Yes, this stuff exists on Twitter, but those who have gone deeper with this tool have discovered that Twitter has a lot to offer educators in terms of making connections with students and parents, collaborating with and learning from colleagues, and extending and enhancing learning.
Another complaint from those new to Twitter is how foreign the language seems with all of those symbols and abbreviations in each tweet. If this is off-putting to you, you may want to check out this link to help you get started. Learning just a few basics can make Tweets much easier to understand:
Twitter in Plain English
Twitter in 60 Seconds
Twitterholics Ultimate Guide to All Things Twitter
Mom This Is How Twitter Works
Twitter in EducationAs more and more educators join Twitter, the number of ideas for using Twitter in schools grows. A simple Google search for Twitter in Education will bring up many resources worth exploring, and I encourage you to do so, but for those of you who are short on time, here are a few resources to get you started:
60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom
100 ways to Use Twitter in Education
28 Simple Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom
100 Twitter Tips for Teachers
Some of my favorite examples of uses for Twitter in education include:
- Using Twitter as a backchannel for live discussions around an event. For example, students live tweeting to a hashtag during the Presidential Debate.
- Crowd-sourcing resources to a Twitter handle. For example having the student body tweet pictures of school events to the journalism department Twitter account.
- Using Twitter to find answers. For example, creating a Google survey and tweeting it out to collect responses from the world.
- Learning the art of brevity. For example, having students tweet book summaries, main ideas or short poems to share.
- Promoting the great things that are going on in class or school. Example, having a class hashtag or school account as a resource for parents to get updates or learn about your class/school.
Second, I learn by taking part in formal Twitter chats. There are several Twitter chats that happen weekly that really push my thinking and learning. It's nice to know that not only do I have local colleagues with whom I can learn and collaborate, I also have a world-wide community of educators who are dealing with the same issues that I am.
Finally, I learn via Twitter by engaging in direct conversations with great teachers who I otherwise wouldn't be connected. The Twitter education community has a very positive and welcoming culture that makes reaching out to someone I've never met easy and rewarding. I can honestly say I've had meaningful conversations with education leaders that I would otherwise have to pay a lot of money to see in an impersonal setting at a conference. I also know that if I tweet out a question to my followers, I will likely find someone who will tweet me back with an answer. The power of this personal learning network constantly amazes me.