Many teachers look at social media tools like Twitter and say things like:
This seems like a waste of time to me.
I’m already busy- what does this offer me that I can’t get elsewhere?
Why do people think this is so great?
What’s the value to me and my students?
Isn’t this just another distraction?
Where am I going to find the time?
I’ll be the first one to say that Twitter, for example, can be a blessing and a curse. It can be a great way to share information and links, and it can be a great way to waste time as well- it’s all in how you use it, just like books can be used for learning or entertainment.
What Teachers Say about Twittter
Mrs. Pripp, a teacher from Wisconsin, made this video to show what she gets out of Twitter and why it’s become an important resource to her. This is probably a much better description from the eyes of a teacher than I could provide, so if you are curious at all about Twitter in education, take a few minutes and check it out.
What About the Experts?
The Pearson Center for Policy and Learning in the UK posted this article on their website about using social media tools to support professional development. Their full report, entitled Tweeting for Teachers can be downloaded by clicking here.
Teachhub.com, run by the k-12 Teachers Alliance, published a great article about the 50 Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom. This list includes all sorts of ideas about how Twitter can be used to help engage students and parents, work as a research tool, and even act as a reminder service for assignments to help everyone stay on track. If you are intrigued about Twitter, this is a great resource to prompt ideas as well as show potential use as a teaching tool.
Twitter for Professional Development
Twitter has become a great way to engage with other professionals in the same field, in short messages, to share resources and ask questions. Some of the folks who help curate sites like Classroom 2.0 and Web 20 Education regularly host and participate in “Twitter chats” weekly online discussions about topics such as “how do we get parents more engaged in their child’s education” or “What is the best professional development resource you’ve seen?” to “Ideas for using my interactive white board”. The topics are always changing, but it’s great to connect to this virtual Staff room and share challenges and successes with other teachers.
Education “chats” on Twitter: If you click on this link, you can find a list of dates and times that educators are gathering on Twitter to discuss topics. You can even subscribe to this calendar in google calendar, tobe reminded of the time of any chat where you’d like to follow along or discuss issues important to you.
Give twitter a try. If you need help setting up an account, or figuring out who to “follow”, drop me an email at ldpodcast (at) gmail.com and I’ll send you a list of interesting education folks on Twitter, in order to give you a good start at listening in to compelling discussions.