Nine great reasons why teachers should use Twitter

What’s the point of Twitter? Why should educators get involved? What difference does using Twitter make?

Here are some answers that you might like to share.

1. Together we’re better

Teaching can be a lonely business. In a school where lessons are long and lunchtimes are short, not enough conversations between teachers I work with are about learning. We simply don’t have time. Twitter can be like a virtual staffroom for me, which I can step into when it suits me: in the queue at the supermarket or waiting for for the kettle to boil. I know that within seconds I can access a stream of links, ideas, opinion and resources from a hand-picked selection of global professionals.

2. Global or local: you choose

Whilst some Twitter users will not tolerate many overtly egotistical self-publicisers (some celebrities have come under fire for using the service just to broadcast banalities to their flocks of fans), there is no doubt that Twitter users have the potential to reach very large international audiences. In educational terms this is a real eye-opener: before using Twitter I had only limited understanding of educational systems and practices in countries like Australia and the US. It’s now possible for me to actively compare what’s happening in schools in my county with others on different continents. GPS-enabled devices like iPhones and the advanced web search facility allow searches which tell you what people are tweeting within a certain distance of a location, so if the other side of the world isn’t your bag, you can stick with your own patch.

3. Self-awareness and reflective practice

Excellent teachers reflect on what they are doing in their schools and look at what is going well in order to maintain and develop it, and what needs improvement in order to make it better. Teachers on Twitter share these reflections and both support and challenge each other. Reading about other educators’ experiences has made me question my own practice on a number of occasions, and whilst the resulting changes may only be incremental they are nonetheless important steps in the journey to improvement.

4. Ideas workshop and sounding board

Twitter is a great medium for sharing ideas and getting instant feedback. Its speed and instanteity means you can gather a range of opinions and constructive criticism within minutes; which can help enormously whether you are planning a learning experience, writing a policy or putting a job application together. Just this week, Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw) shared the experience of preparing for a job interview and used Twitter during interview to demonstrate the intellectual and professional clout of his impressive network.

As a further example, I tweeted whilst writing this post:

tweetqu

Within minutes various kind followers had responded with suggestions, including:

tweet1

Whilst Twitter users do not have to use it synchronously like instant messanging software, the tool does lend itself well to quick responses.

5. Newsroom and innovation showcase

Sitting down with a newspaper is not a luxury I have the time to enjoy every day. Twitter helps me stay up to date on news and current affairs, as well as on the latest developments in my areas of interest:  school leadership, technology and languages. By following leading individuals and organisations, Twitter users can stay right at the bleeding edge of innovation and creativity, and literally be among the first to know when a new product is launched, article is published or opinion is voiced.

Whilst very innovative folk, teachers equally spend far too much time reinventing the wheel. Twitter helps me to be smarter about my work by sharing resources, ideas, training materials and policies with other schools. Just this week I am putting together a policy recommendation for staff at my school about ensuring their personal details on Facebook are secure. Several colleagues (including Alex Blagona @blagona and Sacha Van Straten @svanstraten) have been kind enough to share work they had already done in this area. I no longer have to start from scratch and will share my finished policy with any educators who would like it. It’s a bit like the principle of  ‘paying it forward’ on a big scale.

6. Professional development and critical friends

One of the best things about training days is the break out time between sessions, when teachers can get together to talk about what they are working on or struggling with. Twitter enables me to have that kind of powerful networking capacity with me all the time. It’s just a matter of finding the right people to follow. As @melaniemcbride said:

“Following smart people on Twitter is like a mental shot of expresso”

Since cash for cover is not always readily available, days out on expensive courses can’t be a regular thing for most teachers. I love to have access to learning on tap through Twitter as it doesn’t require large chunks of my day, or any financial outlay in order to have an impact. Twitter is also a source of healthy debate, and I have learned that if I am going to make a point I can’t be halfhearted about it; as there will be people who disagree! I have grown in confidence when it comes to my own convictions, and now take that back with me into school.

7. Quality-assured searching

I trust the people I follow. I hone and develop the list of people whose insights I value. Drew Buddie (@digitalmaverick) has mentioned several times that he believes his network to be more powerful than Google, and I am beginning to see why. Once your Twitter network grows past a critical mass, you can ask them detailed questions and get higher quality information back than a bog-standard Google search would generally provide, with the inbuilt assurance that it is a respected member of your network providing the information. On a broader scale, Twitter searching provides information about time-linked trending topics that Google cannot.

8. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Expressing yourself in 140 characters is a great discipline. I have become better at saying what needs to be said in my professional communications with less waffle and padding, and I refuse as far as possible to use txtspk. I previously read somewhere that every professional email could in theory be written in just five sentences. That seems luxuriously long!

