I'm working my way through the Summer Learning Series Challenge hosted by Todd Nesloney. I wanted to learn more about twitter this summer, and this is a wonderful series of challenges that have increased my knowledge of twitter, but also of how it can be used. It had increased the usefulness of Twitter to me as someone in the education realm.
My thing is there is so much helpful technology out there, but just knowing about it doesn't make you a better teacher or smarter user of technology. You have to figure out how it can be of VALUE to you and what you can do better. Once you find out HOW to use something and then WHY it can be beneficial to you, then it has some value to you as a end user of that technology. Then you BELIEVE it is of value and you will take the time to learn it and improve yourself - that is the point I've gotten to with Twitter.
When Twitter first came out (and for many years after), I would ask myself, 'why do I want to use this?' I had Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, and wondered can I afford the time to get to know another social media platform. I made an account, tried it for a couple days, and then stopped using the account. After these last few weeks of using twitter more proactively, I have come to understand how this could be used as a tool, and why it is beneficial for me to learn how to use it. I now get on twitter more than I get on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ combined.
There are several things still out there that I want to spend time learning, but I just have to find time. Maybe once the kids leave for college and my wife and I are empty nesters, I can find a bit more free time. This year I hope to spend time improving myself through online PD all year long, and not just over the summer, or the extended school breaks. We will see if my workload allows me to do that.