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Twitter Guide for Teachers


Also be sure to check out the guest post 30 Twitter Tips for Teachers


When I first read Mashable’s article 10 Ways Twitter Will Change Blog Design in 2009, I was a bit reluctant to buy in. I mean, I had heard of Twitter before. I even got a Twitter account way back over a year ago. But I didn’t really explore it much, and I didn’t see the point. But as I read the post on Mashable and its comments, I began to see that Twitter was something I should begin to explore much more in-depth.

I have come across a few resources about Twitter for teachers lately that I thought you might enjoy.

Plus, check out these blogs to learn more about Twitter:

Back in March of 2008 when I first posted about Twitter, I got very few comments on how people were using it. This time around, I’d like to follow you. I want to encourage everyone who is reading this (yes even you!!! – the person who has never commented on a blog before) to leave a comment and tell us how you use Twitter.

I am trying to figure out how to add Twitter IDs directly to my comments, and plan to have that implemented by the end of the week. Hang in there…until then, please post your Twitter ID to let us all know, so we can follow you!

Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

14 thoughts on “Twitter Guide for Teachers

  1. OK, you got me with “yes even you!!! – the person who has never commented on a blog before”

    I use twitter as a news aggregator – it highlights current events and interests of the people who use it, and I follow a few automated users who post links (BBCEducation is an example). Keeps me up to date with current “news” which my pupils will know about but I wouldn’t (celebrity lives, sports…)

    I’m @jemgillam by the way, a PGCE student (Secondary Science) in the UK

    1. Jem: Thanks for the comment. I like the idea of using Twitter to eliminate (or drastically reduce) reliance on Google Reader. I find that as information flow increases, I am having to make more decisions on what is not so important. It’s a tough transition for me…

  2. I have really only just started using twitter and use it for personal stuff rather than for business/teaching. Following the likes of Steve Buscemi and Shaq has been interesting. But, I have found some great links from Twitter. I suppose I should follow more teachers.

  3. i just started using twitter. i use it to harvest quotes for journal prompts, book reviews and creativity tips for staff development and classroom use. Follow me at “rafferm”

  4. When I first joined, Twitter didn’t stand out to me as anything special. There’s a learning curve – or a following curve, I guess – but once you get over it, Twitter can be an amazing source of news, resources, and even relationships. I probably spend an hour every day following links that are posted, and the majority of them are worth the look. I have found valuable resources for teaching, eye-opening but obscure news, and hilarious viral videos (before they blow up!). I also really enjoy conversing (briefly!) with others from around the world – I’ve made friends in Qatar, the UK, Australia, and Japan.

    To help newcomers, I wrote a simple guide to Twitter –

  5. I use twitter for the vast resources I gain from my followers. I also love to retweet different things from different audiences. It has expanded my horizons and brought me to new and different links that have enhanced my teaching. Follow me there at “MomsL8”

  6. My Twitter ID is bethstill

    I have been using Twitter since last June. When I was first introduced to Twitter I was a little apprehensive. When I had only a handful of friends I was not learning much. I stuck with it and eventually started building a solid group of people to learn with (my PLN). Within a few months the power of networking on Twitter was evident. I had contacts all over the globe who were willing to answer my questions at the drop of a hat. Nearly 100% of the new things I have learned this year have come from Twitter.

    One of the most common complaints I hear is that it takes a lot of time to use Twitter. This is simply not true. I have Twitterfox (a Firefox add-on) running all of the time. Depending on what I am doing I set it to deliver updates to me every 3 to 30 minutes. I scan the messages for useful links. If I see something that looks interesting I bookmark it in Diigo (or Delicious) and I go back and look at it later.

    I am also using Twitter in my classroom. I had my students set up protected accounts so they can control who follows them. They do not update much, but they are following about 30 members of Congress. Each week I have them scan the tweets from the Congressmen. The idea is for them to get a feel for what a typical day in the life of a member of Congress is like. So far this project is going well.

