Technology

Why Teachers Should Join Twitter…What I have Learned as a Twitter Newbie

Adaptivelearnin Profile

Okay, I admit that I rebelled against joining Twitter for the longest time.  I had friends and family members urging me to join.  I often said, “Why should I join another social networking site?  I have not used MySpace for a while  and am quite happy with Facebook.”  Those who were part of the Twitter community kept insisting that I join because in their words it was better than Facebook.  I had no idea what I was missing on Twitter.  Months would pass and I was quite determined that I did not need Twitter.  I was fine without it.  I kept social networking for my personal life.  I did not see why I needed it otherwise.

Several months ago I finally decided to give Twitter a try.  Well, I signed up for Twitter and that was the most of me using it for several months.  I decided to actually give it a try almost two weeks ago for professional purposes. (Update: Since this post was originally drafted, I have now actively been using Twitter for almost 2 months.)  Boy, was I wrong about not needing it!  There is a community of networking and collaboration among educators from the U.S. and all over the world that I have missed out on.  I jumped right into developing my PLN (Personal Learning Network).  If you have been on Twitter for a while and/or have been part of a PLN then this all may sound silly to you.  I know many teachers who do not know about the great benefits to using Twitter for professional purposes.  I am particularly writing this post for all of my teacher friends and other teachers out there who don’t know what they are missing out on, like I had been.  Educators normally have a negative opinion about social networking due to privacy concerns.  I am not advocating using social networking or Twitter for personal and non-professional contact with students.  I believe that there needs to be a professional line between student and teacher.  Some would argue to disagree with me, but that is not the intent of this post.  I do believe that educators should use Twitter for professional purposes with other educators.   I am writing this blog post as a newbie to Twitter.  I am writing from the observation and opinion of what I have learned in a short period.  My goal is to educate those who rebelled against Twitter or were clueless about its professional power, and networking.  So if you are not a part of Twitter and are rolling your eyes to what I am saying now, I urge you to read through the rest of this post on what I have learned and how you too can benefit from it.  If you don’t belong to Twitter, I urge you to open an account and try it for a week or two.  Use some of the things I have learned here in getting you started.  I have read articles & blogs, watched videos, read presentations, taken educational surveys, listened to podcasts, chatted with other educators, etc.  The list goes on and on of the type of educational-related items I have delved in within the past two weeks of Twitter.  I have learned so much in a short time frame.

Watch this news video on using Twitter in education and in the classroom…explains Twitter’s professional use in a simple way:

To learn more about developing your PLN check out this SlideShare presentation by Bethany Smith:

Via SlideShare from Bethany Smith: Creating an Online Personal Learning Network

To learn how to set up your new Twitter account and learn how to use Twitter, watch this Youtube video:

To learn how to send Tweets, Retweets, Direct Messages, and add Lists watch this Youtube video:

Using Twitter as a teacher:

Insightful Video of Using Twitter as a Teacher and Slightly Humorous

More Insightful Video for Using Twitter as a Teacher

Using Twittering in the classroom:

Using Twitter in the K-12 classroom

Using Twitter in a high school

Using Twitter at a university but valuable insight and points for any grade level

What I have learned from the eyes of a Twitter newbie:

  • There are many educators networking, chatting, sharing ideas, collaborating, supporting each other, and so on…the list goes on and on
  • Joining Twitter adds greatly to your PLN (Personal Learning Network) Check out this slide presentation from SlideShare by Jane Hart.  It gives ideas on how Twitter can be used for your PLN. It also gives ideas on other social networking sites that you can use to develop your PLN. 
    Via SlideShare from JaneHart: Building a social learning environment
  • You can choose to follow educators, companies, publishers, websites, etc. who you believe can enhance you PLN and who you can learn from
  • There are # (hashtags) strictly used by educators in the field to communicate with each other, share relevant articles, presentations and media, collaborate, chat, etc. The Innovative Educator has a great list of hashtags. You will find the list of educational hashtags on Cybrary Man’s Educational Website amusing.
  • Hashtags are not only for sharing your tweets to a wide audience, they are also used for having chatting sessions with a group of people, such as you would do on a chat room like IM (Instant Messaging).  I will list some examples an links below to give you an idea of what I’m referring to.

