Online Toolkit for developing a Personal Learning Network with Twitter

personal learning networkOne of the benefits of having an online presence is making connections with professionals from all over the world. I met Dorlee Michaeli, MBA, LMSW over Twitter a year or so ago. She created and manages Social Work.Career, a blog that provides a variety of resources to help advance an individual’s social work career  for current students or  experienced mental health professionals. In addition to career-related resources, there are interviews, key learnings from conferences/workshops, licensure exam tips, self-care guidance and more for life-long learning as a social work professional.

This summer, we created online toolkits for social work educators based on our blogs. Dorlee’s toolkit, Social Work Career’s Online Toolkit for the Social Work Educator, showcases several blog posts from Social Work.Career that will help prepare undergraduate or graduate social work students become more prepared for a career in social work.  Also included with the toolkit are some possible classroom assignments/tasks. We tip our hat to Ellen Belluomini who wrote this blog post; she was our inspiration for creating the exercises to meet the 2015 CSWE Social Work Competencies.

Here is my toolkit about developing a personal learning network (PLN) with Twitter:

A personal learning network (PLN) offers social workers and students a practical tool to stay current and share information about latest professional news, practice knowledge, and cutting-edge research findings.  I recently wrote about how a social worker can set-up a PLN using professional accounts on different social media platforms.

My favorite social media platform for my own PLN is Twitter, and this post offers tips for using Twitter effectively to maintain and engage with your PLN.  All of these tips come from my blog, Teaching & Learning in Social Work, which focuses on teaching and learning in social work.  While some of the original posts focus on the social work classroom, the practices and content can be easily adapted by any social work practitioner for their own use with a PLN.  Here are eight great ideas for using Twitter with your PLN:

Tip for PLN Blog Post Student/Social Worker Activity
1. How to set-up a professional Twitter Account Twitter Project for HBSE Course After reading this post, review your own Twitter profile and see how it compares to the recommendations offered by Dr. Anthony and Ms. Arrington.  Did you change your profile, and if so, how?  What else would you recommend that a professional social work do with his or her Twitter account?
2. How to create a Twitter List How I learned to stop worrying and love Twitter, Part 1 Select a professional topic of interest to you, and create a public list on Twitter with at least 15 different groups and/or individuals.  Include a meaningful title and description about your list.  Send out a tweet about your new list.
3. Understanding Hashtags and Back Channeling How I learned to stop worrying and tweet, Part 2 Search for two or three different social work related hashtag and review the different posts with the hashtags.  What did you learn from the posts? Then, look for a social work conference hashtag, and follow it.  What did you learn?  At the next conference you attend, use the conference hashtag.  If they don’t have hashtag, recommend one.
4. How to network using Twitter Tweeting Is Not Just For The Birds… By Natasha Langner After reading this blog post, apply one of Natasha’s networking tips. Describe how the tip worked for you or not.  What would you do differently? What tip would you recommend to your social work peers?  Follow Natasha at @natashalangner.
5. How to learn about social policy content via Twitter Making Social Policy Relevant Through Social Media After reading Dr. Borhman’s post, search on Twitter for the users and hashtags discussed in her post (#BlackLivesMatter). What did you learn from this process?  Identify a social policy of interest to you and then search on Twitter for users and hashtags relevant to the policy.  Follow Dr. Borhman at @CaseyBohrman.
6. How to use Twitter with a group or organization Twitter for Social Work Student Organizations Read my recommendations for using Twitter with a professional social work group.  Identify a similar group or organization that you know, and see if they are using Twitter.  If so, review how they are using Twitter and identify one new practice that they could adopt. If not, help them set up a Twitter account.
7. Learn about live Twitter chats How to participate in a Live Twitter Chat – Tips for Social Workers Locate and participate in at least one live Twitter chat.  What did you learn from the experience?  Would you join another chat?  Why or why not?
8. Great example of how to transition Twitter from the classroom to a professional tool Twitter: The Educational Commons By Justin Vest Read Justin’s post, and visit Justin on Twitter at @Justin_Vest. How has his use of Twitter changed over time?

Do you have a tip for using Twitter for your PLN not listed here?  If you are a social work educator using some these posts in your classroom, please submit a comment and share your idea.

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

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