The explosion in the use of social media over the last few years has produced an incredibly powerful tool for teachers to use for professional development and networking.

Social media can be used within the classroom but outside is now the number one way to be able to promote your own work, enhance your professional development, share ideas of good practice, work in partnership with other teachers on virtual projects which are of interest to you (and in turn further your professional development), network with other teachers and find out general information which can enhance your own skills.

Ways to source professional development opportunities

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is vital for both your own skill enhancement as well as being a mandatory requirement of being a teacher. CPD can be gathered in a comprehensive list of ways and the use of social media means that you have access to hearing about many CPD opportunities as well as the attending of events such as webinars.

Using social media means that you can sign up to hear about exciting conferences and subject-specific seminars and to take part in online discussion groups and virtual presentations, often at a time to suit you as once they have been aired live, they are usually made available for download or for watching at any time afterwards.

Idea sharing

Having a social network profile means that you can share your ideas on teaching practice as well as attendance at virtual conferences with others. Peer to peer support is a great way to add to your professional development as you can learn from their experiences and get some new ideas for lesson planning and share visual aids used successfully in the classroom in the past.

Work as part of a virtual team

There are a number of online groups where it is possible to join in with discussions and to be able to access industry influencers. This gives teachers the opportunity to be able to add to their development in that they can be part of online working collaborations which in turn strengthens their own personal development, enhances their experience and develops useful network contacts to then share ideas and then join at online CPD events.

Promoting your experience in the public domain

If you are looking to share your teaching experience with others; perhaps you’re looking for career development or to enter other fields of education, it’s now possible for employers to see your online CV using professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. You can list your academic and professional qualifications as well as describe your teaching experience. Upload a portfolio of your work and even have your skills endorsed by current and previous colleagues.

Gaining CPD each year means that as time goes on you’ll enrich your teaching practice methodology, keep up to date with general and subject curriculum changes and learn more about your job along the way. Professional development doesn’t always have to mean attending real life courses, reading books and taking further qualifications – they are part of the overall mix – but the use of social media is now a rich vein of information to fully utilise to gain knowledge and to meet other like-minded teachers from all areas of the world which in itself is personal and social interaction which will all contribute to you being an ever better teacher as the terms go by.