Twitter is the social media platform that limits users to 140-character messages called tweets. It’s easy to miss the power of Twitter for teachers and its growing influence as a compelling professional development tool. Are you an educator? Or are you interested in education? Twitter is a way to connect, communicate, and collaborate with like-minded educators.
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One incredibly powerful use of Twitter for teachers is as a means to build your PLN (personal learning network) for deeper learning and engagement. Twitter chats are regularly occurring conversations centered around a predetermined theme. Often, the moderator chooses questions to ask during the chat to guide the conversation and elicit interaction.
To participate, include the targeted hashtag # in your Tweet; this is essentially sending your note to the community that follows this discussion. We have found those people and accounts that follow the above hashtags to generally be a thoughtful, encouraging, continuously learning group of tech-savvy teachers and thought leaders. Join the conversation to connect with other teachers.
Twitter for Teachers: Tutorial
When you sign up, you’ll pick a username. For example, my username is @kidworldcitizen. To tag me, or to get my attention, you would use @kidworldcitizen in your Tweet. Tweets are public, which means anyone can see them, and you can tag anyone on Twitter (from the Pope @ to the Jane Goodall Institute @). This has the potential for opening up more channels of communication with new individuals or groups.
RT is the abbreviation for “reTweet.” Sometimes you will like what someone else Tweets and you’d like to share and repeat it. You can give them credit by adding their @username. In the example below, Homa Tavangar wanted to let me know about a Tweet that the wonderful Heidi Hayes Jacob Tweeted about our new book:
A hashtag # helps you to organize your Tweets into categories so they are easier to search for (both by you and by anyone else). You can search Twitter using a #hashtag to find all the relevant Tweets for a certain topic or event, such as the hashtags listed in the image at the top.
Finally, if you would like to send a private message to someone who follows you, you can send a DM (Direct message).
Connecting on Twitter for teachers is just the beginning of using technology to develop your PLN and to incorporate global education into schools. To read more about how your school can empower and support your teachers in globalizing their curriculum, see our new book Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners. Written with acclaimed author Homa S Tavangar (of Growing Up Global), it is packed with hundreds of ideas you can implement today, from educational technology that connects you to teachers and your classroom to kids from around the world, global learning in every academic subject area (including Common Core aligned lessons), to professional development opportunities, dozens of service learning examples, and a multicultural reading list with over 300 titles. If you’re interested in Global Education, this is the book for you.