9. Getting with the times has never been so easy!

There is no good reason why teachers shouldn’t stick with the times, engage with the technology and keep up with the kids. We need to be able to speak the same language and inhabit the same communities (both real and virtual) as our students in order to motivate them and relate to them. Twitter is anything but complicated! You simply visit Twitter.com and create your account. A little light searching using key words for your areas of interest will soon yield a list of interesting people to follow. There are plenty of websites offering advice on getting started and how to avoid a few common beginners’ faux-pas.

Remember, your experience on Twitter is only as high quality as the people who you follow and the information you share.

Your biggest challenge is likely to be getting the twitter.com unblocked on your school network if your main usage will be at school. Personally I find that having Twitter on my iPhone is enough most of the time. I then forward interesting links to my email inbox to look at in detail from my desk.

I hope this piece helps get more teachers involved in using Twitter. Do send it to your teams at school and all those people who don’t quite understand what it’s all about yet. I’m increasingly passionnate about it: Twitter is a very simple tool that allows me to connect with an amazingly clever, resourceful and innovative bunch of people who never fail to inspire and motivate me. Thanks guys!

230 Responses

  1. Isabelle Jones March 29, 2009 / 7:22 pm

    Thanks for a brilliant post! I am always searching for different ways to convince my colleagues that Twitter is an effective CPD tool for teachers. I will certainly use this post in the future…
    Isabelle
    http://isabellejones.blogspot.com

  2. John Pallister March 29, 2009 / 7:58 pm

    Hi Laura – enjoyed the Post – what about providing contact with the person that you Know who will Know the person that you should ask for the info that you want? could be 7b

  3. John Pallister March 29, 2009 / 7:58 pm

    Hi Laura – enjoyed the Post – what about providing contact with the person that you Know who will Know the person that you should ask for the info that you want? could be 7b

  4. Sheila Potter March 29, 2009 / 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the invitation to read, and in doing so, to get to know you a little better.

    I agree with all you’ve said. Twitter can be powerful. I also like that it – grasping for the words here – lets me listen-in on exclusive conversations from which I would normally be excluded myselfl… influential people in government or media who tweet are often very economical, only twittering about things of great value to their day or their work.
    I am new to using hash tags to follow discussions. It was fascinating to follow #txsboe this week and read live tweets from frustrated teachers in the Texas board of Ed meeting itself – 1000′s of miles away from me.

    Cheers!

  5. Doug Belshaw March 29, 2009 / 8:44 pm

    Thanks for including the phenomenal response I received from my Twitter network for my interview presentation, Laura! I mentioned that I’d be writing a blog post about my presentation and asked for ideas on it. I got 100+ replies!

    What did we do before Twitter? The world seemed a much less helpful place, that’s for sure! :-)

  6. Doug Belshaw March 29, 2009 / 8:44 pm

    Thanks for including the phenomenal response I received from my Twitter network for my interview presentation, Laura! I mentioned that I’d be writing a blog post about my presentation and asked for ideas on it. I got 100+ replies!

    What did we do before Twitter? The world seemed a much less helpful place, that’s for sure! :-)

  7. Alex Blagona March 29, 2009 / 9:32 pm

    Great post, Laura.

    I first used twitter about 2 years ago, and found it pointless, mainly I suppose because we were not ready for each other at that point. Now people respond to requests, share ideas, and offer advice and encouragement. I’m done with the celebrities on there – although @davegorman still makes me smile. I’m yet to find a real effective use for a school twitter, although I notice that since we started ours, a number of other Suffolk schools have followed suit!

  8. Tomaz Lasic March 29, 2009 / 9:54 pm

    A fantastic post, thank you Laura.

    FYI, your post will feature prominently at a get-together called Twizza (Twitter & pizza – hashtagged #twizza) next week in Perth, Western Australia. The event will try to introduce Twitter to colleagues (teachers). Watch out for followers from Perth :-)

    Thank you again, a marvellous job.

    Tomaz
    @lasic

  9. Tomaz Lasic March 29, 2009 / 9:54 pm

    A fantastic post, thank you Laura.

    FYI, your post will feature prominently at a get-together called Twizza (Twitter & pizza – hashtagged #twizza) next week in Perth, Western Australia. The event will try to introduce Twitter to colleagues (teachers). Watch out for followers from Perth :-)

    Thank you again, a marvellous job.

    Tomaz
    @lasic

  10. Mary Rodger March 29, 2009 / 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the great post. I am new to twitter and have tried to explain to colleagues how valuable I have found it to be. I haven’t done avery good job. You explained it beautifully. This will really help me when I am explaining to our tech department, why twitter shouldn’t be blocked.

  11. Mary Rodger March 29, 2009 / 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the great post. I am new to twitter and have tried to explain to colleagues how valuable I have found it to be. I haven’t done avery good job. You explained it beautifully. This will really help me when I am explaining to our tech department, why twitter shouldn’t be blocked.

