February 6, 2013
So, you are on Twitter. You’ve been following some famous people and maybe some other educators with whom you work. You’ve gingerly offered a couple of tweets up to the world. What do you do next to more deeply engage with this tool/product that others value so greatly–particularly for their own professional and personal growth
Connections–Understand that Twitter is all about the connections that you make. These connections are based around people that you have common interests with rather than people you may have known in the “real world” (such as the relationships you may have on Facebook). As a result, even without actually knowing someone outside of Twitter, you can learn from one another through your common interests and differing knowledge and perspectives.
Follow People–Find the most interesting tweets from those you follow. Click on that person’s Twitter username. Then, click to see who they are “Following”. Now, start following some of the same people that this individual is following.
Tweet–Initially, you may feel like you are shouting into the wind and that no one is listening. Keep listening–but also, keep tweeting. Someone will hear you–and you will be excited, and even more engaged, when some replies to your tweet or retweets you!
Use Hashtags–Hashtags are the main organizing tool for life on Twitter. A hashtag is a word or short phrase preceded by the “#” symbol. Anyone can create a hashtag. To use a hashtag, simply type it in to your tweet. When your tweet is published, the hashtag becomes a clickable link. When you click on the hashtag, you can see all of the other tweets using that same hashtag. This is also a great way to follow others who are interested in and tweeting about the same topics as you. Below are some links to lists of common education-related hashtags on Twitter.
- Cybraryman1’s List of Educational Hashtags
- November Learning’s List of Educational Hashtags
- Edudemic’s List of Educational Hashtags
Participate in a Chat–Finally, participate in a Twitter Chat. These are fast-paced, intense, and exciting learning sessions. They are typically weekly and organized around a specific topic within a broader theme. For example, just this week, a new Twitter chat began focused on Illinois-specific issues in education: #ILEdChat The great thing is that you can search (or use) that hashtag at any time–even beyond the one hour of the chat–to keep the conversation going or to start a new one. Other popular chats that are recommended include:
Each District 21 school is named after an American author, and learning and literacy is at the center of our Professional Learning Community. The Modern Pen provides a collaborative location in which District 21 teachers can come together to learn the skills that will enable their students to learn new skills and to understand concepts at an even different level than before.