the Dragonfly journal

Twitter: Is it really CPD?

By Dragonfly Training

Right, So I know what you’re thinking… Dragonfly Training, a provider of Continued Professional Development (CPD) are about to rubbish the possibilities of finding effective, worthwhile advice and teaching techniques on a social media site. If so, then you’d be wrong.

Initially, you would be right, we were afraid of social media and especially twitter because of the all the negative press that you hear about in the news and more importantly, the sharing of unregulated and unexamined resources that can become communal information. We not only questioned whether it would simply provide tips and tricks for ‘techy teachers’ but have negative impact in education and open a can of worms in terms of teacher privacy… how wrong we were.

Here at Dragonfly Training, we are fully embracing Twitter and all of its potential, chiefly for one simple reason, Differentiation. As teachers, planning to meet the needs of all your learners is still one of the hardest challenges that face us in the classroom and differentiating lessons and topics within each lesson is key to the learning outcome. Therefore, taking this into account from a teacher-pupil perspective, why can’t we flip the standard learning process and differentiate to teacher-teacher learning? We all know that this happens in school, so why not online?

For this, Twitter is the perfect platform.

Over the last few months, Dragonfly has created a twitter profile, followed educationalists including teachers, consultants, service providers and school suppliers and shared an abundance of information that is certainly ‘worthwhile’ and some advice has even found its way into our courses. Now, we want you to do the same.

Twitter has become a fantastic environment for the education industry and continues to grow with more and more teachers signing up every day. With Teachmeet’s becoming more popular and seemingly popping up in every city across the UK, Educational events been promoted entirely through twitter and educational Hashtags (more on this later) trending not only in the UK but worldwide – the reality is that Twitter really is an environment that CPD can and does exist. So, here are a few tips to start you on the path to becoming a #tweacher.

The 1st question we hear every day is, ‘What is a hashtag?

In basic terms, a hashtag is simply a word or phrase with no gaps which is preceded by a ‘#’.

With Twitter containing over 200 million active users, finding the topic you are looking for can seem like finding a needle in a hay stack. The hashtag ‘#’ used before the word/phrase allows it to become a findable term and creates a mini eco-system or forum where other like-minded tweeters can share and consume information related to that particular hashtag. For example, if you want to share a resource that you have created for MFL lessons using an iPad you could tweet using the hashtags #MFL #iPad (more on hashtags to use for specific sharing). Other tweeters can then search for these hashtags and thus the sharing begins.

If you want to convey a message to a specific person you simply include their twitter handle (their @ address e.g. @Dragonfly_Edu). You can include more than one person, if you wish to send a group tweet.

So now that the basics are covered, here are our Top 5 hashtags to follow, contribute and consume information from.

Dragonfly’s Top 5 Twitter Hashtags

  1. #ukedchat – UK Education- Join #ukedchat every Thursday between 8-9pm for educators Twitter chat. Vote which topic you would like to be discussed prior to a session at
  2. #ukedtech – UK technology in education.  Follow for all general education technology related subjects. Alternatively you can use #iPaded for iPad related discussion.
  3. #SLTchat – Created by @teachertoolkit Senior Leadership Team Chat forum for ALL Teachers & Business Managers interested in UK school leadership. To follow the conversation be online Sundays at 8-8.30pm, to see future topics go to
  4. #Education – All things education, but useful to monitor general education news and updates.
  5. #Teaching - Generally used for information and conversations directed at teachers, also used when posting teaching jobs – if you’re looking for your next move this is one to watch.

Other useful hashtag’s for teachers in Wales are #addcym and for those in Ireland #EdChatie

Although there are an extraordinary amount of teachers out there sharing fantastic resources and providing advice and ideas to implement in the classroom, here are a few that you MUST follow to get an abundance of effective information that can certainly be regarded as CPD.

@natkin Revolutionising learning using extreme sports,science and tech. iPads in the classroom to transform learners into independent creators. IOP, creator of @exscites and Dragonfly Trainer.

@teachertoolkit Award winning Assistant Headteacher; creator of #SLTchat & #SLTeachMeet sharing #5MinPlan ; writer for @GuardianTeach

@joedale UK Independent modern foreign languages and technology consultant. Host of the TES MFL forum and MFL portal manager for the OU’s Vital programme. #MFLtwitterati

@ICTevangelist iPad 4 learning, Subject lead for ICT & Leader of Digital Learning @ Clevedon School, Author of The Perfect ICT Lesson. Preorder here:

@BarryNsmith79 I teach teachers. I teach children. I believe in teaching with passion and conviction. I don’t believe in educational snake oil. Dragonfly Trainer.

@Simon_Warburton Deputy head with a passion for learning, leadership and sharing ideas #SLTChat co facilitator. Please visit my blog for ideas about leadership & learning.

@asober TES Science Lead @tesScience, Official iMindMap Leader and Institute of Physics Coordinator for Gloucestershire. Love Technology in Edu.

@mrlockyer Deputy Head. Passionate: inventive: creative. GCT, M.Ed, Ne.Rd Founder of @useedu, #SLTeachMeet & #battt. Winner of Startup Weekend London 2013.

And of course – don’t forget to follow us on @Dragonfly_Edu

You can also follow @batttuk and use #battt to help bring a teacher to twitter as well as attending the ‘Using Blogs, Wikis, Twitter & Social BookMarking course’ by @joedale.

Here at Dragonfly we certainly believe that there is a plethora of useful information via twitter but should be utilised as a part of a total CPD package and can never be replaced by a 100% practical and hands-on full day course.