  12. jane hake March 30, 2009 / 1:52 am

    Thank you for a great post. I will be sharing twitter at an upcoming PD session for teachers and there are many misconceptions among my teacher peers that I think I will need to address about using twitter as a professional learning network. You have made so many great points here- who you follow is key. Developing a great network of teachers/ learners has makes all the difference. It took afew sessions on twitter to get the network together, but it is worth it. I want to thank all the brilliant twitterers I follow! So I guess I will go tweet that now!
    ateachingheart

  13. jane hake March 30, 2009 / 1:52 am

    Thank you for a great post. I will be sharing twitter at an upcoming PD session for teachers and there are many misconceptions among my teacher peers that I think I will need to address about using twitter as a professional learning network. You have made so many great points here- who you follow is key. Developing a great network of teachers/ learners has makes all the difference. It took afew sessions on twitter to get the network together, but it is worth it. I want to thank all the brilliant twitterers I follow! So I guess I will go tweet that now!
    ateachingheart

  14. Donna March 30, 2009 / 2:04 am

    Hi Laura
    Thanks for this great outline – Since joining Twitter – I would say it has been the biggest and best source of learning for me. I am going to try and encourage my reader teachers to join up as a wonderful way to share ideas and resources. I will be including a link to this post – thanks Laura
    Donna
    http://www.k-3teacherresources.com

  15. Donna March 30, 2009 / 2:04 am

    Hi Laura
    Thanks for this great outline – Since joining Twitter – I would say it has been the biggest and best source of learning for me. I am going to try and encourage my reader teachers to join up as a wonderful way to share ideas and resources. I will be including a link to this post – thanks Laura
    Donna
    http://www.k-3teacherresources.com

  16. Rodd Lucier March 30, 2009 / 2:14 am

    There is plenty of good advice for educators here, and I’m wondering if you would be interested in reproducing some of this content on a related site. With so many new teacher-users taking advantage of Twitter, we’re compiling an e-book of supportive suggestions at http://twitterforteachers.com. If you’d consider contributing these or other related ideas, I know it would enrich the experience of our site visitors.

    Continued success!

    Rodd

  17. Rodd Lucier March 30, 2009 / 2:14 am

    There is plenty of good advice for educators here, and I’m wondering if you would be interested in reproducing some of this content on a related site. With so many new teacher-users taking advantage of Twitter, we’re compiling an e-book of supportive suggestions at http://twitterforteachers.com. If you’d consider contributing these or other related ideas, I know it would enrich the experience of our site visitors.

    Continued success!

    Rodd

  18. Deven Black March 30, 2009 / 2:48 am

    I wish I could measure all I’ve learned from the many, many smart and generous teachers I’ve met on Twitter. I wish I could count the resources I’ve gathered, the ideas I’ve gotten or the encouragement I’ve received from people whom I barely know but with whom I share a vision and a philosophy. Even people with whom I largely disagree have come to my aid when I’ve had a question or problem.

    I am lucky to have a close network of colleagues in my job to whom I can go for conversation about students and teaching and to have a principal that encourages and stimulates reflection and useful criticism. But when I need an idea fast, or help introducing a new technology into my classroom, I turn to my Twitter colleagues before the one’s in my school. They are smarter, more experienced and they always seem to be online ready for my queries.

    Twitter has made me a better teacher, for sure.

  19. Deven Black March 30, 2009 / 2:48 am

    I wish I could measure all I’ve learned from the many, many smart and generous teachers I’ve met on Twitter. I wish I could count the resources I’ve gathered, the ideas I’ve gotten or the encouragement I’ve received from people whom I barely know but with whom I share a vision and a philosophy. Even people with whom I largely disagree have come to my aid when I’ve had a question or problem.

    I am lucky to have a close network of colleagues in my job to whom I can go for conversation about students and teaching and to have a principal that encourages and stimulates reflection and useful criticism. But when I need an idea fast, or help introducing a new technology into my classroom, I turn to my Twitter colleagues before the one’s in my school. They are smarter, more experienced and they always seem to be online ready for my queries.

    Twitter has made me a better teacher, for sure.

  20. Chris Johnson March 30, 2009 / 3:08 am

    I still don’t see any truly compelling reasons to use Twitter after reading this post. Of course teachers should connect with other professionals, but why is Twitter better than just reading and writing via blogs?

    To me, constantly updating my status seems unnecessarily wasteful of time and (personally) a little obnoxious. Is it truly possible to meaningfully contribute in so few words? Even if so, what about backing up your opinions with research, data, citations, et cetera?

    I don’t mean to sound condescending or accusatory, but I am still wondering what all the hype about Twitter is about. I would truly like to understand. Please email!

  21. Chris Johnson March 30, 2009 / 3:08 am

    I still don’t see any truly compelling reasons to use Twitter after reading this post. Of course teachers should connect with other professionals, but why is Twitter better than just reading and writing via blogs?

