The Twitter PLN is without a doubt the greatest resource for educators at any level today. Whether one teaches kindergarten or graduate studies, there is a rich and powerful network of caring, generous education professionals sharing insight, materials, and support. Here is a quick guide to some of the folks you will meet once you get involved in this awesome community:
1. The philosopher. The best example of this is @tomwhitby, who, like other great twit-osophers, dispenses a great many excellent questions to the general readership, while offering humble insights on all sorts of related questions. Twitter philosophers make you feel both smart and dumb at the same time, by challenging what you think you know, yet leading you to new understanding.
2. The sharer. Sharers are some of the most hardworking and generous people on Twitter. They toil tirelessly to share the best articles, materials, and strategies, in a steady stream, nearly all day long. @mzteachuh, @adambellow, @cybraryman1, and @coolcatteacher come to mind as great examples of great sharers.
3. The politiphile. Politiphiles are the ones interested and involved in the politics of education and education reform. Their posts help us stay aware of the complex world of government dealings in education, and help sort through the rubbish so we can better see the landscape. @dianeravitch and @alfiekohn are perhaps the best in this category. Beware, though. With politics comes bias.
4. The instigators. These awesome folks are the ones pushing the boundaries of education every day. They challenge the status quo, disrupt conventional thinking, and slay sacred beasts of all sorts. Keep an eye on what these folks are talking about, and your idea for how great education could be will be forever changed. @mcleod and @gcouros are great examples of positive instigators on twitter.
5. The gurus. There are all sorts of gurus on Twitter. They supplement not-so-everyday activities like writing seminal works on educational practice and presenting at national conferences by sharing the best of what they know on Twitter. @toddwhittaker, @danielpink, @sirkenrobinson and @drtonywagner are some great ones to start with.
6. The social butterfly. What would a great learning community be without gregarious, friendly, and approachable professionals who draw people in and make them feel welcome in any conversation. These folks almost always have their own particular expertise, yet they add to their online presence by being, well, just fun people to interact with. @amandacdykes, @sjunkins, @8amber8, and @thejlv all come to mind for this one.
7. The EdChat Elite. There are, among the education PLN crowd, certain participants who, by a mix of offering outstanding insights and ideas, frequently facilitating chats, and being generally omnipresent on Twitter, have managed to become the effective face of the education PLC. They humbly accept the peer leadership roles as a responsibility to bring great minds together, while challenging thinking. Many have already been mentioned, but @web20classroom, @kleinerin, @kylepace, and @stevehargadon are among the many who would fit this bill.
8. The Jedis. This one, of course, refers to people like @jedipadmaster and those like him, who have a particular skill-set, and have become field experts in specific areas of education or education technology. They are the ones you think of when you have a question about something specific. Whether the area is flipped learning, daily 5, advising, or Chromebooks, there is someone in the PLN who is the go-to person. Ask around, it doesn’t take long to find them.
9. The leaders. Not the leaders of government, or of anything on Twitter, but outstanding leaders in schools around the world. Their daily ruminations and discussion help everyone see what great leadership looks like, but also helps any of us to set higher standards for our own educational leaders. @justintarte, @principalspage, and @twhitford, among many others who have already been listed, are great examples of those who exemplify leadership on Twitter daily.
10. YOU. Yes, you are needed on twitter, regardless whether you fit nicely in any of these categories or not. The most common people you meet in the Twitter #PLN are caring, curious, and thoughtful education professionals who are looking for ideas, information, strategies, and professional relationships. Please join us!