JEROME — Long-time educator Janet Avery became restless and lost her sense of career purpose about five years ago. She said she’d “lost her voice.”
Twitter — a social media platform — resurrected her.
“I was hooked the first weekend I explored,” she said.
Though Twitter is most popular these days as the mass communication tool of President Donald Trump, it’s also a domain for educators to collaborate, share resources and offer each other support.
Thousands of educators throughout the country and Idaho participate in Twitter “chats” on a weekly basis. Educators use hashtags like “#Edchat” and can organize, search and find messages on a topic all in one place.
Avery, the director of curriculum and instruction for the Jerome School District, uses Twitter as professional development. She finds resources for best teaching practices and technology use in the classroom.
“It truly re-energized me,” she said. “I was able to be refilled with a purpose and regain my voice.”
Twitter changed Avery’s perspective on education so much she created the chat “#IDedchat” a place where Idaho educators gather every Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Each week Avery comes up with a topic, a list of questions and moderates the chats.
“Having a regional weekly chat has been great for educational technology and educational discussion in Idaho,” said Simon Miller, the technology director at the Kellogg School District. “I get many ideas from other Idaho educators and share mine with them as well.”
While Avery would like all Idaho educators to participate in #IDedchat, her real goal is for educators to participate in a least one chat — one that meets their needs.
“A lot of teachers don’t see professional development as something they can control,” Avery said. “They see it as something that is done to them — Twitter is participant driven.”