time, when a colleague of mine suggested to follow @SENICT (Ian Bean) as he was coming to our school to run some training. The idea was that we could ask him some questions before he arrived so that the training was suited to our needs. Before this, I had done what many people do and sign up to Twitter to follow celebrities (yes, I did follow Stephan Fry). I did not understand Twitter and what purpose it had in terms of myself developing as a teacher. After following Ian I started to follow people who were similar and wrote a few things about what I was doing in my class. This is when things started to snowball and soon I was immersed in picking up new ideas and chatting to like minded people. I joined #ukedchat on a regular basis and soon found some excellent blog posts to follow and read.
I really liked the idea of blogging and especially after seeing the effect of Quadblogging (fantastic idea created by @deputymitchell) was having with schools around the world, I wanted to try it with my class. I currently teach a mixed ability 16-19 SLD / MLD class who range from a P8 to a level 3 in Maths and English. I found the impact immediate and they were engaged in wanting to write down what they were thinking and share this with whoever would listen. They needed support in creating their blog posts but they seemed enthralled by idea that anyone from around the world could read their posts.
From seeing my class have their own blog, I decided to take the step and create my own blog. This was mainly to reflect on what I was doing but also share my passion for using technology to create an inclusive environment for the students I work with. I have enjoyed the process of creating blog posts and sharing my experiences with others. This has led to many different collaborations inducing the use of iPads and the Kinect in SEN. (I would recommend following @trinityfieldsit and @littleangelssch as they are leading the way for using the Kinect in SEN)
Over the year, through the use of Twitter and my own desire to refine my practice I have picked up loads of great ideas and theories which I hope to continue to use now and in the future. I particularly like the idea of SOLO taxonomy and will be working on ways to enable the students I work with to understand this so that they move forward in their understanding of how to progress.
I have been fortunate enough this year to move on with my career and I am not stating that Twitter and blogging have been essential in me doing this, but I feel that without the use of these two tools I would not be in the position I find myself today. I feel through the use of these I have been able to reflect, refine and develop my practice as a teacher which has enabled me to continue in my professional development and meet my aspirations of moving up in my career.