Twitter as an Educational Resource

Twitter is not the scary place you think it is. In fact, it’s the best PLN (Professional Learning Network) you have access to as an educator.

Ugh, but what about all those celebrity feuds and the political ridiculousness? I don’t want to see any of that!

You don’t have to.

Seriously. Just don’t follow those people.

But I’m scared to be on social media as an educator. I’ve heard so many horror stories about people getting fired for what they post.

Realistically, if you’re only interacting with other educators and having professional discussions, you’re probably not posting anything that would be considered questionable. Make sure you check your district’s policy about social media so you have all the facts.

What if I don’t understand Twitter or how it works?

That’s what I’m here for!

Let’s start with the basics:

Twitter is a social media platform that allows you to connect with people all around the world. Like Facebook and Instagram, you choose who you follow, and, therefore, the kind of content you’re exposed to. You can post text, video, images, and links. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, anybody can choose to follow you whenever they want, without you approving the request. Fortunately, you won’t see their content unless you choose to follow them back. Also, if you’re concerned about who is following you, there is an option to block users.

Educators use Twitter to:

  • Share resources
  • Ask/answer questions
  • Participate in discussions
  • Share ideas
  • Find other educators to connect with

Go to https://twitter.com to sign up. You’ll need to pick a username, which is how people will find you. I chose @LauraBCarr, which isn’t super creative, but it does make me easy to find. You can get as creative as you want.

Be sure to keep track of your username and password. I recommend using a password keeper on your phone like LastPass.

Ok. I’m on Twitter. How do I know who to follow?

I would start by finding out if any of your colleagues are on Twitter. Start by following them, and then look at who they’re following to see if they sound interesting.

If there’s a well-known contributor to your field, there’s probably a good chance that they’re on Twitter. Follow them, and see who they follow. Feel free to follow me @LauraBCarr and peruse the people I follow. There are some phenomenal educators and EdTech professionals in there.

Click on “following” to see who I’m following on Twitter

Also, look through relevant hashtags (#). A hashtag is a way for people to tag their content so that everybody on Twitter that’s interested in it can see it or have a discussion about it. For example, if I’m posting about makerspace activities my campuses are doing, I might use the hashtags #makerspace, #STEM, #collaboration, etc. #PLN is a great place to start. Also, don’t forget #EdTechinTen!

Use your search bar to search for people or hashtags.

What now?

Time to send your first Tweet! Introduce yourself and let the world know you’re on Twitter. Maybe tag your district or include a few hashtags that are relevant to what you teach.

So excited to build my #PLN with Twitter! #edtechinten Click To Tweet

You can click the Tweet above to send a Tweet directly from here!

I started on Twitter as a “lurker.” I didn’t post anything, and just spent my time looking at what other people were posting. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s a good place to start until you feel more comfortable branching out. Just don’t lurk too long. Get out there and join the conversation!

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