    To me, constantly updating my status seems unnecessarily wasteful of time and (personally) a little obnoxious. Is it truly possible to meaningfully contribute in so few words? Even if so, what about backing up your opinions with research, data, citations, et cetera?

    I don’t mean to sound condescending or accusatory, but I am still wondering what all the hype about Twitter is about. I would truly like to understand. Please email!

  22. Ed Shepherd March 30, 2009 / 3:27 am

    Thank you for your post… So far I have about ten teachers that are on Twitter and my hope is to get more started. I will definitely share this post with them.

  23. Ed Shepherd March 30, 2009 / 3:27 am

    Thank you for your post… So far I have about ten teachers that are on Twitter and my hope is to get more started. I will definitely share this post with them.

  24. SchoolDuggery March 30, 2009 / 5:40 am

    Thanks for a worthwhile reflection on Twiiter. I agree with all your points. One of the great things I have found about using Twitter with my school hat on, is its band width. It provides a huge amount of valuable information in a minimum amount of time. I could probably gather the same information by trawling the blogs of all the great teachers, but I would never have the time. Twitter condenses the information and points me in the direction of the really useful sources.

  25. SchoolDuggery March 30, 2009 / 5:40 am

    Thanks for a worthwhile reflection on Twiiter. I agree with all your points. One of the great things I have found about using Twitter with my school hat on, is its band width. It provides a huge amount of valuable information in a minimum amount of time. I could probably gather the same information by trawling the blogs of all the great teachers, but I would never have the time. Twitter condenses the information and points me in the direction of the really useful sources.

  26. Lynne Horn March 30, 2009 / 6:46 am

    Great post Laura – love be able to share ideas with language teachers across the UK (and world!), but also get ideas from other subject areas and learn a bit more about how technology is used in those subjects.

  27. Lynne Horn March 30, 2009 / 6:46 am

    Great post Laura – love be able to share ideas with language teachers across the UK (and world!), but also get ideas from other subject areas and learn a bit more about how technology is used in those subjects.

  28. Shirley Cooper March 30, 2009 / 4:32 pm

    Thanks for informative article, Laura. I’ve learnt a lot.

  29. Shirley Cooper March 30, 2009 / 4:32 pm

    Thanks for informative article, Laura. I’ve learnt a lot.

  30. Karlana Kulseth March 30, 2009 / 4:39 pm

    Laura, thank you for posting such wisdom!

    I have been an avid Twitter follower and tweeter for a couple of years now. I have been trying to talk it up with fellow educators, but not many really bite.

    Twitter can be such a great networking tool, not just with fellow educators, but also among students. We can learn a lot globally just from Twitter alone.

  31. Karlana Kulseth March 30, 2009 / 4:39 pm

    Laura, thank you for posting such wisdom!

    I have been an avid Twitter follower and tweeter for a couple of years now. I have been trying to talk it up with fellow educators, but not many really bite.

    Twitter can be such a great networking tool, not just with fellow educators, but also among students. We can learn a lot globally just from Twitter alone.

  32. Carol Furchner March 30, 2009 / 6:45 pm

    I’d be interested in hearing (or getting links to information about) how teachers use twitter to communicate with their students – and the plusses, minuses, and pitfalls.

  33. Carol Furchner March 30, 2009 / 6:45 pm

    I’d be interested in hearing (or getting links to information about) how teachers use twitter to communicate with their students – and the plusses, minuses, and pitfalls.

  34. Raj March 30, 2009 / 8:10 pm

    This applies to teachers even more as it is often so very lonely behind that “door” once it closes and the lesson starts – the strength of the informal community can do wonders for anyone who has a passion for any pursuit.

  35. Raj March 30, 2009 / 8:10 pm

    This applies to teachers even more as it is often so very lonely behind that “door” once it closes and the lesson starts – the strength of the informal community can do wonders for anyone who has a passion for any pursuit.

  36. Jonathan Nelson March 30, 2009 / 10:10 pm

    excellent post. here’s an idea for connecting with your teachers and class. create a unique twitter hash like #myuniqueclass and all students and teacher reference that hashtag when communicating with one another.

    then head over to http://twittermass.com and plug in that hash. the system will automatically fetch people associated with that hashtag for you. voila! you’re building your classroom network. i can see this working really well for classes that work remotely.

    give it a shot!

    i’ll be releasing a newer version of twittermass this week. it’s full of lots of cool new stuff.

  37. Jonathan Nelson March 30, 2009 / 10:10 pm

    excellent post. here’s an idea for connecting with your teachers and class. create a unique twitter hash like #myuniqueclass and all students and teacher reference that hashtag when communicating with one another.

    then head over to http://twittermass.com and plug in that hash. the system will automatically fetch people associated with that hashtag for you. voila! you’re building your classroom network. i can see this working really well for classes that work remotely.

    give it a shot!

    i’ll be releasing a newer version of twittermass this week. it’s full of lots of cool new stuff.