    I could not imagine going back to life before Twitter. It has become such an important part of my PD as well as my direct line to creative and talented educators from around the world. As one colleague told me last week Twitter (and the internet in general) has remove most of the barriers that used to keep us apart.

  7. Love Twitter! Started using it at an eMINTS ( conference as the presenter, David Warlick, had us participate in Twittering as he was presenting.
    Then, I got back to my school district to find it blocked. I am working on the option for opening it up. I see great educational potential with Twitter. This gives me fodder for the fire.

  8. I <3 Twitter! I use it to follow celebrities, friends, and other bloggers. I like to retweet good quotes or articles from other people. I post quotes from books I read, the Bible, links from blog posts I like, random information, and to actually tell what I am doing. It’s fun to see what celebrities are up to. Plus I know as soon as my favorite bloggers post a new post. I’ve already connected with a ton of teachers. It has also helped me get more hits on my own blog. I love that I can do it from my phone or the computer and I’m almost obsessed with it! Fun! @misscalcul8

  9. I’d been thinking a lot about Twitter since everyone tells me it’s one of those things we all have to do everyday, but I didn’t actually sign up until your post! Now that I’ve had a few days to play I can see how it will be useful. Right now I’m mostly following other people (for example, my husband uses Twitter, who knew?), but I’ll post when I put up something new on my blog and I imagine I’ll be posting links to interesting early ed stuff that I don’t feel like I need to write a whole thing on in my blog.

    I’m preschoolpatti on Twitter.

    1. Patti: I think there’s a sort of Twitter Evolution I’ve noticed when people start using it., This is a possible future post I’ll get around to writing, because I think it’s kind of funny/interesting to watch it unfold! :)

  10. I too signed up for a Twitter account and promptly forgot about it. Then I revisited it recently and began to build up a PLN of education technology professionals. I have begun to communicate and collaborate with people from all over the world, we share resources and ideas and I have gained new insights which I am enjoying thoroughly. My twitter ID is MrsDi and I would love to have you check out my tweets (oh how I have the twitter naming conventions!). We all have wisdom to share and I enjoy hearing what others have to say – join the conversations that are happening with other professionals that are interested in the same things you are. I’m at if you wish to peek in on some edtech folks!

  11. I teach Screenwriting and Video Arts in a charter high school in Minneapolis, MN and am using Twitter this year for the first time. For privacy reasons, I have a separate account (MTSVideoArts) set up to follow my students and to tweet them.

    I have my twitter feed embedded in our school's Google Apps startpage and in each of my Moodle classes. I encourage those who can, to follow the department on their phones as well. I try to give them tons of access points around school, as some of them do not have access to the internet at home.

    I require each of my students to create an account or use an existing account and follow the department twitter feed as well as their fellow classmates. I use the Twitter feed to announce deadlines, state objectives for upcoming classes, and remind students of props and costumes that need to come to school.

    I also assign outside readings, videos, or other pieces of media that I come across. I attach “TwitterPoints” to these type of posts. I assign one TwitterPoint assignment a week, but post more that that, so if a student needs a few extra points, this is a way they can earn them. All they have to do is tweet a comment that allows me to see that they have read or watched the resource.

    So far, this is going well. I'm on family leave right now and I've been pleased to see that my students are tweeting each other while I'm gone. There's been a few times where I've had to talk about appropriate content on an account that is used in conjunction with school, but the situations were easily resolved.

    Few of my students use Twitter in their personal lives. I teach at a high poverty, inner city school and, for whatever reason, it seems that the kids are a little behind in social media (MySpace still rules). I like the idea of introducing them to the kind of tools that they are going to have to use in the real world. Granted, by the time they in the workplace, twitter will be replaced by the next step in social media, but at least I've put them on the right track!

  12. I am going to start tweeting learning goals and due dates to parents this school year. Hopefully it catches!

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