Before this past spring, I was not a fan of twitter. I guess I'm getting old. I did not like the format. It was too random and busy for me. However, after attending a google summit in May and I participated in posting a few tweets during the day, I was hooked!
What's so good about twitter?
For many teachers, we often hang out in our classroom most of the day in order to "get work done." Unfortunately, that leaves us very isolated. An isolated teacher does not have as much opportunity to share with others and continue to grow our teaching methods. That's where twitter comes in to the picture. Teachers can connect with educators and professionals from across the globe easily and quickly by either searching for people they have met at conferences, went to school with or have met otherwise. But the real magic comes in when you follow hashtags for popular conversation topics and also participate in "twitter chats" with professionals from across the globe.
Popular hashtags for teachers
For those not familiar, posts can be labeled with a hashtag (#) to categorize the topic of the post. When you open twitter, click on the search option and enter the hashtag of choice and you will see a list of posts that people have tagged with that hashtag even if it is someone that you do not follow on twitter. This is where you can easily virtually connect with new people of common interests. You can correspond and choose to follow those with similar interests or in areas that you would like to learn more about. Most subject areas have a "chat" hashtag to follow such as "scichat." In order to "alert" others about a post that you have made on a particular topic, include the hashtag in your post. This will also connect you with new people for those following the hashtag.
Ex. What a great article that I found today about virtual reality in the science classroom. #scichat
Below is a list of some of the more popular hashtags to follow for teachers:
- #pbl or #pblchat (problem based learning)
- #ntchat (new teacher)
- #EdApps (education apps)
Twitter chats - virtual chats via twitter hashtags
Some of the popular hashtags have a meetup time that they use in order to discuss topics of the week. There are many that even post questions and times to address each question of interest for the weekly chat. Twitter chats have been very enlightening for me as an educator connecting me with people that have very different ideas than those I work with daily. One popular twitter chat that participate in is #satchat that has various hosts weekly.
Where to find more hashtags to follow or Twitter chats
Simple enter a search into Google for twitter hastags to follow for education. You'll be amazed at all of the hashtags out there. There are also websites that host lists of hastags for education and even a calendar of Twitter chats to follow.
What might be scary about Twitter for Teachers
You will be putting yourself out there publicly which some teachers are not comfortable with. However, teachers can create a separate profile for school if you do not want to mix school and personal accounts. This will also help you to keep a professional following on your educator twitter account.
Go ahead and give twitter a try. You do not have to post anything initially but you can simply "lurk" instead. Choose wisely what to post and if you keep it separate from a personal account it will be easy.