Ever since I stepped out as a twit, I’ve been joining in a weekly discussion on education related topics at the Twitter hashtag #edsg, using the handle @genevieve_elis. (If that last part of the sentence was alien to you, this video might help.) Organised by two passionate educators in Singapore schools, these weekly discussions cover a range of topics, but are mostly focused on ICT, innovation and 21st Century Competencies.
It seems a bit strange, but following this weekly discussion has become something of a mild addiction for me, almost akin to tuning in each week at a specific time to watch a popular drama serial on television. Every Tuesday, from 8 to 9 pm, wherever I am, be it in the office, at a coffeeshop, on the bus, on the sofa multi-tasking while doing work or in front of the television, I make sure that I have some way of connecting to Twitter.
A topic is usually decided by way of an online poll beforehand, and some of these topics have included:
“What inspires you as a professional? What depresses you?”
“Are roles of teachers diminishing in a tech-inspired educational landscape?”
“Un-PD — An alternative way of looking at Professional Development?”
“Is there a place for social media in Singapore’s education?”
The contributors to these discussions seem to be mainly educators in Singapore, although there are a few who join in from other countries. Most topics are based on an article or a website, and background links are sent beforehand. The tone is friendly and lively, yet professional and thoughtful. Sixty minutes always seems to fly by all too quickly once everyone gets into the swing of things and re-tweets and replies start filling up the Twitter feed.
Twitter is one of the faces of ‘Unprofessional Development‘ that looks set to stay, at least for a while. It’s convenient, semi-structured, democratic and quick. It might not replace ‘traditional’ PD models as yet, but like ‘attending’ online overseas conferences and webinars, it does present rather interesting possibilities for the future of PD, though admittedly some concerns might be raised about accountability, quality of learning and monitoring.