Why Twitter?

I’ve got my Methods students using Twitter this semester. It’s my second experiment using Twitter in the classroom. I don’t think Twitter is right or necessary for all of my classes at this point, but it makes so much sense in my Education courses.

I had intended to start the semester by sharing my rationale for using Twitter, since most of my students are new to Twitter (well, except for the ones who got to be guinea pigs in Adolescent Lit in the spring) and perhaps skeptical, as I was before I joined Twitter and started building my PLN.

Before I joined Twitter and began following educators, I thought this was what Twitter was all about:

taylorswift

 

What I love so much about this is that at the time I snapped a screenshot, Taylor Swift’s cinnamon roll had been retweeted 11,395 times. That is just so awesome. The cinnamon roll seen around the world. Granted, it is prettily placed on a pretty plate.

The first time saw a real person tweeting was at NCTE. I was sitting at a table with Jen Ansbach, only I didn’t know she was Jen Ansbach, and she had her device open, merrily tweeting away from the session. And I was just like, what is she DOING? This is so strange.

And then I attended the session led by Bud Hunt, Troy Hicks, and Sara Kajder. They had the twitter feed for the session displayed. I watched the conversation build among people sitting in the room listening to their presentation. I watched as they answered questions and talked back to the audience. I watched as resources related to the talk were tweeted out. AND MY MIND WAS BLOWN. I’ve pretty much been an addict ever since.

Best professional development ever.

As it turns out, I ran out of time in that first (nearly three-hour!) Methods class and didn’t have a chance to give my little spiel singing the praises of the educational value of social media. (I didn’t get a chance to cover 90% of what I’d planned to do. The lesson plan derailing culprit? Two words: FEAR BOARD.)

And it was just as well, because I think it worked out better this way. Students had to jump in and start using Twitter and figure out its value for themselves. A few are still working out how it will be valuable to them. But several students may already be developing their own addiction.

Here’s what we’re appreciating so far this semester about Twitter:

  • Links to teaching resources
  • Articles, op-eds, and blog posts on current education issues
  • Having the current conversation about our field filtered for us by others
  • Learning from teachers all over the world
  • Meeting “friends of the mind” (Linda Christenson quoting Toni Morrison)
  • Participating in a professional community of educators
  • Finding new blogs to follow
  • Publicizing our own work
  • Sharing resources and observations with each other outside of class
  • Getting immediate help with questions

And also, it’s pretty awesome when stuff like this happens:

Gomez Tweets

 

I love that I can connect my students directly with the teachers we are learning from this semester.

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One thought on “Why Twitter?

  1. A nice post, Elizabeth. I believe becoming a connected educator should be embedded throughout every teacher preparation course. It is perhaps the simplest, yet most effective step to encourage, inspire, and support ongoing learning and development once candidates are certified and teaching. Glad to see you making it happen, and to join you in this daily blogging journey. Good stuff!

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