If you are in the education industry and are not on Twitter - you are missing out! This worldwide network is a powerful education tool. Not only for finding resources to share in the classroom, but for professional development as a teacher, administrator, superintedent, or district leader!
With over 2,000 participants in Twitter chats each week, we thought it was time that we explained the importance of Twitter and the best ways educators can get in on the action!
Ergo, The Ultimate Educator's Guide to Twitter:
What is Twitter
Twitter is a global social broadcast network that enables people and organizations to publicly share brief messages instantly around the world.
How does Twitter work?
Twitter allows users to send messages in only 140 characters to share news, updates, thoughts, and feelings with a network of people. Twitter users decide who they do and do not follow. Those that follow you will see the 140-character messages that you share first. If you have a public account, your tweets/messages are searchable by keywords or hashtags.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag—written with a # symbol—is used to index keywords or topics on Twitter. This function was created on Twitter, and allows people to easily follow topics they are interested in.
To learn more about how a hashtag works – visit here.
How should educators use Twitter?
INSIDER TWITTER TIPS
Create AND Consume
Follow people, read their tweets, and learn from them. But, also join the conversation! Adding your thoughts to the conversation can take it to the next level and help other educators following along.
Share Your Resources
The more you share your resources, the more the community will grow and become useful to you! So if you are looking for lesson plans, find a great idea, but fine-tune it to your classroom – be sure to share how you changed it up to provide insight to the next reader!
Make Twitter Lists for Different Subjects or Grades
A Twitter list is a curated group of people that you can use to organize the accounts that you follow. When you create a list, you will be creating a feed of tweets from those accounts only. It can help if you want more tips about STEM, are a 6th grade teacher, or need professional development resources. There are even apps out there that help instantly create these lists or follow certain accounts based on keywords and hashtags! This is our favorite.
Remember that following isn’t obligatory
If someone follows you, do not feel obligated to follow them back. The opposite is also true. So don’t feel discouraged if someone doesn’t follow you after you have followed them.
Decide if you need two separate accounts
If you are active on social media, you may want to think about if your professional intentions warrant a separate account from your personal one. It could make it easier especially if you plan to regularly use Twitter in your classroom.
USING TWITTER IN THE CLASSROOM TIPS
Hold an after-class discussion
Sharing your handle with your students can open the lines of communication to clarify class material, or allows students to ask questions they may have been too shy to ask in class. These after-class discussions can also benefit parents who want to get insight into what students are learning each day.
Tweet a daily relevant question to course material
Maybe a current event relates to your course material, or you want to better integrate technology into instruction; either way, asking a daily question on Twitter can be a fun way to keep students engaged as soon as class starts.
Create a classroom hashtag
Twitter is all about building a sense of community. Extend that idea to your classroom by making up a unique hashtag for your class. Students will be able to interact, ask questions, and engage beyond the classroom.
Pass on information about events
If you are just joining Twitter, be sure to follow influential people in your school, district, and state first. It will keep you informed and allow you to share that information with students, parents, and other teachers that are connected to you.
Reward students for participation
To really get students engaged with Twitter, make it worth their time. Give them feedback, praise, and support when they participate online. If you need more rewards ideas to encourage positive behavior, try here or here.
Who should educators follow on Twitter?
- Edudemic - @Edudemic
- Education Week - @educationweek
- Blogger, Vicki Davis - @coolcatteacher
- S. Department of Education - @usedgov
- K12 Inc. - @K12Learn
- NPR’s Education Team - @NPR_Ed
- Attendance Works - @AttendanceWorks
- Blogger, Catlin Tucker - @Catlin_Tucker
- Educators Technology - @Medkh9
- PBS and NPR Education - @MindshiftKQED
What hashtags should educators know?
There are SO many hashtags that an educator can follow to ensure they are in the know. In fact, the list of 25 below, is only a stepping stone to all the hashtags you should follow depending on your specialities! For example, there’s #SPEDChat for those involved in Special Education, and #ElemSchool for primary school teachers.
But, this is a good list to get started:
- #CCChat (Common Core Chat)*
- #CCSS (Common Core State Standards)
- #KEdu (Kindergarten)
- #NTChat (New Teacher Chat)*
- #PTChat (Parent/Teacher)
*Hashtags with “Chat” in them are coordinated chats that are question and answer sessions on specific days of the week at certain times. Look at this Google Calendar filled with every Education Twitter Chat you can imagine!
We loved putting together this Twitter guide for educators! If you need more tips and resources, Chalkable is on Twitter!