Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Using Twitter to build a professional learning network - a report from #KidLitCon12

I have been astounded by the connections I've made through social media, connecting to authors, teachers, librarians and others who are passionate about helping children find books that speak to them. This past weekend, I attended KidLitCon in New York City - it's an annual conference for bloggers who write about children's literature. It was a weekend of goodness, and one highlight was listening to Teri Lesesne (rhymes with "insane") talk about using Twitter to build a professional learning network. Teri pulled together so much of what I've experienced over the past year with Twitter.

Teri Lesesne (@ProfessorNana on Twitter),  often known as "the Goddess of YA", is a professor of children’s and YA literature at Sam Houston University.  Teri was inspiring, informative and funny as she shared how social media, and Twitter in particular, has enriched her professional life.

At its essence, Twitter is about connecting people who share common interests and enabling quick, meaningful conversations. Through her extensive network, Lesesne is able to reach out to teachers, school librarians, authors, publishers, editors and more to learn about children’s books. These are educated stakeholders who share information, experience and advice on an informal, collegial manner.

Twitter continues to grow at astounding rates, attracting its largest demographic from women and from people ages 22-55 years old. Its usage has doubled within the last twelve months.

With more limits on professional development funds, it is essential that we invest time and effort in developing our professional network in ways that don’t rely on attending conferences.

Lesesne recommends finding a few trusted voices, following their conversations and exploring who they’re talking with. John Schumacher (@MrSchuReads), Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks), Paul Hankins (@PaulWHankins) and Katherine Sokolowski (@katsok) all are excellent choices. Start by listening to their conversations and exploring links they share, but then try jumping in and adding your perspective.

Finally, Lesesne recommended checking out a regular Twitter chat such as #titletalk. Titletalk is a monthly chat hosted by Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp, held on the last Sunday of every month at 8pm Eastern time. Each month, teachers and librarians from across the US (and beyond) gather on Twitter to share their favorite children's books. Just last weekend, the Titletalk focused on book talking as a way to recommend books (archive available here). One great way to follow a Twitter chat such as this is using the website TweetChat.

Check out more of Lesesne's excellent points through her SlideShare presentation. Follow her on Twitter (@ProfessorNana) - she shares a wealth of information. And stop by her blog (Professor Nana) to get great reading recommendations.

I really enjoy using Twitter to connect with librarians, teachers and children's book lovers. It's a wonderful resource for when I'm trying to think of new titles to share with kids. And the best is connecting with others who are just as excited about sharing books. Come say hi to me on Twitter if you get a chance - I'm @MaryAnnScheuer.

©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the summary! I just "followed" a bunch of new folks.