If you are new to the strange land of Twitter, it might seem like the most ridiculous thing that has ever been created. What is the use in ‘tweeting’ something to millions of people in 140 characters or less? In education, Twitter is actually being used as a very powerful tool for learning and connecting with educators and students around the globe.
With this handy Twitter guide for teachers, you’ll be ready to jump feet first into the world of Twitter.
- What is Twitter?
- Why Teachers should use Twitter?
- The 10 Best Educators to Follow
- Twitter Shorthand 101
- Top 10 Twitter Hashtags for Educators
- Where to Begin
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a service for everyone (friends, family, co-workers) to connect and communicate through exchanging short messages. These messages are posted on your profile, sent to those you follow and can be searched.
Why do I follow someone?
When you follow someone on Twitter, it means that you will receive all of their Twitter updates. When they post a message, you can see it on your homepage. These will always be updated in real time, so you can keep track the exact minute that people post things.
Why Teachers should use Twitter
You can instantly tweet the latest educational information, invite people to chat, provide links, post pictures, ask for lesson plans and ask for help. All of your tweets are permanent and public and can be copied, passed on and essentially heard around the world.
1. Together is always better
Teaching may seem like a lonely business, where lessons are long and breaks are short, many teachers feel that they don’t get to talk to other educators about actual learning and teaching techniques. There just isn’t enough time—Twitter can be the solution. Teachers can access a huge stream of real-time ideas, opinions, links and resources from educators around the world.
2. See what’s going on around the world
Twitter has the potential to reach across the globe. As a teacher, you can interact with other teachers from Sweden, New Zealand, wherever, and find out what teaching strategies work for them, and perhaps implement a few in your classroom.
3. Reflective and self-awareness practice
Teachers on Twitter are able to self-evaluate where their classrooms are. Join the ranks, and by posting your lesson plans for others to see, you might see where your strong points are, and where you might need a little fine tuning.
4. Sounding off and ideas workshop
Twitter is great because it is instant. You can ask a question, and someone can answer it within a matter of seconds. You can get people to praise or critique your work in matters of minutes. Get yourself out there, and you will find people are just waiting to help you become the best teacher you can be.
5. Quality information
When you connect with other educators in your field, you can choose to connect with the best of the best. Some educators think that following bright people on Twitter can be that shot of caffeine that you’ve needed. By connecting with thousands of other educators, they might be able to help you where you are struggling. People see things differently, and you can use this to your advantage.
6. Make professional connections and critical friends
Once you find teachers that you enjoy following, you can start to develop a professional and personal connection to each teacher. Start by retweeting their stuff, and then asking them direct questions. You never know, you might make a valuable connection that will help you find a new teaching job or even a guest speaker at a conference you hold.
7. Communication is key
With only 140 characters to use, Twitter can help you discipline yourself to become a clear and concise writer. If anything, Twitter will help your writing skills.
8. Getting with the times has never been easier
Twitter is something might intimidate educators because it is trendy. But there is no reason why educators should shy away from Twitter. Teachers need to be able to speak the same language as students to be able to understand then and communicate with them effectively.
The 10 Best Educators to Follow
These are the cream of the crop, the best teachers on Twitter. Hit the ground running by following these educators.
- @cristama 5th grade teacher
- @coolcatteacher Best teacher blog winner
- @ejulez High School teacher
- @russeltarr History teacher
- @Larryferlazzo Inner-city high school teacher
- @timbuckteeth E-learning expert
- @jerridkruse Science educator
- @mcarls Math teacher
- @sabridv English teacher
- @dsdixon Music teacher
Twitter Shorthand 101
You need these shorthand clues to get you immersed in the Twitter dialect.
- @username: this creates a link to the user in your post
- RT: copy someone else’s post in an update. Credit them by using RT @username
- #: organizes your tweets into categories for faster finding
- DM: Direct message. You can send a tweeter a private message.
Top 10 Twitter Hashtags for Educators
Great for organizing and broadcasting your tweets. Other people search popular hashtags. You can use these for learning or for sharing your tweets with others
- #edchat – connect with educators from everywhere, Tuesdays 12pm to 7pm EST
- #mlearning – focus is on using mobile devices for education in the classroom
- #edtech – find out about the latest technology used in education and how to use it
- #lrnchat – connect with other educators to discuss learning
- #education – from standardized teaching to emerging education technology
- #engchat – discusses weekly English topics as highlighted on their website Mon 7-8pm EST
- #scichat – great for staying up to date on recent science field happenings
- #mathchat – connect with math teachers for sharing ideas and collaboration
- #teachchat – teachers share classroom techniques and experiences Wed 9pm EST
- #educoach – find coaching for improving education Wed 10pm EST
For a list of 390 education related hashtags, visit edudemic.com
Where to Begin
Here are 20 teacher Twitter tips to get you tweeting in no time:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for lesson ideas: Can anyone share lesson plans for 2nd grade?
- Ask for books: What’s the best book for a 10th grader?
- Ask for teaching tools: What’s the best online plagiarism detector?
- Ask for advice on a professional teaching question: How can I find out when my teaching license will expire?
- Write a book list (one tweet at a time): Grade 8 #summertimereading The Hunger Games
- Tweet useful web resources for your lesson plans: Found this great resource for my 9th graders: excited to use it!
- Tweet a word of the day: Aberrant: deviating from the proper course
- Tweet book of the week: Lord of the Rings: Two Towers #bookoftheweek
- Tweet random teacher trivia: Canada declared national beauty contests canceled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women. #teachertrivia
- Ask other people for their favorite educational resources: What is your favorite teaching tool? #teacherhelp
- Post requests for educators to speak at your events: Looking for a teacher for our midwest educational conference #speaker
- Tweet teacher tips: Play two truths, one lie on the first day of class to get to know your students better! #students
- Share studies pertaining to teachers: Did you see this study?
- Link to lesson plans you want to share: What could I fix about this lesson plan?
- Post photos of your classroom: Check out the 1st graders first day of school! #firstdayofschool
- Post crafty ideas for the classroom: Ever wondered how to use popsicles for the classroom? Here’s how #crafts
- Tweet teacher jokes: Four high school boys afflicted with spring fever skipped morning classes. After lunch they reported to the teacher that they had a flat tire. Much to their relief she smiled and said: “Well, you missed a test today so take seats apart from one another and take out a piece of paper.” Still smiling, she waited for them to sit down. Then she said: “First Question: Which tire was flat?” #teacherjokes
- Answer someone’s general question: @tannyd It’s better to discipline them right at once. Hope that answered your question!
- Schedule to meet fellow teachers at a local conference: Who is going to the midwest teacher conference? #teacher #conference
- Join a Twibe: A twibe lets you form a group of like-minded professionals. Want to learn more about education Twitter groups? Find out more here.
Now that you have had your Twitter crash course, explore the exciting world of Twitter for education. There are many people to follow and resources to find. Using Twitter can make you a better teacher and a more successful professional. All you need is a love of learning to start using Twitter. Create your account today and start connecting!