I don’t use Twitter for noteworthy news. I don’t use it for socializing with friends. I don’t use it for posting photos of my meals, nor do I use it for keeping up with the Kardashians. 🙂
I use it for professional development. Yep, PD!!!
Twitter is an incredible digital resource for educators who want to learn and grow. There are TONS of passionate, enthusiastic teachers around the world who come together to share resources and engage in meaningful dialogue. Every time I jump on Twitter, I am greeted with ideas, strategies, video clips, blog posts, insightful quotes, and invitations to join intriguing education twitter chats.
And truly, education Twitter chats have rejuvenated my professional life. Sometimes I feel like I learn more from a quick one-hour Twitter chat than I do from a whole day of standard PD.
I am now a part of a whole professional learning network that comprises of teachers, specialists, administrators, bloggers, authors, tech gurus, and more. It’s awesome!!!
So…what exactly is an education twitter chat???
A Twitter chat happens when a group of people ‘meet’ on Twitter at a predetermined time to tweet about a specific topic using the same hashtag (#). For example, every Sunday night at 8 EST first grade teachers across the globe come together under the hashtag #1stchat to discuss relevant topics such as ‘Guided Math’ or ‘Literacy’. There is usually one moderator (or host) that asks a series of questions. Participants respond to the questions and sometimes branch off to respond specifically to one another. Most moderators will create a transcript of the chat for later reference through a social media service like Storify.
How do I get started???
1) Activate a Twitter Account: Go to Twitter.com and create a free account. Determine your username (mine is @teachtrainlove but many use their first/last names). Write a short bio and upload profile and background pictures.
2) Start Building Your Professional Network: Follow other educators! The cool thing about Twitter is you can follow whoever you want, and it’s not one bit weird! Find well-known educators or authors you like and start following their tweets. Do a people search for words like ‘teacher’ or ‘educator’ and peruse bios. You can click to see who other people are following to connect also.
3) Send Out Your First Tweet: I remember this being scary, but it’s really not! Create a tweet to introduce yourself. Then start sending out tweets about anything education-related that you want to share. You don’t have to use a hashtag each time, but doing so categorizes tweets so people can find them more easily. Here is the Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education.
4) Find a Chat: Once you feel comfortable with sending out tweets, find an education chat that interests you. Here’s a comprehensive list of Weekly Twitter Chats. I would first listen and ‘lurk’ in the chat to observe how it works. Questions and answers are usually prefaced with Q or A, with the number of the question/answer following. When you feel ready, jump in and answer one! Make sure to include the chat’s hashtag so your response is seen by all in the chat.
5) Use a Twitter Client: Twitter chats are FAST! Sooooo many resources/ideas are being shared in a short amount of time. Once you understand how a chat works, join Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, as these sites will help you follow/participate in conversations more easily.
I hope this post helps all you Twitter newbies out there!
For those actively involved already, which Twitter chats are your favorites???
Thanks and ‘see ya’ on Twitter! 🙂