There are countless blogs regarding the use of Twitter in education.
I admit, I wasn’t a fan of Twitter until I finally figured out what it could do. There are 3 reasons that I use Twitter:
1. I use Twitter to LEARN new things.
Twitter is my Personal Learning Network (PLN). Here is how I got started LEARNING on Twitter. A few years ago I was a new principal of a struggling school. I was in a new city and didn’t know where to go for the “big” questions. I signed up with Twitter, and started following some well-known, inspirational, and well-established principals all across the nation. I also started following some well-known leaders. Some were spiritual leaders such as Rick Warren, and others were leaders in the field of education. My Twitter stream filled up with hundreds of links to not only their blog posts and comments, but to articles that they had researched and were sharing. I still remember the day I had a question and didn’t want to call my old school, again, for help. So I posed the question on Twitter. I was amazed at how many responded to my question. They sent links, information, and referrals. One very well-known principal took the time to send me a message with detailed information and advice. Wow.
I often use Twitter on my iPad through the Flipboard app. The app turns each tweet into a magazine format. All of the great information shared via Twitter appears in an easy to read format. I can flip quickly through the pages to see if there are any articles I want to read. Here is a picture of how Twitter appears through Flipboard:
Just this week I attended ISTE 2013 – virtually, that is. I followed the #ISTE13 hashtag stream. I found new articles, apps, ideas, and got caught up on current trends in education. I wasn’t able to fly to Chicago to attend in person, but I came away with a lot of new, useful information!
2. I use Twitter to SHARE new things.
As an educator and technologist, I love to share. When I come across a new technology idea, article, or trend, I like to share it with others. I figure –if it helps me, it may help someone else! Twitter allows you to share your own ideas, or “RT – Retweet” ideas from others.
3. I use Twitter to communicate.
Twitter is a great communication tool especially if others follow you via their cell phone. Example: As a principal, I asked parents to follow our school Twitter account. I let them know that if they chose the cell phone notification option, they would receive a school tweet immediately. I know many people do not choose this option, but here is why I find it useful: in the case of an emergency, I can tweet out a message and it is received instantly. As a principal, I couldn’t SMS every family from my school and we did not have the funds for an emergency SMS system. But I could send out a tweet and it could be read right away without me having to look up phone numbers or contacts. This was useful on the day of an emergency shut down situation.
Twitter is useful for teachers because they can send out reminder tweets for exams, projects, and deadlines. In my post “Hashtag a Discussion” I discuss how teachers can use twitter for classroom discussions. It’s a must read!
I have even used tweets to discuss a live event – my daughter’s race at nationals – with other athletes that were on the scene. I couldn’t be at the race physically, but I cheered her on virtually!
My simple advice on how to get started:
1. Set up a twitter account
2. Search for leaders in your field of interest and follow them
3. Make consistent dialogue – remember to share
4. If you have a tablet, iPhone, iPad, use the Flipboard app