Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge
Build Your Professional Learning Network
Become A Connected Educator!
So, should you use Twitter? Actually, the better question is... Why wouldn't you?
Educators need to be consumers of information—constant seekers of current and relevant content in order to avoid becoming stagnant or complacent in our profession. Most importantly, we need to become the best we can be for our students. One way to make sure this happens is to build a PLN using Twitter, one that will definitely take your teaching to a new level.
Read on to learn more about why the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge is for you!
True Confessions of A Twitter Junkie
I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend some of the best edtech conferences, workshops and training sessions on the planet with some of the biggest names in the edtech world—all of which have been extremely beneficial. Yet, my go-to place for continual learning of invaluable information highlighting best practices, innovative thinking, instructional strategies and the integration of technology is... Yep, Twitter!
Call me crazy, but I honestly learn more and more every day about how to improve my craft by reading info the members of my PLN share across this super popular social media network—resources, tools, articles, thoughts, opinions, inspiration, quotes, images, and more!
And the best part? It’s quick (with a 280 character max per tweet), free, available 24/7 and you can connect, collaborate, discuss, exchange and even debate all sorts of ideas with your virtual colleagues—all in your PJs (or bikini) if you want!
So, You've Scrolled This Far...
Chances are that if you’re still reading about this challenge you’re probably already thinking about the value of Twitter and the importance of finding connections within this global network of educators. So that means you’re either already an addict like me (Hey, it could be worse, right?) or a wannabe tweeter who’s not quite sure how to enter the dark side. Regardless, these activities associated with this project will certainly either reinforce what you already know to be true, teach you a new trick, or kick-start that urge to become a hashtag fanatic!
Will You Accept the Challenge?
So, here's how this non-traditional form of professional development works...
The Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge consists of three parts, all geared toward helping you become a Twitter Super User! Read on to check out additional details about each portion of the project, which will begin on November 13 and conclude on December 19.
All participants will have the opportunity to...
- Work with BASD colleagues to effectively use a social media tool for educational purposes.
- Build a go-to network of like-minded professionals.
- Share your classroom story with others! And yes, it is worth sharing!
- Make global connections with educators throughout the world.
- Whether it’s best practices, instructional strategies, the latest and greatest tech tools or an innovative project, invaluable information is just a hashtag away!
But wait! There's more...
Teachers who successfully complete the challenge will earn an early dismissal on December 21!
Part I: The Twitter Tasks
Part I of the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge has been designed to help you become familiar with this social media tool, all of its features and how to effectively utilize it for professional development purposes. It consists of 16 tasks grouped into weekly assignments that increase in complexity.
The schedule goes something like this...
- November 13-18: Challenges 1-6 (Set-up & Getting Familiar with the Platform)
- November 19-26 Challenges 7-8 (Accommodations made for Thanksgiving Break)
- November 27-December 3: Challenges 9-12
- December 4-11: Challenges 13-16
Challenge #1: Get Your Twitter On!
You've accepted the BDN Twitter Challenge... Yay, you! The first mission involves several steps that will kick-start your journey toward becoming a connected educator.
Twitter Tactics: Your username, also known as a "handle", should be relevant, simple and unique. It's also best to avoid using numbers. Use your school email account to create your professional Twitter account.
2. Add your name and handle to the spreadsheet located here. This document will be used to collaborate, support and congratulate you for stepping out of your comfort zone! Once you've added your info, be sure to follow the B-A colleagues who are also participating in this challenge.
3. OK, so now that you are more familiar with the basics of Twitter, it's time to get your voice out there in the Twittersphere. (Yep, that's actually a word!)
Here's the deal: Tweet the world and tell them you joined the Blue Devil Nation Challenge! Make sure to add the #BDNPLN hashtag to keep the rest of us in the loop.
- I'm super excited to be taking the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge! Join me! #BDNPLN
- Getting my #BDNPLN on with @edutech20 during the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge! #edtech
Challenge #2: A Prime Time Profile
1. Update your profile picture so it is not an "egg". No one wants to talk with an egg.
2. Update your profile so it represents you as an educator and life-long learner. Human interest items can be added as well. Include a short bio so others can learn about you before adding you to their PLN. Remember, your page represents who you are... Be creative! #realdeal
Challenge #3: Find Your Tribe!
Locate at least 15 educators to follow on Twitter (besides the individuals who are part of our cohort). Not sure where to get started? The resources found here and here can help you discover awesome "tweeps", or people on Twitter, to add to your PLN. Follow your favorite edtech tools as well. Doing so will keep you in the loop regarding the latest and greatest updates, features, uses and more!
Some of my best sources of info live here...
Don't forget to check your feed! It should be filling up with Tweets from the people you have followed. #supercool
Challenge #4: Heart the Hashtag
A hashtag is a keyword or a phrase used to describe a topic or a theme. To create a hashtag, the pound sign (#) is used before the word or phrase, minus any spaces or punctuation. Due to the limited space within a tweet, most hastags are typically abbreviations. For example, #edtech represents the educational technology category on Twitter.
A hashtag automatically becomes an active link when included in a tweet. Anyone who sees the hashtag can click on it to be taken to a page featuring all the most recent tweets that contain that particular hashtag.
