Top 5 Reasons Teachers should Tweet
To connect and build a PLN.
Do you have a Professional Learning Network? Are you connected with a group of educational professionals within your subject area and interests? Do you get daily/hourly tips on how to have great lessons? How about resources from all over the world on educational news?
By creating a Twitter account you can follow experts, other teachers and people of interest. They will share news and links for items that they think are of interest to their followers. Don’t know who to follow? Start with someone you know; an educational author, an organization, a blogger, or even me (darlasays). Use the search tool and find them on Twitter. Click to follow them. Then get noisy. See who they follow. Mine, personally is a mix bag. I have personal friends, culture stuff, local news, and lots of educational tweeters. Sometimes my educational news comes from strange sources. Example: One of my personal friends from a rock band worked to create anti-bullying presentations in Puerto Rico. You can stay informed from all of the sources you pick to follow.
To connect with parents
When I was in kindergarten, my teacher would literally pin notes to my coat so that I would not lose the message going home with me. It was her way of trying to make sure her message got home to my parents. She went through many safety pins with me.
In my own classroom, I have set up a Twitter just for my specific class. I can quickly share short announcements with my many parent and student followers, such as “Test Monday over Figurative Language”, “Fundraiser $$ due Friday”, “Joey won the District Spelling Bee!!” I can post from my phone and they can receive the messages on their phone. This is a quick and easy way to always be connected to your students and their parents. You can also direct message students and parents.
To connect with students
As with parents, you can connect with students but more than that – it is a mobile class room.
Let’s say it is a Saturday and you watch this awesome youtube video about the meteors falling in Russia. You can suddenly share it with your class. Even have a quick micro discussion. Real learn, real life, real fast.
Or maybe it is late on a Sunday night and a student is wondering if “zip” is an onomatopoeia. They can message you, without needing you personal phone number or email, then you can post it on Twitter as a discussion. No prep teaching and student generated.
To learn and teach – More does not always = better
As teachers of writing we often encourage writers to write more, but yet as real world readers we seek information that isn’t overly wordy and gets to the point quickly. By teaching students to use Twitter and using it yourself you learn about the importance of making care choices. You only have 140 characters to use to communicate a message. I think of it like writing a haiku poem. Here is your limits, make the most of them. As you teach this, then also teach the power of creative titles which link to bigger blogs where students can then write more, go more in-depth, give more details.
To become involved in conversation
As I travel around the US and Canada, I often hear the same thing – “Educational Policy makers don’t know what they are talking about.” And “They don’t listen to/ask me.” This is truly a giant frustration as we are in this time of overhauling reform, but then I ask them, “Do you blog or Tweet?” Most of the time the answer is, “No.” If you want your opinion to be heard, you have to put it out there! Tweet your opinion in one of the #edchat topics. Back up your opinion with classroom examples and observations in a blog. Use hashtags (#) to target the discussion.