Friday, December 28, 2012

What's the Big Deal About Twitter

Why use twitter for educators?

Professional Development
Twitter is basically a big classroom if that is what you make it.  It's a whole bunch of people sitting around reading journals, articles, blogs, books, etc.  Then, when someone finds something worth reading, they share it with you by posting a link to that article.  

Get involved in a conversation
Some hashtags are set up so that everyone gets together at the same time and talks.  On Saturdays, for example, you can sit in your living room and have a conversation with other school administrators from around the country (and the world) at 6:30 am using #satchat.  The moderator has a list of questions that are asked one at a time.  You respond using the hashtag #satchat at the end of each of your tweets.  You can then read the entire conversation that you are having with others in this chat.  You can find these kinds of chats for different groups of teachers such as social studies (#sschat) or Nebraska educators (#nebedchat #nebedu #namle_ms).   

On your own time
You don't have to make a big deal out of being on twitter.  Sometimes people think that a person who tweets several times a day is spending way too much time on twitter.  The reality is that it takes the same amount of time to tweet as it does to send a text.  Sometimes less time.  As I am reading a book on my kindle app on my iPad, I simply highlight  a section and press share.  In that case, I never even got on twitter but anyone who follows me now gets to read a quote that I shared.  As you follow someone, that may spark an idea for the next book you want to read.  Sometimes I'm reading an article online.  Just copy the link and bam, you have another tweet.  You might even throw on a hashtag so others with common interests will see that article.

Follow a topic (hashtag)
I might search #cpchat to see what some principals are talking about.  By following a hashtag, I limit everything to just what I am looking for.  If I want articles related to Nebraska education, I check the hashtag #nebedchat or #nebedu.  You figure out overtime different hashtags.  You can also simply search for education and find information.  As you read the tweets, you can see which hashtags you might be interested in following as they same one appear repeatedly. As you read tweets by following hashtags, you also begin to figure out what people you should be following.

Easy to use
It's as easy as a text message.  Once you get used to the # (which link you to a topic) or @ (which sends messages to a person) it is very easy.  Twitter automatically shortens the links you put into the tweet.  That means you can easily insert links into your messages and stay under 140 characters.

Entertaining and Informing
Sometimes you might be bored.  Pull out your phone and read the latest tweets.  Not only do I read tweets from education, but I also follow hashtags related to my favorite sports teams or if a hashtag is up during a TV show, you can follow that hashtag.

The Power of Twitter
All the sudden, you are reading more education articles.  It doesn't require you to subscribe to a journal or go find a book at the library.  The books, articles, etc. are all right in the palm of your hand.

Democratic and Public
Everyone gets a say.  Nobody edits out or limits what you can find.  You are the editor, you are in control of the information.  Most people have their accounts public.  You are accountable for what you say.  As long as you are using good digital citizenship, you have nothing to worry about.  Now, you have the opportunity to learn from everyone and make decisions on what you want follow.

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