When I talk to teachers about Twitter, usually their first reaction is similar to what mine was by stating “I don’t care that Ashton Kutcher just ate a ham sandwich.” I agree, and I don’t care either. But since joining Twitter 8 months ago, I’ve learned that’s not point of Twitter (unless you want it to be) and the real value is so much more then I could have anticipated, professionally and personally.
Why Teachers Should Use Twitter:
Teachers should have a Twitter account in order to create an amazing Professional Learning Network, to stay informed about education, best practices, and pedagogies, and to learn new ideas about teaching. Twitter is a direct news feed from the people you want to hear from (e.g., colleagues, schools, publishers, leaders in education); it lets you connect better than any other tool on the Internet.
Here Are My Top 3 Reasons Why Teachers Need Twitter!
More Heads Are Better Than One
- In an elementary school where I was the only health and phys.ed. teacher it was professionally very lonely. I did what I thought was best, reflected on my own practice, but didn’t have anyone around who understood H&PE content and curriculum, as well as best teaching practices. Now in the palm of my hand I am connected to teachers from not only my board, but from around the world. Through the use of #pechat we share and discuss strategies connected to a variety of topics related to H&PE. I can learn best practices and new pedagogies, I can view images and videos, and I can chat with teachers, who are working through the same situations as me and we can support each other and share our knowledge and learn together on an almost instantaneous basis.
Learn Globally, Act Locally
- Teachers on twitter have the potential to reach a huge international audience. Not only can we see what is happening with our own province by following leaders in education here, but we can follow leaders from around the world. Recently while collecting data on curriculum from across Canada I wasn’t able to locate the H&PE document from Halifax. With a quick tweet to their government, I had a link to the document within minutes. I had already out in time searching with no luck, and was able to reach out in a way that was convenient to me to the other side of the country and get the response and information I needed.
- On a regular basis through the use of #pechat I’ve connected with a teacher in Singapore. This guy has an equipment room to die for, huge, well organized, and I’ve been able to learn from him and his practices and apply them here in Ontario.
- Twitter helps teachers receive direct information from the sources they choose. Teachers can stay up to date on not only news and current affairs, but also on the latest developments in their areas of interest: subject associations, publishers, school leadership, teaching trends, or technology. By following leaders and organizations, teachers can be among the first to know when an article is published, a study is released, a product is launched, or an opinion is voiced.
Want To See Twitter in Action?
Check out this video created by PhysicalEducator.Com
A Tool for School:
Twitter can also be used as an educational tool for engagement in and outside of the classroom. While there has been some concern with using social media in schools (bullying, theft, equity), many schools and teachers are embracing these sites, changing the function of the site away from socializing and towards education and knowledge sharing. According to The Guardian’s social media guide for schools, “Teachers have been setting up subject or class Twitter accounts that students can follow. The teacher then tweets information related to their class. Some even set homework via Twitter.” I’ve used twitter as an alternative to pen and paper exit cards. I’ve provided students with the option to write or tweet their response to our consolidation question, and while many students still choose pen and paper, the choice is theirs.
Have you used twitter in your classroom or for your own professional learning? Share your experience in the comments!