Twitter hashtags explained and how to use them:

Here is a list of some hashtags I have learned in the past few weeks:

If you know of any major hashtags that I’ve missed, please tell me about a hashtag, and I’ll try to add more references for the really big ones I’ve missed:

Hashtags for sharing Tweets to a wide audience and for chatting sessions

#edchat This is a Twitter chat of educators from all sorts of educational fields that occurs twice on Tuesdays: one at 12pm EST and one 7pm EST.  You can learn more about #edchat, who created it, watch a YouTube video about it, read #edchat transcripts, read recent #edchat activity, and much more at the #edchat wiki.  Learn more about #edchat by reading this blog post titled “#Edchat- the new Teacher Movement on Twitter” by Kristin Winkler. 
*Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#educhat- This was a chat discussion that happened on a weekly event until May 29, 2009.  It is now used as a hashtag to connect related topics, connect with others using the hashtag on their tweets, and look up information others have shared using this hashtag.  You can learn more about who created this #educhat and its history by reading this “#Educhat” post by Twitter for Teachers. You can follow Rodd Lucier of @educhat on Twitter.

#elemchat- This Twitter chat of elementary teachers and educators happens every Saturday at 6 PM EST. I learned about #elemchat from Greta Sandler when I participated in a #ntchat session. Follow her on Twitter @gret. You can learn more about #elemchat by viewing the #elemchat wiki. Here you can read the #elemchat transcripts, recent #elemchat activity, and much more. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#ntchat  - This is a chat of experienced teachers helping new teachers that occurs every Wednesday at 7 PM ESTIf you are a teacher mentor or a new teacher, this is a great chat for you. This is one of my favorite chats and actually how I learned about chatting on Twitter by accident. I followed Lisa Dabbs #teachingwithsoul (Update 10/2/11:  I just noticed this error while I was reviewing the post again.  Please pardon my error.  You may find Lisa Dobbs on Twitter @teachingwthsoul.  The link worked to reference her Twitter profile and address, but I accidentally referenced her as a hashtag and spelt her twitter user name wrong.  Lisa my apologies.) on Twitter, added TweetDeck to my computer, and as I started using TweetDeck I saw this live Twitter chat happening. You can learn more about #ntchat, read the transcripts, view recent activity, etc. at the #ntchat wiki.
Also please check out Lisa’s “Teaching With Soul” blog. It is awesome! *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#ELTchat- This Twitter chat is for English Language Teachers. It occurs on Wednesdays at 12:00 PM London time. You may read the #ELTchat transcripts, view recent #ELTchat activity, and much more by viewing eltchat.com. You can follow @eltchat on Twitter as well. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#ELLchat - This is a chat for teachers of English Language Learners that occurs Mondays at 6 PM EST. You may learn more about #ellchat and connect with people at there #ellchat Facebook page.  You can also add the ELL chat list to your Twitter lists. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#musedchat - This is a chat with music educators that occurs Monday’s at 8PM EST. You may learn how to use this chat and more extensive information about it by visiting “How To: Get Started on #MusEdChat”, or MusEdChat on facebook. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#mathchat- This is a Twitter chat for math educators. Their next #mathchat session is Monday October 3, 2011 7:30 -9:00 GMT. Learn more about their chat times by viewing the #mathchat wiki. Here you can also read recent transcripts, recent posts and much more. You can follow @mathchat on Twitter. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#lrnchat- This is a Twitter educational chat discussing learning. It occurs on Thursdays at 11:30-1pm EST and at 8:30-10pm EST. You may learn more about it, read recent transcripts and activity at lrnchat.com. You can also follow @lrnchat on Twitter. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

#litchat- This is a book chat, for those interested in books and for writers. It occurs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4PM EST. You may learn more about #litchat at litchat.net. There is extensive information and blog posts on this site. You can also follow @litchat on Twitter. *Although this hashtag is used for a set weekly chatting time, you can also use it throughout the week anytime on Tweets that are related to this subject and/or to reach a wider audience with your Tweets.

Hashtags for sharing information to a huge audience:

#edtech- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#education- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#edcamp- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#edu- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#moodle- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#ESL- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#ELL- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#classroom20- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#PLN- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

#web20- Click on the link here for viewing the hashtag trends and reading recent posts.

These are only a few representative hashtags that I have learned in my short time using Twitter.  There are many more hashtags than these for education-related Tweeting.  Join Twitter, follow me (@adaptivelearnin) and others, and try Tweeting using some of these hashtags.  Tweet me and mention that you joined Twitter as a result of this blog post.  I’ll then follow you back and we can begin networking together, broadening our education outreach and further develop our PLN’s.

