Teachers and Twitter; how's your 'twitteracy'?

Using Twitter for many educators who have already cultivated a personal learning network (PLN) is pretty much second nature. Finding and sharing exciting educational content doesn't get much easier than tweeting it to your followers. But as I've mentioned in a previous post, the gap between teachers who embrace technology and those who are reluctant is becoming quite pronounced and it seems to be widening exponentially.

This short video is of Alec Couros, an EdTech Professor and Media Education Researcher explaining the benefits for teachers using Twitter and what best practice looks like using this particular social media site.

When I chat to some educators about social media, there can be a tangible reticence that pervades feelings about it's potential misuse. Often their first impression of Twitter is that it's related to celebrity worship, gratuitous nudity or some type of horrific abuse that they've been scared with via traditional media outlets. Twitter hasn't quite accomplished a broader positive marketing campaign that has reached nervous educators. Some of this caution is duly warranted, but I would argue that a few teachers are permitting their reticence to excuse their personal reluctance.

I spoke to a colleague the other day about this issue and his view was one of confusion about how to hashtag effectively and what on earth a hashtag even was. I explained how they're primarily used to categorise and tag information so that it can be followed according to people's interests and web searches. One of the absolute best Twitter explanations for teachers can be found here: A Teacher's Guide to Twitter. It has definitions, advice and suggestions for starting and maintaining your personal learning network; something I see as an invaluable tool in the modern teacher's 'school bag'. Even though I've been using it for awhile, I found lots of excellent information about how to use this technology tool to improve the teaching and consequent learning outcomes for kids in real classrooms. That's what Twitter can do - take you in a new direction quickly and connect you to ideas and people instantly. As teachers, the professional possibilities this technology provides are innumerate.

If you are still not convinced, this article; Why Teachers Love Twitter, helps define why teachers are getting on board and becoming a significant presence as the educational Twitterati. Getting 'twitterate' will be a necessary skill for many educators as the expectations of their connectedness and technological expertise grows. Of this, I have little doubt.

So be brave! There's so many people out there who'll help you. Stop procrastinating: sign up, follow people, create a tweet, learn to hashtag, copy links to inspired websites and create your own content. Learning is for all of us, not just for the kids.

JS

Find me here: @mimasaunders

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