  38. Sam Bowne March 31, 2009 / 12:18 am

    I love Twitter, as a source of network security news. I get my friends from http://www.security-twits.com/

    Is there a comparable list of tweeting teachers? I’d like to see it broken down by level (grade, community college, 4-year college, grad school), field, and location.

    I am already using iClickers in class, and the students love them. The next step–students tweeting to me in class during lectures!

    http://twitter.com/sambowne

  39. Sam Bowne March 31, 2009 / 12:18 am

    I love Twitter, as a source of network security news. I get my friends from http://www.security-twits.com/

    Is there a comparable list of tweeting teachers? I’d like to see it broken down by level (grade, community college, 4-year college, grad school), field, and location.

    I am already using iClickers in class, and the students love them. The next step–students tweeting to me in class during lectures!

    http://twitter.com/sambowne

  40. Mark March 31, 2009 / 1:00 am

    Hi Laura,

    Great post and like your ideas. I did a blog about how Twitter opens up PLNs as well. Check it out if you get the chance. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    PS Why only 9 reasons and not 10? ;)

  41. Mark March 31, 2009 / 1:00 am

    Hi Laura,

    Great post and like your ideas. I did a blog about how Twitter opens up PLNs as well. Check it out if you get the chance. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    PS Why only 9 reasons and not 10? ;)

  42. Carmen Holotescu March 31, 2009 / 8:47 am

    Hi,

    I enjoyed your post, very good insights about the benefits of Twiter for educators.

    Please find some ideas in the article Can we use Twitter for educational activities? – http://tinyurl.com/1paper .

    Also we have developed the microblogging platform http://www.cirip.eu for education: online courses, courses enhancement, knowledge management; embeding multimedia objects, private and public groups, feeds monitoring – presentations http://linkbun.ch/86ca .

    Thanks, your feedback is welcome,
    Carmen

  43. Carmen Holotescu March 31, 2009 / 8:47 am

    Hi,

    I enjoyed your post, very good insights about the benefits of Twiter for educators.

    Please find some ideas in the article Can we use Twitter for educational activities? – http://tinyurl.com/1paper .

    Also we have developed the microblogging platform http://www.cirip.eu for education: online courses, courses enhancement, knowledge management; embeding multimedia objects, private and public groups, feeds monitoring – presentations http://linkbun.ch/86ca .

    Thanks, your feedback is welcome,
    Carmen

  44. Barbara Rademacher March 31, 2009 / 3:58 pm

    Terrific article. I want to share it will all the other profs and instructors at Northwest Arkansas Community College. The article applies to every classroom, every teaching experience. I also want to follow the author on Twitter

  45. Barbara Rademacher March 31, 2009 / 3:58 pm

    Terrific article. I want to share it will all the other profs and instructors at Northwest Arkansas Community College. The article applies to every classroom, every teaching experience. I also want to follow the author on Twitter

  46. Vidya A. March 31, 2009 / 6:51 pm

    Great post, but I disagree with this comment: We need to be able to speak the same language and inhabit the same communities (both real and virtual) as our students in order to motivate them and relate to them.

    Our students are not heavy users of Twitter. I teach at a community college, I have about six 20-somethings in my class and only one of them had even heard of Twitter, and I have still not got them to become even moderate users. In fact, statistics seem to indicate that heavy users of Twitter are in their 30s or older.

    Therefore, if we are talking about inhabiting the same communities and speaking the same language as our students, then we should really be focusing on Facebook, MySpace, and texting because that is where they live, work, play.

    That said, as educators and teachers, I do believe that it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate to them all the values listed above that can be accrued by using this tool and becoming a part of the community with it. Doesn’t hurt to teach them to think and write with brevity without using text speak either. And at the other other end of the spectrum, I believe it’s just as important to teach them the importance of deep, reflective thinking and to write for an audience, which is best done with a blog.

    Just my two cents worth :-), and you can find me on Twitter at “mapetite”.

  47. Vidya A. March 31, 2009 / 6:51 pm

    Great post, but I disagree with this comment: We need to be able to speak the same language and inhabit the same communities (both real and virtual) as our students in order to motivate them and relate to them.

    Our students are not heavy users of Twitter. I teach at a community college, I have about six 20-somethings in my class and only one of them had even heard of Twitter, and I have still not got them to become even moderate users. In fact, statistics seem to indicate that heavy users of Twitter are in their 30s or older.

    Therefore, if we are talking about inhabiting the same communities and speaking the same language as our students, then we should really be focusing on Facebook, MySpace, and texting because that is where they live, work, play.

    That said, as educators and teachers, I do believe that it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate to them all the values listed above that can be accrued by using this tool and becoming a part of the community with it. Doesn’t hurt to teach them to think and write with brevity without using text speak either. And at the other other end of the spectrum, I believe it’s just as important to teach them the importance of deep, reflective thinking and to write for an audience, which is best done with a blog.

