Twitter for Educators

(This week’s guest blogger is Paty Savage, savagep@schultzcenter.org, the Instructional Technology Director for the Schultz Center.)

twitterlogoThis week’s post is all about Twitter. If you’re an educator, you should be using Twitter. I use it every day as a way of getting my daily dose of professional development. What does that mean, you ask? Well, I log in to Twitter everyday and read the posts by the people that I’m following. The people that I am following are all “superstars” in the educational arena. They are not tweeting pictures of their lattes or pets! Instead, they are tweeting links to interesting articles, blog posts about effective instructional strategies, or sharing news that impacts the educational community. Each day that I log in to my Twitter account, I expect that I will learn something new that I can share with my followers.

As part of the Schultz Center’s social media marketing strategy, I tweet out educational news, education-related articles, and promotional information about The Schultz Center daily. Our Twitter “handle” is @SchultzCenter and we currently have 1,498 followers. My goal is to share relevant information to those followers every day.

How can educators use Twitter? Here are some suggestions:

  • Educators can connect (follow and possibly get a follow) to other like-minded Twitter users. This includes K-12 teachers and administrators, authors, “experts” in a particular field, institutions of higher education, research centers, government agencies, and museums. I even follow NASA!
  • Once you’re connected to those awesome folks, begin interacting with them. Re-tweet something that they posted. Reply to a tweet. Check in everyday and share what you’ve learned from your “professional learning network” (PLN). Yes, PLN’s really are a thing!
  • Participate in a Twitter Chat. Everyday there are educators online in Twitter participating in rich and thoughtful conversations using a specific hashtag. For example, on Tuesdays, there is a Twitter chat about education that uses the hashtag, #edchat. You can log in at anytime on Tuesday, type #edchat into the search bar, and then reread the chat to yourself. If you want to participate in the conversation, just make sure that your post contains the appropriate hashtag.
  • Last but not least, share information about your class and school. What’s new in your classroom? What are your students working on? Encourage your students and their families to follow you on Twitter so that they always feel “connected” to you and to what is going on in your school. Tweet out reminders for important dates, events, homework, tests, etc.

I’ll state the obvious now. It’s important to keep your personal life and your professional life separate. Don’t tweet any personal information on your professional Twitter account. If you plan to use Twitter to tweet out pictures to your friends and family, then by all means set up a separate account and make it private. When your account is private, your friends and family will have to send you a request in Twitter to gain access to it.

Your public and professional account could have your name with your grade level, or something else that will easily identify you to your students and their families, for example “@MrsBrown3rdGrade” or “@FHSPrincipal”. You may have to get creative to find a Twitter “handle” that has not already been taken.

Join Twitter and share your message to the world in 140 characters or less! Here are some links to help you along on your Twitter journey:

Twitter Chat Topics and Times

Example of a teacher’s use of Twitter

25 Ways to Teach With Twitter by Sonja Cole

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