6 reasons why Twitter is a teacher’s BFF

Educating for change, Blogs article written on the 02 May 2013

Twitter. It was the last thing I wanted to spend my time on. I already used Facebook so why would I need another social media platform to eat up my spare time and contribute to my procrastination regime?

If you are an educator interested in active citizenship, global perspectives, development education, English, Geography, SOSE, HSIE, Digital learning, pedagogies I can guarantee that it is worth the look!

Below you’ll find:

  • Why an educator would use Twitter
  • 8 things you may not know about Twitter
  • 5 excellent guides and tools to get you started or get you further in your Twitter love affair
  • A low-down on the humble hash-tag.

Why would an educator use Twitter?

  1. To network with other teachers/education professionals and build up a supportive, open and exciting PLN
  2. Share resources including lesson plans, students’ work, research, great videos
  3. Ask questions. You will usually get more than one response. For example: “Does anyone have a video on population growth?” “I need ideas on how to include Sustainability in the Year 10 English classroom-help!”
  4. Attend online forums or “edchats”. These  happen weekly, are moderated by an educator and a topic is selected via poll. See below for a couple of Australian chats.
  5. Attend conferences VERY cheaply if you can’t physically attend (go onto any teacher conferences that are coming up and note down their hashtag and date of conference, then add to your calendar). Tweeps (people who Tweet) often post photos of PowerPoint slides, references from key note speakers and more.
  6. Learn, learn, learn!

To get you warmed up with a laugh and to see what stage you’re at in the world of Twitter, enjoy these 10 stages of Twitter by educator, Daniel Edwards. What stage are you at??

7 things you may not have known about Twitter

  1. You can choose who to “follow” and as a result, you will only see those people’s tweets. You will not be inundated with vacuous tweets about what the Kardashians have had for breakfast!
  2. It actually does not require a lot of time to be active on Twitter. 10 minutes a day or an hour block a week is enough.
  3. You can access Twitter on your desktop or laptop, not just mobile devices.
  4. If you decide it’s not for you, you can actually leave… or take a break until you realise the wonderful people and ideas you may be missing.
  5. Education-related tweets are often “trending”, in other words, the most popular topics in the Twittersphere
  6. Twitter is used by teachers of all ages with varying competencies in technology
  7. You will probably wonder what your professional life was like before Twitter.

Get started – go on, I dare you!

Hashtags – Twitter conversation topics

A hashtag, #, denotes the topic of the conversation on Twitter. Here’s a crash course on hashtags and some common education hashtags for Australian teachers

My micro but ever-growing list:

#edchat – General education, one of the original education hashtags

#globaledoz – All things global education for your school

#ozedchat – General education chat but specifically for Australian teachers

#eduoz – Same as above

#GeographyTeacher – Geography for teachers

#GeoEd – Same as above

#ozengchat – English for Australian teachers. Forum held on Tuesdays 20.30-21.30 EST

#engchat – English for global English teachers

#histedchat – History, mainly for Australian teachers. Forum held on Wednesdays8.30-9.30 EST

#21stedchat – As the name suggests, topics synonymous with 21st Century education, is in fact dominated by technology chat but also addresses current pedagogical research and trends.

#auscurr – Australian Curriculum specific

#cross-curr – Cross Curricular Priorities in the Australian Curriculum

The list goes on and you’ll be sure to find more in your adventures!

Follow me for updates on all things global education, great classroom resources, conference updates, KLAs including History, Geography, English, SOSA, HSIE as well as Pastoral Care, ICT and 21st Century learning.

Sharon Settecasse in the Twittersphere is:  @olivesnsunshine

Follow Oxfam on @OxfamAustralia and Oxfam’s youth engagement program on @3thingsproject

Happy Tweeting!

By Sharon Settecasse – Education Program Coordinator, Oxfam Australia