    Just my two cents worth :-), and you can find me on Twitter at “mapetite”.

  48. Carolyn Foote March 31, 2009 / 6:54 pm

    What a great way to explore the usefulness of twitter!

    I’ve been building a list of resources for teachers about twitter on my blog, and this will go on the list.

    I think what was mentioned earlier about Twitter being a wonderful resource to “follow” people in many fields is what I’m starting to find much value in. And being one of only two on staff who do my job, it’s nice to have the professional feedback and community!

  49. Bob Calder March 31, 2009 / 8:07 pm

    Google is and outside-in search strategy if you just start hitting the keys. Use your network to get inside a community and search outward using tools like scholar.googe.com The next step is getting something to read it for you which means getting a reader that does semantic evaluation on deep web results. There are engines for this. That’s why Twine and Twitter are a lovely combination. Following enough people to make it worthwhile is tiring if you only use Twitter. The noise to signal ratio is brutal, for me anyway.

    I teach high school and have plenty of students twittering in advanced classes. My job is to get the other kids to understand why it works.

  50. Bob Calder March 31, 2009 / 8:07 pm

    Google is and outside-in search strategy if you just start hitting the keys. Use your network to get inside a community and search outward using tools like scholar.googe.com The next step is getting something to read it for you which means getting a reader that does semantic evaluation on deep web results. There are engines for this. That’s why Twine and Twitter are a lovely combination. Following enough people to make it worthwhile is tiring if you only use Twitter. The noise to signal ratio is brutal, for me anyway.

    I teach high school and have plenty of students twittering in advanced classes. My job is to get the other kids to understand why it works.

  51. MaryLou April 1, 2009 / 6:46 pm

    Laura,
    I am new to Twitter and after reading your post, I am excited to learn more about it. I particularly like your reflection comments. We can do the same thing over and over again (laminate our lesson plans), but until we reflect with someone else, we can’t truly analyze the factors that caused the results. Thanks.

  52. MaryLou April 1, 2009 / 6:46 pm

    Laura,
    I am new to Twitter and after reading your post, I am excited to learn more about it. I particularly like your reflection comments. We can do the same thing over and over again (laminate our lesson plans), but until we reflect with someone else, we can’t truly analyze the factors that caused the results. Thanks.

  53. Jennifer Clark Evans April 5, 2009 / 12:05 pm

    Great list, which obviously generated a lot of feedback. What I like most about all of these new resources for teachers is the eagerness with which we want to share them with others. How many of your comments here are about passing it on? Of course, this helps our own networks grow, but also demonstrates the genuine care and helpfulness that we want to share to help our colleagues find ways to improve their own practice.

  54. Jennifer Clark Evans April 5, 2009 / 12:05 pm

    Great list, which obviously generated a lot of feedback. What I like most about all of these new resources for teachers is the eagerness with which we want to share them with others. How many of your comments here are about passing it on? Of course, this helps our own networks grow, but also demonstrates the genuine care and helpfulness that we want to share to help our colleagues find ways to improve their own practice.

  55. pirategirl April 5, 2009 / 2:17 pm

    Awesome! I, too, and always looking for ways to convince the staff in the rather large school where I work as technology integrator to join their students in the 21st Century. The cool thing is that I found your blog because colleague posted it on Facebook and Twitter. I will need to start following you on Twitter and subscribing to this blog. Besides, I love the British style of writing. Always seems so superior to us Yanks.

    • mrslwalker April 5, 2009 / 2:19 pm

      Really glad you liked it!

  56. pirategirl April 5, 2009 / 2:17 pm

    Awesome! I, too, and always looking for ways to convince the staff in the rather large school where I work as technology integrator to join their students in the 21st Century. The cool thing is that I found your blog because colleague posted it on Facebook and Twitter. I will need to start following you on Twitter and subscribing to this blog. Besides, I love the British style of writing. Always seems so superior to us Yanks.

  57. Chris Cannon April 6, 2009 / 3:15 pm

    Thanks for the great information. As an author this helps me to better understand the needs that parents and teachers have.

    Thanks!

  58. Chris Cannon April 6, 2009 / 3:15 pm

    Thanks for the great information. As an author this helps me to better understand the needs that parents and teachers have.

    Thanks!

  59. Waylesswoods April 13, 2009 / 3:17 am

    10. You can encourage learning through public issues debates. http://www.twitter.com/The_Pub_Debates poses questions and includes a link to materials which can start the conversation.

  60. Waylesswoods April 13, 2009 / 3:17 am

    10. You can encourage learning through public issues debates. http://www.twitter.com/The_Pub_Debates poses questions and includes a link to materials which can start the conversation.

