By way of introducing myself, I'd like to respond to Deanna Cullen's blog post about social media here on ChemEd X with some ideas of my own. The reason I'm here is that Deanna found me through following one of the chemistry-related Twitter chats and invited me to join ChemEd X as a contributor. I currently teach IBDP Chemistry at the American International School of Bucharest. Since my early days as a teacher, I have utilized technology throughout my instruction. I also incorporate some ideas from the modeling chemistry movement to help my students understand chemistry at the particle level. I'm hoping to share some ideas that will inspire you to try new things, and I'm also expecting to learn a lot from all of you that interact with us here at ChemEd X.
I would like to share some of the ways I use Twitter in my professional life. First and foremost, I have an amazing network of friends and colleagues on Twitter (a.k.a. Tweeps) that make up my Professional Learning Network (PLN). I am inspired by my interactions with them. They constantly share ideas through their Tweets, Retweets, blog posts and links. They also form a great resource for my questions. Any time I'm interested in trying something new or stumped by a problem, I'll put up a Tweet and invariably get responses that are very helpful.
Another great feature of Twitter is the wide variety of hash tag chats to follow and join. A few related to chemistry are:
#chemchat: A chat for all things chemistry-related. HS Chemistry teacher @jmbalaya helps organize a weekly chat at 5:00 PM PST. I'm asleep in Eastern Europe for these chats but I always go back through them to get ideas and respond to ideas that are put forth. I have too many names to mention here without forgetting somebody. Suffice it to say you will find all manner of discussion here about teaching chemistry.
#modchem: This is a hashtag to follow if you are interested in following the modeling chemistry movement. Many of the teachers involved share images of student-created whiteboard diagrams, inspiring ideas for my own class whiteboarding.
#scichat: A chat for all things science-related.
#180blog: This hashtag is used by teachers that create a blog post for each day of the school year. It is not chemistry-specific but there are some fantastic ideas generated within these posts. I've posed questions to some of the bloggers here to further the discussion and get clarification on an idea. I've also used some of these Tweets to expand my PLN and find new teachers to follow.
And finally, in light of the recent chemical accident, I saw #chemsafety pop up on my timeline also. This is worth following to see if it develops a critical mass of participants.
I have also begun to follow science bloggers and working scientists in order to stay on top of new developments and satisfy my curiosity. By no means is this an all-inclusive list, but I'd like to share a few names here as well.
@DeborahBlum: Author of "The Poisoner's Handbook" and a blogger for Wired: Science. She loves to delve into the chemistry of poisons along with other everyday life connections. I've had my students respond to some of her blog posts from a previous site she wrote for and she took the time to respond.
@compoundchem: Self-proclaimed graduate chemist that explores the chemistry of everyday compounds and creates interesting infographics that I've shared with my class.
@ChemBark: Chemistry blogger with posts that run the gamut from …
@Sci_ents: Runs the aptly-named chemistry-blog.com that covers quite a few topics the stir my curiosity.
@cenmag: The official Twitter account for Chemical and Engineering News, that familiar publication from the A.C.S.
@ChemEdX: And of course you should follow the official Twitter account for us here on the ChemEd X!
To organize my Twitter life, I use the Chrome Extension TweetDeck. I have several columns set up for my Twitter accounts, hashtags I follow and Mentions and Direct Messages. I can follow and un-follow users from within TweetDeck also, making it simple to expand my PLN when I see a Tweet from somebody interesting.
Look me up on Twitter (@ThomsonScience) and say hello. Check out the list of people I follow to get other ideas not mentioned here.
What other ways have you used Twitter in your professional life? Do you have chemists and/or teachers you recommend to follow?