A compilation of the Why, How to Get Started, and How to Get Connected with Twitter

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It seems as the number of resources available to twitter followers on why to use twitter, how to get started with twitter, and how to get connected may be as overwhelming as the twitter-sphere itself.

Why Tweet?

As I prepare to start a new year with my team, we are looking to harness all the myriad of benefits that twitter affords:

  1. Increased communication and documentation of student learning
  2. Connecting our students with original sources (authors, organizations, experts…etc)
  3. Connecting our students with other classrooms and students in the global community
  4. Building a more robust connected faculty web of individually meaningful PLNs
  5. Modeling and sharing the digital literacy skills that are important tools for our students future

(Why Tweet from my twitter feed in the past week)

“…social media pervades all aspects of modern society, and it has become an imperative for us as educators — and parents — to model appropriate digital citizenship to even our youngest learners. Do I really believe that toddlers should have Twitter handles? Not really. But we do need to introduce children to the virtual, social world around them in appropriate and meaningful ways? Definitely (from Beth Holland http://www.edutopia.org/user/49983http://www.edutopia.org/user/49983).”

“The big picture in being a connected educator is the idea that you as the educator are first connected to the general flow of information, and then secondly, focused on specific connections to drill down to the detailed needs specific to you, or your students’ needs. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all applications that may be used to connect educators. Like it or not however, Twitter is the backbone of a majority of Personal/Professional Learning Networks for educators. Educators have taken Twitter beyond its intended use, making it a professional tool for collaboration. Approving or disapproving of the application is like approving or disapproving of a hammer or screwdriver. You can hate them all you want, but try building a house without them. Being on Twitter and following 200 sharing educators is a general connection that will meet general needs, and promote great reflection on education. Your Twitter timeline will flow with education sources and information 24/7. Information and sources are simply there for the taking. Using that timeline to focus on educators in your area of expertise will render ideas and lessons beyond general education philosophy to meet specifics in your area of study. If you teach English focus on English teachers. If you teach second grade focus on second grade teachers. There are thousands of connected educators in your specific area of expertise willing to share with you. Your task is to find them and connect (from Tom Whitby http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/).”

How to get started?

Beginning on twitter may feel like jumping into a pool in which you cannot see the bottom though you are aware that the water is scuba-diving deep. The seemingly infinite number of tweets, the new vocabulary of handles and hashtags, and the concern about fitting another tool into and already full day and personal reality can leave many standing on the edge scared to dive in. With this as in any endeavor, it is best to start small with connections and content that would be most relevant and interesting to your personal situation.

(How to get started from my twitter feed in the past week)

Twitter 101 for Teachers: Steps for Getting Started on Twitter from Mrs. T’s Middle Grades Blog

Getting Started with Twitter in the Classroom from Carrie Kamm’s Blog

Twitter for Educators: A Beginner’s Guide By Amber Coggin via Jerry Blumengarten’s http://cybraryman.com/

How to get connected

Ok, so you are in the pool, now what.  It seems as if there is a world of swimming, sharks and minnows, and water polo seamlessly and simultaneously going on all around you.  How do you move from in the pool to “in” the pool?

Start with personally relevant people and hashtags.

“There are several hundred education Chats taking place on Twitter each and every day. Participation in these chats enables educators the ability to exchange, consider, reflect, modify and adopt ideas from educators around the world. These chats are a great place to find, and connect with other educators based on the acceptance of their ideas as opposed to their title. Follow the chat hashtags (from Tom Whitby http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/).”

Below are list of hashtags and educationally relevant chats.  These lists are by no means complete, rather they are an attempt to offer some starting points to immerse yourself in the twitter-sphere and allow you to start to build your own PLN with the most meaningful and relevant connections.

Educational Hashtags

Grade Level

Subject/Division Based

#kinderchat

#arted

#1stchat

#elemchat

#2ndchat

#grammar

#3rdchat

#jed21

#4thchat

#jedchat

#5thchat

#langchat

#6thchat

#mathchat

#mschat

Beginning Twitter

#scichat

#bastt

#sschat

#battt

Project Based Learning

Technology Integration

#pblchat

#4ITS

#pblworld

#digcit

#edapp

Global Learning

#edtech

#globalclassroom

#ipadchat

#qrcodes

Best of Blogs

#smartee

#blogmust

#tichat

 

Educationally relevant chats and schedule.

SUNDAY

#sunchat Sunday Ed Chat

9:00 AM

#1stchat First Grade Teachers Chat

9:00 AM

#titletalk Promote reading and literacy

9:00 AM

#21stedchat 21st Century Education Chat

9:00 AM

MONDAYS

#mathchat Math Teachers Chat

3:00 PM

#engchat English Teachers Chat

7:00 PM

#sschat Social Studies Teachers Chat

7:00 PM

#pechat Physical Education Chat

7:00 PM

#4thchat Fourth Grade Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#musedchat Music Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#edtechchat Educational Technology Chat

8:00 PM

#21stadmin 21st Century Administrator Chat

9:00 PM

#kinderchat Kindergarten and Early Childhood Chat

9:00 PM

#smartee SMART technology (board, software, etc.) Chat

9:30 PM

TUESDAYS

#edchat Education Chat

12:00 PM

#pblchat Project Based Learning Chat

8:00 PM

#edteach Ed Teach Chat

8:00 PM

#5thchat 5th grade Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#patue Pedagogy and Technology

8:00 PM

#6thchat 6th Grade Chat

9:00 PM

#smartee SMART (software, boards, etc.) Chat

9:00 PM

#scichat Science Teachers Chat

9:00 PM

WEDNESDAYS

#ipadchat Ipads in education Chat

1:00 PM

#web20tools Web 2.0 Tools in teaching

6:00 PM

#3rdchat 3rd Grade Chat

7:00 PM

#edmusic Music Education

7:00 PM

#2ndchat Second Grade Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#libchat Librarian’s Chat

8:00 PM

#jedchat Jewish Ed Chat

9:00 PM

#psycchat School Psychologist Chat

9:00 PM

THURSDAYS

#characteredchat Character Ed Chat

4:00 PM

#mathchat Math Teachers Chat

7:00 PM

#artsed Arts in Education Chat

7:30 PM

#langchat Foreign Language Chats

8:00 PM

#6thchat 6th grade teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#gaed Georgia Ed Chat

8:00 PM

#mschat Middle School Chat

8:00 PM

#escchat Elementary Counselors Chat

8:00 PM

#isedchat Independent School Educators Chat

9:00 PM

Going Forward

Finally, to all new and experienced teachers and collaborators in the pool, I thank you.  Thank you for the sharing that you have offered me as I have newly explored the potential of this tool, and thank you for the sharing that you will offer to me and all of my team in the coming weeks, months, and years.

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