  61. Kevin Mc Laughlin May 1, 2009 / 6:36 pm

    Thanks for the post Laura, it’s a very enlightening and interesting read. Being a Primary Teacher I love the idea of using Twitter in class in a Geography topic or for keeping in contact with parents.
    I’ll pass on a link to this for the rest of the staff in my school to have a read.

    • mrslwalker June 14, 2009 / 12:48 pm

      Quite interested to hear what you think “communicating normally” is exactly!

      Also I am a UK teacher so the experience cited here is not ‘from across the pond’.

    • mrslwalker June 14, 2009 / 12:48 pm

      Quite interested to hear what you think “communicating normally” is exactly!

      Also I am a UK teacher so the experience cited here is not ‘from across the pond’.

  62. Kevin L. Moll June 16, 2009 / 3:04 am

    I can’t say if I will find the process enjoyable or not. You see I’m an old dog trying to learn a new trick or two before I call it a career. I can say that I found this article informative and the added comments thought provoking and wide ranging. I think I will have to try to twitter.

  63. Kevin L. Moll June 16, 2009 / 3:04 am

    I can’t say if I will find the process enjoyable or not. You see I’m an old dog trying to learn a new trick or two before I call it a career. I can say that I found this article informative and the added comments thought provoking and wide ranging. I think I will have to try to twitter.

  64. Anna Hazeldine June 19, 2009 / 9:27 am

    Really useful perspective and advice on teachers using Twitter to help each other and themselves – I was surprised not to read anything about using Twitter with learners – ie using Twitter in the job of teaching and learning. It’s not all about the teachers being wll-connected and looked after.

  65. dave t June 21, 2009 / 8:06 pm

    Asked for twitter to be unblocked on my students’ S5/6 blog so the students could access updates on resources etc added to their blog. Refused as it is not covered by Acceptable Use Policy (still dated 2001 and talking about bulletin boards!) and also security cited claiming that twitter was used to carry out attacks on businesses….and you wonder why some local authorities are still in the late 19th Century…..great article Laura. Mentioned on my own blog as well.

  66. mike619 June 22, 2009 / 6:03 pm

    Very interesting observations about the use of Twitter. I do see the professional development aspect and how it can help people collaborate more often, even daily. It does make sense that when a person has a large network they get varied viewpoints to which they may not have access to quickly using other media.

  67. mike619 June 22, 2009 / 6:03 pm

    Very interesting observations about the use of Twitter. I do see the professional development aspect and how it can help people collaborate more often, even daily. It does make sense that when a person has a large network they get varied viewpoints to which they may not have access to quickly using other media.

  68. Mike 619 June 23, 2009 / 4:57 pm

    I can see how twitter can be useful in professional development. The facilitator of a conference can be asked further questions through twitter afterwards. Also, it can help us stay connect to contacts we have made throughout the years to get feedback on issues or other insights.

  69. Mike 619 June 23, 2009 / 4:57 pm

    I can see how twitter can be useful in professional development. The facilitator of a conference can be asked further questions through twitter afterwards. Also, it can help us stay connect to contacts we have made throughout the years to get feedback on issues or other insights.

  70. Mike June 26, 2009 / 1:32 am

    I think these are nine reasons teachers should use Twitter. I don’t know about them all being “great”. I can’t help thinking that most teachers at my school would laugh me out of a room if I recommended Twitter. Twitter gets as much funny looks as recommending all teachers should blog.

  71. Mike June 26, 2009 / 1:32 am

    I think these are nine reasons teachers should use Twitter. I don’t know about them all being “great”. I can’t help thinking that most teachers at my school would laugh me out of a room if I recommended Twitter. Twitter gets as much funny looks as recommending all teachers should blog.

  72. Tony August 26, 2009 / 4:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’ll add it to my arsenal. I’ve already written a blog post, sent to my teachers, on why they should be using Twitter and how to get started. I’ve shared success story after success story. I’ve passed along great resources I’ve found, sure to point out that “I found this via Twitter!”, etc. But, at our all-hands meeting yesterday when our Director asked how many were on Twitter, 3 teachers raised their hands. That’s 3 out of about 150 teachers. Very sad. Worse, I *STILL* hear comments like “I don’t care what you’re having for dinner or what movie you’re watching right now!” I guess it’s obvious most aren’t reading the Twitter posts I’m sending them. Sigh.

  73. Tony August 26, 2009 / 4:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’ll add it to my arsenal. I’ve already written a blog post, sent to my teachers, on why they should be using Twitter and how to get started. I’ve shared success story after success story. I’ve passed along great resources I’ve found, sure to point out that “I found this via Twitter!”, etc. But, at our all-hands meeting yesterday when our Director asked how many were on Twitter, 3 teachers raised their hands. That’s 3 out of about 150 teachers. Very sad. Worse, I *STILL* hear comments like “I don’t care what you’re having for dinner or what movie you’re watching right now!” I guess it’s obvious most aren’t reading the Twitter posts I’m sending them. Sigh.

