Twitter For Teachers 10 reasons for education professionals to use Twitter
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a “microblogging” site where people share tweets
Microblogging is a term that means blogging by posting small chunks of information
These small chunks of information are called tweets
Tweets range in content from personal to professional, with many posting links to important information found on the web
Increasingly, educators are, “bend(ing) Twitter to the purpose (they) want to use it for!” (O’Connell, 2009)
#1: Collaboration with Peers
“ With Twitter, educators can actively compare what’s happening in their classrooms with others on different continents” (Tech&Learning, 2009).
In the past, teachers taught in isolation, alone in their classrooms. Increasingly, that model has shifted to a collaborative model. Twitter allows teachers to communicate with each other, whether next door or around the world, and come up with new and inspiring ways of teaching.
#2 Sharing of Ideas and Resources
Twitter can be like a virtual staffroom where teachers can access in seconds a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from a hand-picked selection of global professionals (Tech & Learning, 2009).
So many times I’ve learned new ideas and resources from colleagues just by sitting in the same room, having a conversation. Twitter takes the conversation world-wide.
#3 Pro-D opportunities are open to the world, in real time.
Pro-D activities previously confined to a specific geographical area can be opened to the world.
For example, during the “Hacking Education” conference, held in Manhattan in 2009, participants posted real-time tweets outlining the days discussions, which were answered by the tweets of others from around the world (Johnson, 2009).
#4: Breaking News
Twitter users can tweet from mobile devices, which means information can be added instantly from just about anywhere. Breaking news stories are often posted to Twitter before mainstream media can broadcast them. This makes Twitter invaluable for keeping abreast of new information or when teaching a unit on current events.
#5 Searching for Current Information.
Twitter allows you to search for information. Unlike using other search engines, you will see links to sites that others have found useful. The information is likely to be very current, as Twitter users will only link to what they’ve found during current research.
#6 Finding Experts
Who is an expert? Web 2.0 tools have made the internet more interactive. Individuals from all educational backgrounds are posting material, leaving the reader to figure out what’s relevant, accurate and useful. Increasingly, “contribution counts for more than credentials” (Hamel, 2009), as all materials are considered equally. Experts are those who actively contribute to their field and keep abreast of new information.
Phil Bradley uses Twitter to prompt users to read his blog: “ I have my blog entries posted across to Twitter, which alerts followers to what I'm talking about in more detail. I also feed the Twitter posts back to the weblogs to point out to blog readers what I'm doing on Twitter” (Bradley, 2009). This helps solve the problem of recruiting readers. Having trouble getting parents to check the class/library blog? Link to Twitter, so parents can get notifications when new items have been added to the blog.
#8 Event Promotion
Twitter messages can get people excited about upcoming events:
start a count down to student led conferences
send out excited tweets about the upcoming book fair
post a link to your school fun fair website
The possibilities are endless.
#9 Keeping up with the latest technology
As with Facebook and other social networking technology, Twitter is a part of many student’s lives. As educators, it is important to keep up with technology our student’s use in order to keep our classrooms dynamic and relevant. In addition, “even if you don’t think Twitter has any applications that will work for you at the moment that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future” (College@home, 2010).
#10 Reflective Practice
Reflecting on what works well and what needs improvement is an important part of honing one’s teaching practice. “ Teachers on Twitter share these reflections and both support and challenge each other” (Tech&Learning, 2009).
And one more thing…
Everyone needs down time. Posting personal interests and sharing the events of a day remind us that we all need re-creation time. And who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone who shares your idea of re-creation!
Bradley, P. (2009). Using twitter in libraries. Retrieved from http://www.trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/295581
College@home. (2010). Twitter for librarians: the ultimate guide. Retrieved from: http://www.trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/295582
Johnson, S. (2009). How twitter will change the way we live. Retrieved from: http://www.trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/328540
O’Connell, J. (2009). Making twitter work for me – and you! Retrieved from: http://www.trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/916667
Tech & Learning. (2009). Nine reasons to twitter in schools. Retrieved from http://www.trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/297714