<span class='p-name'>Using Twitter for Teaching, Learning, and Socializing</span>

Using Twitter for Teaching, Learning, and Socializing

Twitter is a communication tool that allows for open collaboration to aid in teaching, learning, and socializing online.

Get Started

To get started with Twitter, first, get an account. All you need is an email address and an idea for your Twitter handle (username). Choose something that relates to your interests, passion, superpower, or just your name. 

Complete your profile. Your bio on your profile should indicate who you are, and what you are hoping to get out of your Twitter account. Share some insight into who you are or who you want to be. Share some insight into the groups, affiliations, and credentials you have.

For my social media accounts, I write a six-word memoir each year to identify who I am, or who I would like to be. These words guide how I identify myself on my social media accounts.

Check out the profile for Kevin Hodgson on Twitter. You should definitely follow him.

Follow & Build a PLN

As you look online for others, follow me or others that will follow you back. You can follow a lot of the discussions on Twitter without an account, or without following people. But, your interactions will be much more worthwhile if you connect with others.

Not everyone agrees with this idea of following others. I believe this helps create community and connect with others. When I’m trying to learn a new topic or expose myself to new viewpoints, I’ll follow others in those areas.

If you find that someone doesn’t align with your interests or your purpose for being on Twitter you can unfollow them. I regularly follow and unfollow individuals and groups as I learn, grow, and connect. You can also unfollow people that are distasteful, inappropriate, or who harass you or others.

The goal is to develop your professional learning network (PLN). You’ll want to develop a group of people that you learn from over the years.

According to Wikipedia, a PLN is an “informal learning network” in which a person makes a “connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection.” The idea is that learners within this network will collaborate and learn from different members of the community at different periods of time. Some of these “nodes” or connections will be strong, some will have different roles or informal responsibilities.

My PLN has been an invaluable resource for me personally and professionally.

What elements are involved in a tweet?

After you create your account, you’ll need to make sense of the individual tweets and the chats or discussions.

Twitter is a communication tool that allows participants to provide updates in 280 characters or less. 10,000s of educators from across the world use Twitter. The benefit of Twitter is that it is an open and global conversation.

There are several elements of a tweet that you need to understand as you read and write on Twitter.


How to discuss on Twitter?

Every week discussions occur in real-time on a variety of topics. Users follow the discussions using hashtags. A hashtag is identified by the “#” sign.

There are numerous hashtags and chats that may interest you. To view a full list of discussions please click here. Here are just a few:

  • #edchat – A weekly discussion (2x on Tuesday) on a participant chosen topic
  • #edtech – A hashtag used by educational technology enthusiasts
  • #EduIT – A hashtag for Educational IT specialists
  • #BlackEdu – A weekly conversation about serving the underrepresented and overcoming the opportunity gap
  • #STEM – A hashtag used by educators discussing issues in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education

Use an app to make sense of Twitter

Twitter is a powerful social network that can be used to connect, share, and explore multiple topics. There are several services out there that can help you synthesize the “firehose” of information

On an Android device, I use the official Twitter app on Android and iPad/iPhone.

On my computer, I use the Tweetdeck, or HootSuite app for Chrome. The reason for focusing on these is the use of columns.

You can watch how I negotiate these columns in this video screencast from one of my classes.

Use a service to help synthesize the “firehose” of information available

It can often become overwhelming to review the wealth of information available on Twitter. To help search and sift through all of this information, there are several options to help you curate.

To keep it simple, services like Paper.li and Scoop.it will take the links that your friends share on Twitter and/or Facebook and provide you with a daily “newspaper” of the most important things you need to know from that day.

If you want to get a little more online content to consume, apps on your Android device, iPhone, and iPad like NuzzelFeedly, or Flipboard will take the links from Twitter, Facebook, and other social feeds to create a visually stunning magazine that you can review and “read” what you may have missed during the day. I use Feedly and Nuzzel daily.

These web apps and platforms allow you to review links and information shared on Twitter, and research how it all interconnects to other online informational sources.

Photo by Chris J. Davis on Unsplash

14 Comments Using Twitter for Teaching, Learning, and Socializing

  1. Pingback: Develop Your Own Personal Learning Network Using Google+ and Twitter

  2. Pingback: TechTalk 002 – Twitter, ‘Twitteracy’, and Connected Educators

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