  74. sandra742 September 9, 2009 / 3:54 pm

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  75. sandra742 September 9, 2009 / 3:54 pm

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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  78. Andrew Marcinek November 11, 2009 / 7:58 pm

    Great post! I have been trying to get this started in my department and it is slowly but surely coming together. I think it works great for professional development and school collaboration. A lot of my colleagues are hesitant to put their foot in the twitter universe, but I feel this will soon change.

    I am posting your site to the one comment a day project. Please have a look at our ning and feel free to join, share and collaborate with our burgeoning community.

  79. Andrew Marcinek November 11, 2009 / 7:58 pm

    Great post! I have been trying to get this started in my department and it is slowly but surely coming together. I think it works great for professional development and school collaboration. A lot of my colleagues are hesitant to put their foot in the twitter universe, but I feel this will soon change.

    I am posting your site to the one comment a day project. Please have a look at our ning and feel free to join, share and collaborate with our burgeoning community.

  80. janwebb December 10, 2009 / 3:27 pm

    I had been a twitter-sceptic until very recently – but in the short time I have been regularly using, have become a convert, completely hooked – the points made are enormously helpful when trying to explain to colleagues the potential use of this tool.

  81. Mark Jenkins March 9, 2010 / 9:17 am

    Great article – have added a link in our prof dev moodle.
    I set up a twitter account about 3 years ago and never really saw the use of it until I read a post of James Clay’s elearningstuff blog

  82. Mark Jenkins March 9, 2010 / 9:17 am

    Great article – have added a link in our prof dev moodle.
    I set up a twitter account about 3 years ago and never really saw the use of it until I read a post of James Clay’s elearningstuff blog

  83. Beth Crumpler November 1, 2011 / 1:08 am

    Great post! Thanks for writing this and sharing it. I have been collecting articles, videos and posts written about why teachers should use Twitter for a blog post I wrote about a month ago that is full of resources and for a Glog (Interactive Poster) I created with the resources. I have added your post to my Glog for teachers to reference and read. If you go to my Glog http://adaptivelearnin.edu.glogster.com/why-teachers-should-join-twitter scroll your mouse over one of the handwritten hashtags in the left of the screen, you will find the link to your article. When you hover over the hashtag if a pink circle occurs around the image, then that image has a link. The Glog is full of resources and links. I will be adding your article to my blog post later this week called, “Why Teachers Should Join Twitter…What I Have Learned as a Twitter Newbie”. You can access my blog post too at http://adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/why-teachers-should-join-twitter-what-i-have-learned-as-a-twitter-newbie/. All of the resources that are in my blog post and more are included in my interactive poster, Glog. I created the Glog so that people can use it for presentations, share with staff members, etc. on why teachers should join Twitter. I did this because I know many people were sharing my blog post and one’s like it to help inform educators/ teachers on why they should use Twitter. The interactive poster, Glog, is an interactive visual of the resources that can easily be embedded into websites, used on computers, pad computers, or Interactive Whiteboards and used for presentations. It’s visually appealing for this sort of thing. I love your post here. You have discussed some reasons teachers should join Twitter, that I have not even thought of. I will be sharing your post a lot. Thanks so much for writing it. -Beth

  84. Beth Crumpler November 1, 2011 / 1:08 am

    Great post! Thanks for writing this and sharing it. I have been collecting articles, videos and posts written about why teachers should use Twitter for a blog post I wrote about a month ago that is full of resources and for a Glog (Interactive Poster) I created with the resources. I have added your post to my Glog for teachers to reference and read. If you go to my Glog http://adaptivelearnin.edu.glogster.com/why-teachers-should-join-twitter scroll your mouse over one of the handwritten hashtags in the left of the screen, you will find the link to your article. When you hover over the hashtag if a pink circle occurs around the image, then that image has a link. The Glog is full of resources and links. I will be adding your article to my blog post later this week called, “Why Teachers Should Join Twitter…What I Have Learned as a Twitter Newbie”. You can access my blog post too at http://adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/why-teachers-should-join-twitter-what-i-have-learned-as-a-twitter-newbie/. All of the resources that are in my blog post and more are included in my interactive poster, Glog. I created the Glog so that people can use it for presentations, share with staff members, etc. on why teachers should join Twitter. I did this because I know many people were sharing my blog post and one’s like it to help inform educators/ teachers on why they should use Twitter. The interactive poster, Glog, is an interactive visual of the resources that can easily be embedded into websites, used on computers, pad computers, or Interactive Whiteboards and used for presentations. It’s visually appealing for this sort of thing. I love your post here. You have discussed some reasons teachers should join Twitter, that I have not even thought of. I will be sharing your post a lot. Thanks so much for writing it. -Beth

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