If I told you your child's teacher was constantly on Twitter, you might, without thinking, react negatively. What a waste of precious time. Aren't there better things you could be doing? How dare you troll around on social media instead of planning my child's next thrilling Common Core lesson. The truth is much the opposite. There is an amazing world out there on Twitter, and for educators, there is much to find and benefit from.
1. Personal Learning Network
Teachers should be actively growing their Personal Learning Network (PLN). Whether their expertise is literacy or technology, growing a PLN of colleagues and organizations that share similar curriculum, challenges, hurdles, and content specificity will only drive new ideas and collaboration encouraging best instructional practices.
2. Classroom Resources
Following organizations and websites such as Edutopia (@edutopia), eduClipper (@eduClipper), or ISTE (@isteconnects) provides teachers with a constant flow of new and engaging resources that can help to keep classroom learning fresh and captivating.
Once students have reached the point where they all have cell phones, they also all have Twitter. Teachers can tweet homework, upcoming tests, and project due dates. Classroom communication will never be as efficient as it would be with Twitter. Plus, this helps teachers gain a little street cred with their tech savvy students. In regards to parents, with school closings, field trips, early dismissals, and any other emergencies occurring, classroom teachers can tweet out pertinent information at a moment's notice. Also, tweeting a picture of some of the great classroom activities or presentations going on can go a long way with parents. The school community will appreciate it more than one would think.
4. Staying Up To Date
Much like the news in any other field, education news typically will hit Twitter first. This means any connected teachers will be able to stay up to date with the newest resources, the latest news in their field, and the most effective instructional strategies.
Ed-Chats are conversations that occur over Twitter where, with the use of a specific hashtag, teachers can participate in a live, streaming conversation with other educators from another district, or another state. These conversations are often with leaders in specific fields and bring about collaboration and conversation about best instructional practices for kids. Ed-Chats such as #nyedchat, #edtechchat, #satchat, #flipclass, and #tlap are all great choices, and moderators provide great topics and questions for enlightening conversations.
I had the pleasure to discuss this topic with Dennis Schug, a Principal on the east end of Long Island. He is a passionate educator who feels strongly about the positive benefits of Twitter. As the principal of Hampton Bays Middle School, he encourages all of his staff to be active on Twitter. As he put it, "The world is a much smaller place when teachers are connected to other passionate educators. Through these connections teachers gain access to valuable resources 24/7. Being on Twitter also models digital literacy and citizenship for our students, which is an important part of developing their 21st century life skills."
It looks like Twitter is on the rise in education. It's time to get on board.
Photo: Flickr | Denise Kreb
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