Twitter can be overwhelming. I’ve seen lists for “50 ways to do this…”, “100 ways to do that…” – and hey, I love the different pieces of wisdom, and they are super helpful to me and a lot of people. But when you’re just getting a teacher started with Twitter you don’t want to overwhelm anyone. It’s okay to start small. With that being said, here’s how I get teachers started with using Twitter in the classroom:
1. Sign up for Twitter. Tweet out pictures and short descriptions of what students are doing in class from your phone. The parental goodwill will be palpable – they now have specific questions to ask their kids when they get home.
2. Track current events/people. Follow a hashtag (#yalit, for example) or take a look at the trending topics on the left side of the screen. Check out the feed of an author, scientist, news organization, company, etc. Feel connected and contribute to the conversation.
3. Communicate with people. A lot of authors will interact with readers, and a host of other types of professionals love and appreciate social engagement. Ask a weather expert a question; Tweet a comment at a professor, historian or curator. Check out who’s active on Twitter, and if they are active they will likely respond.
4. Interact with another classroom. A lof of educators and their classrooms are on Twitter – for example – Ms. Graboski, Mrs. Lenzini, Mrs. Powell, and Mrs. Toomey. Students can authentically communicate with other classrooms from your classroom account.
5. Build connections; create opportunities. If a teacher is active on Twitter it is likely he/she values authentic connections and real-world collaborative opportunities for the students. A simple “hey there!” Tweet could quickly blossom into students from around the globe discussing learning topics in a videoconference or participating in a Mystery Skype session. To find teachers active in social media, I recommend signing up for Skype Education. Search for classrooms and filter the results by Twitter accounts. Check out his/her Twitter account – if they’re an active Twitter user they will likely want to connect.