In a nutshell, hashtags are utilized in tweets to categorize them in a way that makes it simple for other users to quickly find and follow pertinent information. (Almost like a built-in Google search!) So, when you want your tweet to be part of a conversation beyond your followers, add a relevant hashtag to your message, and you’ll automatically reach anyone who is monitoring the same hashtag. Cool, eh?
I love, love me some hashtags, but here are a few hacks to keep in mind in order to utilize them effectively:
- Avoid using too many hashtags in a single tweet. Save room for your real message!
- Use specific phrase hashtags to hone in on a particular topic.
- Hashtags should be relevant to the content of the tweet.
- Hashtag existing words in your tweets to save room.
- Use Twitter trending topics to find hot and current hashtags. (In the left sidebar of your home feed on Twitter.com or in the search tab of the Twitter mobile app, you'll see a list of trending topics according to your geographical location. Use this info to join conversations that are happening at the current moment.)
Once you master the art of hashtags, you'll wonder how you ever lived without them! (Kinda like breathing... and chocolate!) Seriously, though this is one social media trend that isn't going to fade away anytime soon!
So, here's your hashtag homework:
Find at least three educational hashtags using this comprehensive resource developed by @TeachThought: The Complete Guide To Twitter Hashtags For Education. Then send an individual tweet for each one to the #BDNPLN hashtag that includes your new find as well as the reason why you think it's so awesome!
Need some super cool ideas for integrating mobile devices into the classroom? Then be sure to check out the #ipaded feed! #BDNPLN
Challenge #6: Just Like It!
Locate at least three interesting or useful tweets and save them to your favorites list.
Challenge #8: Best. Lesson. Ever!
My Ss really enjoy creating and sharing #iMovie mashups depicting the main events from novels we read in class @AppleEDU #BDNPLN #edtech #ipaded #edapps
Kick It Up a Notch!
Add at least one form of media to all of your tweets for the remainder of the challenge!
Challenge #11: Wisdom Wednesday
For the adventurous: Inspire us with your very own words and then use an app to create an original quote image to pimp out to your tweet. (i.e. InstaQuote, PicLab or Typorama)
In case it's not obvious, this tweet should be posted on a Wednesday! =) Include one of the following hastags: #WisdomWednesday or #WednesdayWisdom. This will definitely attract more attention to you and your digital presence on this platform!
Challenge #12: Meme Madness
Before completing this task, let's make certain we're all on the same page… A meme is cultural symbol or social idea that comes in the form of a captioned photo intended to be humorous, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. Other memes can be videos and verbal expressions. Regardless of its form, this worldwide phenomenon travels quickly from person to person through social media.
So now that we have that out of the way… Your task is to share an educational meme with our community using the #BDNPLN hashtag. Find an existing image to share or create your own using one a site such as ImgFlip or makeameme.org) or click here for a list of apps that can be used to get the job done.
Want a daily dose of memes that will give you the giggles? Be sure to follow all things funny, frustrating and fabulous about our profession @teachergoals.
BTW: Memes are an excellent classroom tool as well! Aside from being a fun and novel way to get students engaged in content, these assignments can address the Creative Communicator standard, part of the ISTE Standards for Students, which expects students to communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using digital media.
A few ways memes can be incorporated into a lesson include bell ringers, class rules or procedures, writing or discussion prompts and more!
Challenge #13: The Ultimate Wish List
Challenge #14: Show Us Your Stuff
Challenge #15: Follow Friday
Creating a graphic to accompany your tweet would be super cool! Just sayin'...
Be sure to add these #edtech rock stars to your #PLN @TechChef4u @burgessdave @TaraMartinEDU @ericcurts @meagan_e_kelly @alicekeeler @tonyvincent @MsVenturino @jmattmiller @NFLaFave @MrSchoenbart @FrewsCrews @SilvioSherrie @AuntyTech #FF
And yes, this task should be completed on a Friday!
Challenge #16: Dare to Dream
Part II: The Next Steps
Expectations for December 12-19:
- Two original tweets and two retweets for the week.
The suggested topic(s): Whatever resource, article, strategy, tool, quote, etc. that will have a positive effect on your growth as an educator, your classroom and/or your students!
Don’t forget to include the #BDNPLN hashtag as well as other relevant tags and hashtags so that our B-A online community and other followers can benefit from the info you are sharing. And as previously mentioned, engagement with tweets increases when media (an image or video) is included. That said, include these items whenever possible.
At the end of this portion of the project, your feed will be pimped out with at least eight original tweets as well as 16 retweets that you and your following can now put to good use! In addition, you'll be finding inspiration from other educators and marketing your learning space to the entire Twittrverse!
BTW: The purpose of this part of the challenge is to encourage you to spend some time each week growing your PLN by continuing to to share, like, follow and even unfollow so that your Twitter feed has a meaningful impact on you and your instruction. Plus, the more you interact with this tool, the more it will become part of your practice! That said, please do not wait until the end of the month to complete the assignments.
Part III: The Wrap-Up
I will be following the #BDNPLN hashtag throughout the challenge and will award badges to BASD educators who fulfill all requirements. Stay tuned for more details...