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MaternityTeacher blogger, Lucy Braidley (@Lucy_Braidley) sums up her top 5 reasons for using Twitter as a CPD tool whilst on parental leave.

Like any social media platform there are pros and cons to using Twitter, but over the last few weeks I’ve begun to see it as a really useful CPD platform , especially if you’re on parental leave and feeling a little out of the teaching loop.

Here are 5 ways that I’ve found Twitter useful:

1. News

Important updates in the world of education don’t always make it in to the mainstream headlines so I really like using the new feeds from sites like @schoolsweek, @educationgovuk, @tes, to keep up to date with changing policies and new announcements.

2. Community

I don’t have a huge Twitter following by any stretch of the imagination but I can still access more teaching professionals, in quicker time via Twitter than I ever could in person. It’s so useful to be able to ask questions and canvas opinions. Networking Twitter feeds like @WomenEd and Twitter conversations like #primaryrocks, #ukedchat and #sltchat are great for finding out what other professional are doing, sharing best practice and getting support.

3. Debate

Where you find people, you’ll find differing opinions and Twitter is no different. Sometimes it can be a bit much, but I have come to appreciate debate as an important catalyst for reflection and development. That said, I also think it important not to analyse every word people say when they only have 140 characters to make a point! Recently my Twitter experience greatly improved when I discovered how to the mute conversations which gives some blessed relief when a particular thread goes on and on!

4. Inspiration

There are so many ideas out there in the Twittersphere. I always keep a note book for teaching ideas, especially as I’m not at school at the moment and there will be a delay before I can try any of them out. I’ve been put in touch with loads of interesting websites and podcasts through Twitter, like the podcast from @mrbartonmaths (Warning: you will find yourself very inspired and far more likely to say “flipping ‘eck” after listening to this!) and resources from the @stemettes and @literacyshed…the list goes on.

5. Welfare

In general have found the educators I follow on Twitter to be very forward thinking, positive and engaged in making schools an even better place to be for children and teachers. The teacher welfare movement on Twitter has been a real inspiration to me and something I want to really focus on when I go back to school. In particular the #teacher5aday @teacher5aday and all of the resources on www.schoolwell.co.uk from @samschoolstuff have given me lots of food for thought.

If anyone has any recommendations for me please let me know @Lucy_Braidley, @maternity_CPD