What are the benefits of using Twitter?
First of all, there’s more to Twitter than Oprah and Ashton, what everyone ate for dinner, and a random stream of consciousness. Twitter is what you make it. Thousands of teachers world-wide have turned Twitter into 24/7 on-demand professional development. Imagine a network of teachers at your fingertips when you need ideas and inspiration, when you need help or with whom to just laugh and share.
How do I get started?
Signing up and getting started with Twitter is very simple. Go to the Twitter homepage and just sign up. Now, here’s the tricky part. You have to find people to “Follow.” Now, I know that sounds a bit stalker-ish, but there’s an element of lurking to Twitter that is very beneficial. If you are looking for a great place to start, check out …
@NC_DEN – keep up to date with what’s going on with DEN in North Carolina
@DEN – the “official” Discovery Educators Network Twitter stream
@LifeonDiscovery – learn more about the new series from Discovery, “Life”
@kellyhines – that’s me!
You can find other teachers using Twitter at Twitter4Teachers who are in your same grade/subject area.
HINT: Be sure to include information in your bio. I would specifically mention that you are a teacher and a DEN member. It makes you appear to be a real person, and not just a spam-bot.
How else can I learn with Twitter?
You can also use the search function in Twitter to find great resources. For example, at the beginning of March, the annual NC TIES conference was held in Raleigh, NC. While participants could only physically attend one session at a time, everyone world-wide could follow along with the learning and sharing by following the hashtag (#) NCTIES. You can still find that information today by visiting the Twitter Search Site and searching for #NCTIES. Be sure to use the “#” in front of the word. It’s what makes the search data unique.
Also, on Tuesday evenings of each week from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm you can participate in a synchronous chat by following #edchat. Hundreds of teachers from across the globe are talking about a given topic and sharing their thoughts and ideas.
HINT: Searching for #NCTIES and #EDCHAT are a great way to find new people to follow!
How do I maximize my learning with Twitter?
Just like you were sitting in a professional development session, you have to engage. Absorbing information will be useful, but until you take the initiative to interact with others, your learning will be one-sided. You aren’t intruding on a chat. Twitter is meant to engage everyone. Jump into a conversation, the water’s fine!