Many teachers who have heard of www.twitter.com think it’s kind of silly. Most news regarding Twitter relates to some Hollywood star or starlet sharing their most recent doings. Certainly, there is much to the notion that it’s a wasteland of status updates. For educators though, Twitter can be a great resource for ideas and support. It’s free, always there, and takes literally a few moments a day or even week, to find things that are actionable and meaningful to our profession.
Using Twitter, a teacher looking for ideas to support classroom management strategies could find resources within a few clicks. With a few clicks, teachers could find other classrooms that want to have a virtual debate with a class from another state (or even country). In just a few moments, a teacher searching a hashtag called #edchat, could find hundreds of teachers chatting and sharing ideas, resources, and inspiration. Some teachers are even using Twitter with their students. Teachers post notes to students to consume later at home. Students post notes for other students and their teacher that relate to their studies. Students are using Twitter to find other students who are studying the same content.
If you’d like to see this in action, I’d like to invite you to see this Alive in Five video we posted back this summer. Then, when you are ready, here are five things I encourage you to do before Monday next week:
*Go to www.twitter.com and set up a free account. It takes about five minutes to get an account up and going.
* When you are ready to begin, find the Twitter search box and type in the following, #edchat and click. Scroll through the messages and begin looking at what these teachers post. You will see folks often use a # sign in their tweets. This allows the tweet to fall in a series of tweets that, when searched, will appear together in a timeline with the most recent post first.
* From the list of educators you see on #edchat, you can decide to follow a few. I recommend a few: @shellterrell, @tomwhitby, and @kyteacher. Please consider following me @Brian_ThomasTCI and our official account, @TeachTCI. Spend the first few sessions you go onto Twitter just reading and consuming. Don’t worry about posting yet.
* When you feel ready, post a tweet with a thought, question, or insight you have to classroom instruction. Remember that tweets must be 140 characters or less. Everything counts, spaces, dots, semi-colons.
* Participate in a live discussion. For general education, there is none better I’ve found than #edchat on Wednesdays 12pm EST and 7pm EST. Both last one hour. The discussion revolves around a few essential questions that educators from around the country discuss and share thoughts and resources on.
I have found Twitter to be the best, free, on-demand PD that educators can possibly want. Given the enormity of challenges facing classrooms today, we really ought to work together to find solutions. Twitter is one tool that can help us do just that.