Lastly this Edudemic post titled “The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook For Teachers” has a massive list of resources, ideas, lists, links, contacts, etc. for using Twitter as an educator.  This website is majorly worth checking out, bookmarking and referencing as needed.  It is full of great content.

I hope this blog post has been helpful to you in some way.  The information I have shared is what I have experienced and learned as a Twitter newbie.  I will continue to learn much more about using Twitter as I continue to use it, continue to connect with other great educators in our PLN’s, continue sharing ideas and articles, and so on.  I hope you too will come join and delight in a world-wide network of professional collaborative educators.

About adaptivelearnin

I am an educational professional who is passionate about needs analysis and materials creation to enhance student learning of all ages. I hope the content I share here will be of value to you in some way. Opinions are my own and are not those of my employer. Join me at my session for the 2013 TESOL International Conference, "ESL Instruction: Developing Your Skills to Become a Master Conductor", March 21 10:00 AM in room C144. My presentation focuses on listening, speaking and pronunciation music teaching techniques incorporated with ESL teaching. This is not your typical music/ESL presentation with chants and songs. Be prepared to use your vocal chords, diaphragm, lungs, mouth muscles, and arms like you have never used before in pronunciation, speaking and language instruction. Learn how to use music conducting skills in the language classroom to better facilitate language acquisition. Learn how to use music performance skills (vocal and instrumental) to better facilitate language learning. Be prepared to laugh and have fun. I look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Discussion

59 thoughts on “Why Teachers Should Join Twitter…What I have Learned as a Twitter Newbie

  1. I’m a relatively recent Twitter convert too… tried it years ago and decided it wasn’t worth my time, then learned about its uses for PLN, and now I’m tweeting daily. Thanks for the resources!

    Posted by Angela De Jong (@MsADeJong) | April 6, 2012, 4:53 pm
  2. I’ve been looking for the hashtags. Thanks for listing them.

    Posted by Jacqui Murray | March 22, 2012, 8:43 pm
  3. Beth, thanks so much for joining “My Twitter Story” Day! I’m so glad you followed up with me. Great post here.

    Posted by Michael M. Grant | November 16, 2011, 4:26 pm
  4. This is a wonderful post to alert people to the uses of twitter as more than just a simple messaging method. I feel I’m part of a global classroom as I click links on tweets to visit blogs, chat about educational issues, tweet alerts to my posts, support young people in need, follow my many interests or simply be amused by some of the trends. Get involved, be selective of who you follow if you want Twitter as an education only tool and don’t be offended if you lose a follower.

    Since taking the plunge earlier this year after an abortive start last year, I have seen my eclectic collection of follows grow as has my broad list of followers. Some classes around the world have come to know me as that Australian teacher who often leaves comments for them. I’ve come to know it as an addictive way of keeping in touch with a broad range of issues.

    Ross Mannell (teacher)
    NSW, Australia

    Posted by Ross Mannell | October 1, 2011, 4:19 am
    • Ross,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do agree too that when using Twitter in education that you should be selective in choosing who to follow. I choose people who are relevant to my interests, who I think I can learn from in my PLN, and so on. When choosing who to follow I read their profile description, scroll a little through who they follow and read some of their Tweets before I decide to follow them. By doing this I try to be more selective, although I have followed 700+. I do have a personal private Twitter account for my private life, friends and family, though I do find myself using my professional account more extensively. I’m glad I’m on Twitter now and connected to so many wonderful educators and professionals. I wish I had listened to my husband and family a year ago about joining Twitter. Oh well, it’s better now than never. I hope others are inspired to join and can learn from my experience. Thanks for your thoughts. I too love commenting and connecting to others. Cheers!
      -Beth

      Posted by adaptivelearnin | October 1, 2011, 1:34 pm
  5. A Fabulous Post with many great resources attached. I know many newbies who will really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing.
    Verona Gridley
    vgridley.edublogs.org

    Posted by Verona Gridley (@vgridley) | October 1, 2011, 4:04 am
    • Verona,
      Thanks so much. I too know many teachers who don’t know about joining Twitter for professional purposes. They were my inspiration for writing this and sharing these resources. The resources helped me greatly in getting started and understanding Twitter in education. I am a huge sharer of resources. Teachers I have worked with know I am the “go to” person for content, adaptive materials and web resources. I am just doing what I have been doing for years with my co-workers…sharing and discussing content. Thanks for reading this post and sharing your thoughts. I hope these resources continue to help and inspire many educators to use Twitter. -Beth

      Posted by adaptivelearnin | October 1, 2011, 1:18 pm

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