Social media can be a great way for teachers to learn about new tools and to interact with other educators. For this week's Tech Tip Tuesday, I am focusing on how educators can utilize Twitter. Twitter was started in 2006, and soon after it began, teachers started using it to share resources and ideas from all over the world. Twitter is considered a micro-blogging platform; Tweets are restricted to 140 characters with a few exceptions. This makes it a great way to engage in conversation, share concise ideas, and link to useful websites, blog posts, and other educational resources.
Lots of great resources exist to help teachers get started on Twitter, so to save time, I am going to link to some of the best I've found. Check these out:
Twitter for Educators: A Beginner's Guide by Amber Coggin
Twitter for Teachers: A Guide for Beginners by Creative Education
Getting Started Using Twitter for Educational Excellence (podcast) by Vicki Davis
Twitter Tutorial for Beginners - Especially Teachers (YouTube video) by Julie Smith
The Twitteraholic's Ultimate Guide to Tweets, Hashtags, and All Things Twitter by Sue Waters via The Edublogger
Educators New to Twitter (website)
If you need more help, please send me a message! Once you have set up a Twitter account, here's a list of educators I would recommend following. After you have followed several, Twitter will suggest other accounts to follow. I follow all the people I am recommending, and they are all active on Twitter and share great information and resources. Several of the guides linked above give follower recommendations as well.
Next, consider participating in or lurking during an education Twitter chat. Twitter chats are generally held every week at a specified time. For example, educators in Oklahoma (#OklaED) lead a Twitter chat every Sunday from 8:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. (central time). Some Twitter chats are based on a specific subject (English) or grade level (3rd grade), while others may be organized around a book (Teach Like a Pirate, #TLAP) or an educational practice (flipped classroom, #flipclass). This Google Site lists all official Education Chats on Twitter and also provides a Google Calendar of the chats, which can be configured for the major U.S. time zones. Look for one or two education Twitter chats that interest you. The hashtag (#) is important because that's how you will follow the conversation. Although you can use the regular Twitter app or website to participate in a Twitter chat, I would recommend using TweetDeck (on a computer) or HootSuite (on a mobile device). Both of these tools make it much easier to follow a hashtag (#). If you would like more information about how to participate in/lurk during a Twitter chat, please check out one of these guides:
How Do You Participate in a Twitter Chat? by Matt Renwick
How to Get Started with Twitter Chats by Monica Burns via SimpleK12 (this post includes a short video)
Participating in a Twitter Chat by Alice Keeler
My final recommendation with respect to Twitter is a service called Twurly. I will admit that I don't make time for Twitter every day; in fact, I will sometimes go several weeks without really checking out my Twitter feed. However, I still like to know what people are sharing on Twitter, especially what resources are being shared by other educators. Twurly allows me to see all of the great links without having to weed through my Twitter feed. Once you sign-up on Twurly's website with your Twitter account, Twurly sends a daily email with the best links that were shared by the people you follow on Twitter. It only takes me about a minute to scan through the 50 or so headlines of the shared links to decide which links (if any), I want to click on and read about. Here's a small sample of the email I received today:
Twitter can be a lot to take in. The best advice I have received about it is don't worry about trying to catch all of the information and resources. It is impossible. Instead, dip your toe in every once in a while and look for resources that will help you improve just one thing in your teaching practice.
Do you use Twitter to improve your practice or to learn about educational resources? What educators would you recommend that teachers follow?
High School Business & Technology Teacher in Skiatook, Oklahoma.
Tall Tech Teacher Website by Jamie Fithian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.