5 Reasons to Consider Twitter for Teachers & Administrators
By Alison Zima, SEEC Communications Coordinator
You’ve all heard about Twitter and who is using what hashtag for this or that, but have you used it? Have you looked into the benefits of potentially integrating it into your classroom OR maybe using it for networking and professional development?
There really are some great benefits of using Twitter, but you have to decide what is best for you. Here are some ideas for administrators and teachers on how you can use Twitter within education. But, before we go any further, as with any new technology, especially social networks, please find out if your school or district has a policy or guidelines on Twitter before proceeding.
First off –Understand the benefits of being on Twitter. If you aren’t using Twitter and are on the fence, take a moment to watch this fun video, “Twitter tutorial for beginners – esp Teachers” from an educator who says, “If you think Twitter is boring, you’re following the wrong people!” She will explain how to get started and how it has changed her life!
- If you don’t want to watch a video, here is a quick, 10-page illustrated Beginner’s Guide for Educators.
Great read from the National Education Association: “Can Tweeting Help Your Teaching? Twitter won’t change your life, but it might make your job more fun and a little easier”. At the end of the article there are links to some very useful resources such as Twitter Handbook for Teachers and Safe Social Networking for Educators.
Second – Start following people, organizations that interest you. One of the simplest ways to start out is to find educators you know, within your school/district or those well-known in the state, region or nation OR follow education companies/products that you know and trust. By following these people and/or companies you can keep up with the latest trends, news and happenings in education as well as communicate with fellow educators.
- Here are some ideas of who to follow (I apologize if I have missed people/orgs/schools – please let me know who you are and I’ll make sure the SEEC is following you!):
- ND Education Organizations and Leaders: @EduTechND, @NDUnited, @NDSchool_Boards, @NDHSAA, @KirstenBaesler, @aimeecopas, @NDSEEC, @ndstem, @NDDOH
- SEEC Superintendents (I apologize if I missed anyone!): @johnson557377, @JeffFastnacht or @ndcardinal, @ncasssupt, @stevethall, @ChrisDSwenson, @robertlech, @Supt_Jordan, @JJohnsonOakes, @ndcardinal
- SEEC Schools: @lpsbroncos, @WFPSchools, @FargoNDSchools, @hankinsonschool, @NCD97, @EHSCards, @kulmschool
- National Education Organizations: @NEAToday @usedgov, @NSBAComm, @NAESP, @arneduncan, @AASAHQ, @NSTA
- 100+ Education Twitter Accounts to Follow from Getting Smart including education bloggers, EdLeaders, Edtech News & Media, Thought Leaders, Cool Schools, Foundations & Impact Foundations, and EdTech Organizations.
Third – Create lists or follow hashtags to really up your involvement in the Twittersphere! Did you know that there are hashtags that N.D. educators are using to communicate with one another around certain topics? These chats enable everyone to get online from wherever they are and discuss hot topics affecting educators around the state. EduTech has led some of the larger groups and will pose the topic along with specific questions in a timely fashion to keep the information flowing throughout the full hour of the chat. (To follow a hashtag, all you need to do is go to Twitter.com and in the search area enter the hashtag you’re interested in. This will bring up a full string of the conversations being had.)
Here are some of the most popular ones – each with a certain meeting date time.
- EduTech Chats for our West Central Region
- #ndedchat North Dakota’s Ed Chat (9pm each Wednesday)
- #westedchat (ND, SD, MT, WY, ID & NV)
- Other state chats
- Popular universal chats:
- #edchat– Tuesdays at 7 pm, eastern time
- #edtechchat– Mondays at 8pm, eastern time
- #satchat– Saturdays 7:30 am, eastern time
- Top 20 Most Useful Hashtags in Education via TeachThought
- The 10 Twitter Hashtags All Teachers Should Follow via Noodle
How to create (and rock!) Twitter lists. Lists gives you the easy ability to group your friends into specific lists which you can refer to quickly to catch up with tweets you may have otherwise missed.
Fourth – Start finding ways to integrate Twitter into your classroom. There are tons of online resources available just by searching Twitter and Educaoin, but you can always brainstorm with your peers and find new ways to integrate Twitter, too!
Here are some quick links on how to start using Twitter in your school:
- 100 Ways to Use Twitter in Education, By Degree of Difficulty – Edudemic (38-54 and 92-100 apply to using Twitter in the classroom while the others touch on Twitter basics, etiquette, connecting, professional life, pro tools and who to follow)
- 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom – TeachHub.com
- 25 Ideas for Teachers using Twitter in the Classroom – Daily Genius
- Student Media Team – dangerouslyirrelevant.org
- 9 Step Guide for Administrators New to Twitter – Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals
- 5 Ways School Leaders Can Make the Most of Twitter – EducationDive
- Social Media for Administrators – George Couros
- Planning your School District Admin Twitter 101 – Connected Principals
- School Visibility Initiative – 16 weeks of school challenges to increase your visibility within your community. – Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency via dangerouslyirrelevant.org
Fifth – Start engaging in the conversations, use the resources and share your own! Now, that you have found a good number of people to follow based on what you’re interested in, you’ll begin seeing your newsfeed will with conversations, resources, ideas and so much more! Use this as a networking opportunity and consider replying to certain tweets or writing your own based on what you’re doing in your classroom or maybe share a great resource you’ve been using.
Also, once you are to this stage of using Twitter and are following multiple hashtags (topic areas), different groups of people (lists) and may possibly want one management site for all your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) then you may want to think about using a client such as Tweetdeck (Twitter only) or Hootsuite (multiple social media profiles) which each have a free version available.
These allow you have multiple feeds based on what you want to see and can also allow you to schedule posts in the future to multiple social media profiles at once. It also has analytic features built in, some free while other you need to upgrade to take advantage of. Here is a quick comparison article of the two listed above, but there are many other clients out there: “Twitter vs TweetDeck vs Hootsuite: Which Is the Best Twitter Client?”
Twitter is a powerful tool and can be extremely fun… and maybe addicting to some! But, all-in-all take these ideas into consideration, talk to your peers and see if this could be an opportunity for you to grow and take your 21st Century skills to a new level!