Sunday, April 22, 2012

Twitter for Educators

There are so many resources out there on using Twitter for educational purposes, it is sometimes difficult to make heads or tails of it. Here's a little mini lesson for my friends and colleagues interested in learning more about how to use this tool. I want to give you a few tips about hashtags and then share a list of my favorite educational tweeters and why I like them. I hope this is helpful.

Hashtags are those words you see with the # sign in front. They are the way information is organized and retrieved on Twitter.

  • One of the most popular hashtags is #FF and you'll see it often on Fridays. It stands for "follow Friday" and is a way in which people on Twitter recommend their favorite tweeters to their own followers. 
  • Within the scope of education, a very popular hashtag is #edchat and clicking on it or searching for it will give you a list of tweets related to education. Many education experts are discussing topics of interest in education at this very moment and you can get in on the conversation by replying to them and adding #edchat to your tweet as well.
  • At educational conferences a unique hashtag is often created to help participants use Twitter to communicate and network during the conference. Ask about a hashtag at your next professional development conference. 
A few of my favorite tweeters:
  • @TLTGROUP is the account for the Teaching, Learning, and Technology group, a non-profit organization that holds frequent online, free webinars on a variety of topics related to education. 
  • @EnglishRaven is an English teacher who blogs and often posts great instructional technology resources.
  • @EdTechSteve is a tech geek with a background in math and a desire to help teachers and students improving learning.
  • @BHobgood is a speaker whom I have had the pleasure to hear a few times. He is another technology person with a strong interest in culture and blended/online learning.
  • @ShawnTX is a technology expert at as school district in Texas and the co-host of a great podcast called the Tightwad Tech where they interview teachers and specialists to find great ways to exploit free/cheap instructional technology. I have spoken to Shawn a few times and was interviewed about social media once on the podcast. They are great guys with good senses of humor and fun to follow
  • @KathySchrock is a wonderful educator who publishes tons of resources online for free including her famous Bloomin' Apps! infographics. 
  • @ShellTerrell and @TomWhitby are co-founders of #edchat. Both post great links and lead the frequent #edchat discussions I mentioned before.
I could go on but this should get you started! Twitter can be a great place to find resources and discuss what is important to you in education. Explore these people and hashtags and see what else you can find. 

ps. If you want to follow me, you can find me at @_AmandaLWilson_