Thing 2: Online Communities & Personal Learning Networks

It’s been about three years since I’ve joined Twitter, but only about two years since I have had an active presence on the social network. At first, I wasn’t sure of whether to use Twitter as a professional or personal network. In the past two years, it has morphed into a mixture of both.

Using Twitter during conferences or workshops has proven to be a wonderful tool. During a conference earlier this November in CNY, I connected with past classmates and new faces. Using the hash tag for the conference, it was beneficial to look back that week for highlights and key take-away points from the conference. Looking through the tweets gave me new ideas to implement into lessons and programs at the LMC.

For this exercise, I looked through the Twitter advanced search and the #tlchat tweets. Putting aside a few minutes every few days to do this has provided me with more resources to show my students and ideas to eventually implement. This exercise provided me with different people to follow, communicate and learn. That is what I love about Twitter; it provides us the opportunity to engage in two-way conversation to create, communicate, share, collaborate and innovate with teacher-librarians in similar and/or different types of libraries.

Another tool I use actively is TweetDeck. It provides the opportunity to see my conversations, tweets from those I follow and searches by hash tag simultaneously. It’s funny, though I have a Twitter account, I rarely tweet from Twitter, but TweetDeck. The organization of this site wonderful, and helps me keep track of searches and ideas to follow.

This exercise made me think how I’ve implemented more social media and tech into my library. Being my first year, we have a brand-new website and a blog. Students submit comments, and resources from links/databases are available 24/7. We have a Shelfari account, and students use Google Forms to submit book requests to add to the library’s collection. Teachers use an Outlook Calendar for computer lab and laptop cart signups, switching from print calendars that were used last year. It has been a change in culture for staff, teachers and students.

I wanted to dive head-first into digital, media and technology changes in August, but I have had to take a step back and really look at the audience and implement a few new ideas at a time, not all at once. Using Twitter has helped me gain ideas to implement changes in the library at a realistic and effective pace though gaining advice from veterans or looking at best practice.

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