Twitter as a Research Resource

Back in the fall I was given the assignment to learn as much as I could about the iPad in order to support the agency I work for, and our member districts, as they begin various pilot programs.  When I was first presented with this project, I was overwhelemed with the amount of information I was finding.  How could I possibly sift through all of the opinions, suggestions, top ten lists of the greatest apps ever, apps you MUST have lists, etc?  Twitter, and my PLN, to the rescue!  I only follow 32 people on Twitter, but I have chosen these people very carefully.  They are mostly people I have met through my association with the DEN, or people who have been recommended by my PLN.  They are all people who are passionate about education and are very committed to looking for the very best ways to educate the people they work with, whether they are young people or adults.

Every time one of these folks tweeted something about the iPad, I would grab the link and add it to my list of resources.  Periodically, I would take a block of time and go and check them out for myself.  Well over ninety percent of these recommendations have been highly useful to me, whether to increase my own understanding of how iPads could be used in education, finding an app for a particular use, or steering me away from apps that would be a waste of my time.

I initially set up my Twitter account as a way to stay in touch with my PLN.  The real benefit has been the sharing of knowledge with a group of people that I have come to regard even more highly than I did before.  If you are not part of a PLN (Professional Learning Network), I recommend you get involved with one.  Because of my association with the DEN, I have had the good fortune to connect with people from all over the country that I never would have known about otherwise.  The value they have added to my life, both professionally and personally, has been immeasurable.