Informal learning is what we do very willingly, voluntarily, without expecting certificates or recognition in return. We do it for the love of art, for intrinsic motivation and for the desire to learn.
Although it is not a new concept, it is gaining more and more strength. In a time when the initial teacher training questioned, continuous training makes its way, but it is not free from criticism either.
In this sense, there are teachers who understand continuous training as a necessary requirement to obtain points to reach certain milestones in their professional career. Others consider that some of the courses offered are full of educational myths, and are an option with little consistency and no pedagogical basis.
The truth is that most teacher training centers are doing a great job with innovative, practical proposals and have good professionals to carry them out.
The Twitter Universe
Many teachers are finding à la carte training through informal online learning. In this area, Twitter stands out from the rest of its competitors.
Of course, we learn and train on Instagram, Telegram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, etc., but Twitter has become the educational network by excellence.
Between tags, threads, lists and communities, this network continues to advance in the field of continuous training. The incorporation, more than a year ago, of the spaces, social audio spaces, has given Twitter a major boost. You can already find many proposals created by teachers for teachers, such as the Spaces of the #Educational talksthe EduSpaceCafe or the recently added #entredocents.
Regarding the day-to-day practice in educational centers, to find examples, classroom experiences, resources or tools, we must look for the hashtag #virtualclaustro. Many times I am asked what the virtual faculty is or who is its creator or promoter.
The reality is that the #virtualclaustro is not represented by anyone in particular. It is a group of teachers, future teachers and families who one day decided to be part of a “positive Twitter”, constructive, collaborative and supportive.
It is a twitter community, united by a hashtag, which shares, supports and feeds each other in an enormous way, both in quantity and quality. Anyone who has a question, is looking for information on a specific topic or has had a bad day at school has their place in the #virtualclaustro on Twitter.
Of course, there is life beyond the #virtualclaustro. Architecture, art, history, psychology or current affairs also have an important space reserved in the little bird’s network.
Essential profiles such as those of Fernando Plaza Ponce, vanessa gifted, McGuffin Effect, John Fernandez, cheshire pussycat, Henry Guerrero, Peter Torrijos, Maria Jose Mas, Itineratur, Hector Ruiz Martin, Mamen Oven Cheliz, Manuel Fernandez Navas, Julio Mulero, BayesAna, david, EmotionArt, Pikasso God of Vanguards or the baroque These are just some examples of colleagues who make us learn almost without being aware of it.
With their tweets, their threads, and their original proposals, these popularizers captivate us using a plain and close language, typical of Twitter. They manage to put well-structured and developed knowledge at our disposal, so that it is easy for us to follow them. In addition, at the end of many of its threads, it is easy to find the bibliographical references used to elaborate them.
Twitter allows us to interact with them, leaving them comments or questions that they usually answer very kindly. A golden opportunity.
The dark side of Twitter
Although we can not fail to mention the darker side of the networks that, obviously, is also very present on Twitter. It is there, but it is not inevitable. Remember that we have the option to silence words, people or conversations, in addition to being able to block certain users.
To a large extent, our experience will depend on the profile we decide to have on the network, what topics we deal with and with what tone. We can set the limits, although it is not easy. Sometimes you have to try “not to get into the rag”, unless we decide to “get into all the puddles”. It is another equally valid option.
An overwhelming source of learning
Put on a scale, the benefits of using Twitter outweigh the potential drawbacks. There are investigations that have defended its educational potential, highlighting certain tags and users that should be tracked, due to their “intermediation centrality”.
Teachers of future teachers must make students participate in the possibilities offered by networks for their present and future work, through proposals that can connect them directly with the reality of the classroom.
Discovering Twitter is discovering a source of learning that can be overwhelming. In this sense, a good content curation tool is recommended and gradually understand its idiosyncrasies, without despairing.
If we have concerns, on Twitter we will find great promoters and colleagues from whom to learn, with whom to debate, with whom to disagree, with whom to lean, with whom to laugh and with whom to share.