Slaughter's Tech Moment
Twitter for Educators
What is Twitter Really About?
Twitter just celebrated ten years, and there are many educators just now jumping on the wagon. That's okay, hop on in and discover what all the twitter is about.
First of all, Twitter is nothing like Facebook or MySpace. Twitter is live at the moment posting. It is a literal snapshot of the moment!
Why Should Educators use Twitter?
Meet and communicate with passionate educators!
Twitter can connect you with educators that will help you feel empowered, encouraged, and inspired!
It is a place where you can:
- follow people from all walks of life from all over the globe
- follow companies and communities that are on the cusp of education movements
- gather insight and information from educators that are just like you
- catch up on the educational movements that are occurring and stay abreast of what is happening in education.
- literally have a meeting with a variety of educators in real-time
- ask questions and gather insight from experts from any field
- grow your PLN- Personal Learning Network and what is fantastic is that you can get fresh water (learning and ideas) outside your district, and it is FREE!
You can get up to the minute:
- get immediate up to the minute information and feedback
- new ways to look at your school and classroom
- strategies to overcome obstacles
- ideas, thoughts, and concerns about education
The best part is that on Twitter you determine what and when you learn.
You have choices, and you can use your voice! It is what you make of it and how much you choose to participate. You are in charge of your professional development!
Picture below by the genius: Sylvia Duckworth
First things first, get signed up for Twitter!
Your Twitter handle is what you will give out to people to help them follow you. For example, I wouldn't just give someone my name and tell them to follow me. I would tell them to find me, Crystal Slaughter, on Twitter @crystaslaughter. Your Twitter handle helps potential followers narrow down the list on Twitter to your specific account.
You want to make your Twitter account settings are as open as possible to allow you better ways to connect and more reach for your ideas
Things You Need to Know
Let's look at the buttons.
The arrow connects you directly to that person and their page for replying to the post.
The double arrows can allow you to do two things.
- Retweet or Quote Tweet– When you click this you can either choose to retweet (share the post) or Quote Retweet (which is what Kyle did above with my tweet).
The heart doesn’t allow the post to be seen on your page but allows the person know you agreed with the Tweet.
Hashtags are used to help people to be able to search for tweets that have a common topic. Many times it is associated with a group or community of learners.
Begin Connecting and Creating a Professional Learning Community (PLN)
#1- Promote your Twitter Handle! Let people know that you are on Twitter!
Follow people you meet at Professional Development or in classes you may attend.
Look at some of the hashtags below and follow the conversations that are taking place. You will soon find people that you will want to follow and they may even follow you back.
Participate in Twitter Chats!
#2- Search those Hashtags
Begin with searching for a hashtag, retweeting things you like, and most importantly quote the retweet with what you liked about the tweet (be sure to add the hashtag to your quote).
Some great ones #tlap, #InnovatiorsMindset, #Edtechafterdark
Advice on Building a PLN
Twitter is all about networking and connecting!
- Follow teachers you know are have heard of, follow people in your building, or in your district.
- Follow experts in fields of study or skill that connect to your subject or goal for how you want to improve in an area. Begin following chats and follow teachers that catch your interest.
- When you begin to follow people, many will begin to following you back.
- Make yourself known. Tweet about your ideas on education or things that are happening in your classroom, school, and district.
- Retweet things that you feel are worth sharing. People will begin taking interest in you and will begin following you which leads to more people for you to connect with and soon you have a Personal Learning Network.
- Don't forget to Hashtag. Hashtags connect you with people within a group or category of interest. A couple of my favorite are #edchat or #moedchat.
Some great hashtags to follow and use when posting. Hashtags are how you really get your ideas out there!
What are some great Twitter Chats?
Chats are basically meetings or conversations that take place on Twitter at a given time on a given day with a given topic.
Chats are a great way to develop connections, but more importantly, it is like sitting down in a meeting with a large group of educators like you! You can pick their brains, share your thoughts, relate and reflect your instructional practices.
Start out cyber-stalking and following along, and then when you feel comfortable, jump in and voice your thoughts. The one I started with was #moedchat. It takes place on Thursday nights at 9:00 PM. I loved connecting with educators in my home state. Now I have chats that I connect with several times a week.
If you are interested in more chats or how I go about chatting, I can hook you up with some of my other favorites and tips for enjoying them.
The video below is a great resource for how chatting on Twitter works and don't forget to follow her @coolcatteacher!
Check out Moedchats website and follow them @moedchat
Twitter Lingo: What are they saying?
With the limit of 140 characters, tweeps have gotten great at shortening words and creating a lingo. Some popular ones for teachers are
PD- Professional Development
DM- Direct Message (You can only private or direct message someone who follows you.)
What Do People Tweet About?
- Things that are happening in your classroom, school, or district.
- News that makes you think or gets you excited about teaching.
- Educational resources that you love or find useful.
- Blog posts that interest you.
- Quotes that make you ponder,
- Questions you have about education, even if they are hypothetical.
Things to Remember
- It's okay to just cyber-stalk in the beginning!
- Follow people, but do not be offended if they do not follow you back. Everyone is creating their own PLN!
- It is about getting connected with people that make you think and grow, not about how many you follow or how many follow you.
- You do not have to read every message or keep track of all the chats every week! (It is your PLN and should be used when you have the time to enjoy it!)
- Don't feel bad if you come into a Twitter chat late. Jump in or out as needed!
- You can connect your Twitter account to other social media like LinkedIn, +Google, your website, and more, Hootsuite is a great tool for helping you keep track of all of it!
This is about learning and feel free to take advantage of the freedom of choice and voice! You can do as little or as much as you want! Lurk, become a Twitter Novice, or become a maniac TWEEP! It is up to you!
Programs and Apps to Help You Keep Track