Friday, February 1, 2013

The Value of Twitter


            I have officially become a Twitter user…(I believe that makes me a Tweep)…and I have to say, it wasn’t anything that I had expected. I had heard of Twitter numerous on the news, and I always see my fifteen year old cousin using Twitter as venue to share daily happenings with friends. My interpretation was that it was simply a device to share the latest news with the friends they saw five minutes ago. I am already fighting a terrible addiction to Facebook, I didn’t think I needed another procrastination tool.

            Now that I am required to tweet….I am finding an entirely different use for it! I have been pleasantly surprised by the power Twitter has to create communication between educators.  I am finding tremendous value in the way Twitter is able to help me professionally. It is amazing how information is constantly being shared among educators! This is a convenient, affordable (free), and fun way to keep up with the latest in teaching, technology, and basically anything you are interested in learning more about.
            I have found a few different people and organizations that I enjoy following because they have great information about the wonderful world of teaching! Some organizations I am following include NEA Today, Teachers.Net, and Teacher Created. NEA today reports educational news, Teacher Created tweets free lessons for teachers of grades k-8, and Teachers.Net has teacher forums and it posts helpful websites as well.

            Some people I have started to follow include Brian J. Nichols, Jessica Johnson, Vicki Davis, Richard Byrne, and all of my classmates in ED 521. I think the biggest reason I enjoy following these educators is because they tweet information that I never even thought about asking or searching for myself. Vicki Davis shares inspirational quotes to motivate teachers, she incorporates humor in her tweets (something teachers want and need!), and she tweets her weekly Tweetpaper! Richard Byrne does a lot of posting on technology. Some of his tweets seem more for teaching older students, but I have found some things I think I could use! He posted about using Google Maps in science lessons – I never thought to use Google maps with my kids – good idea! Jessica Johnson has information on the Daily 5, which is something I have been interested in incorporating to my classroom. Brian J. Nichols recently had a tweet about homework policy, which is what I am doing for my thesis! I love finding more information on this topic! I have also enjoyed following my peers. It is interesting to read their Tweets each week – they have tips for us all and they have posted good information for me to use as well.

            When using a hashtag to search, I have been amazed at how many results can be found by one word! The hashtags I have used most often include, #edchat, #nchat, #edtech, and #elemchat. By following hashtags I have been able to find different people I want to follow, I came across an archived PT chat that discussed ways to encourage a love of reading, elementary school writing resources ( ) which I have been searching for, a guide on how to build a PLN (, and common core resources for grades 3-5. These hashtag searches have helped me find a great deal of articles, tips, lessons, and even some videos have been posted. This is just the tip of the iceberg! There have been a tremendous amount of resources found! I actually don’t have to look to hard for them, they are all at my fingertips! I just wish I had time to read them all!

            While following the FETC hashtags I really noticed the different ways people shared information on twitter. Some people simply tweeted a short sentence about their thoughts on a particular session they were a part of. I looked at one tweet that actually included the slideshow presentation used at the seminar. One tweet included the web address for a google document that had archived tweets. Kathy Schrock posted her entire presentation on Twitter! Lee Kolbert had a link her blog that included information on social media, and there were several posts by Edmodo that directs the readers to it blog. I am beginning to see how quickly information can travel! It is amazing how much information you are able to access without even going to the conference! So many articles, blogs, tweets, and websites were added! There was a lot of information available.

            I am starting to get the hang of Twitter. It is fun to open up my Twitter page and look for the article I find most interesting. If there is anything I am interested in learning more about, I usually do a hashtag search and find more than enough information! I can see how this will keep me “in the loop” with recent happenings in education. I will continue to use Twitter in my professional life, however, I do not plan to use it for personal use…..because the only friend I have on twitter is my fifteen year old cousin whom is on the verge of cutting me off for cramping her style with all of my educational tweets!

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