For some of us, hearing the quiet whistle of our Twitter app ding on our smartphone is common place and almost background noise in our busy, multitasking, digital heavy world. But for many, talk of Twitter, tweeting, hashtags, and favorites are more like a foreign language than social networking lingo.
I’ve had a twitter account for a while now, but have only recently begun using it to its full advantage as a professional networking tool within the last year/year and a half. I use my account to connect with other teachers and even in my graduate school classmates and professors. I also have a second account that I use with my students to help them become moretechnologically, globally, and self aware in our community.
Every day more research is published listing the benefits of Twitter in the classroom. Studies have been done and articles have been written involving teachers and students on the elementary level as well as post secondary levels and graduate levels of education. Majority rules in that the benefits of using the website greatly outweigh the drawbacks, and the possibilities of use are limitless.
I have used twitter to follow colleagues around my school, my school district and content departments; I also follow my university and college professors. I have followed educators from around the country and even those from around the world! I follow famous authors and news stations, politicians, and celebrities– anyone on Twitter who I feel can and will help to and inspire me to further my educational and professional goals.
In my classroom we use Twitter to post and answer essential questions. We answer our own questions and those posted by other classrooms. We follow our favorite authors and performers and the local museums. By reading their tweets we stay informed and up to date on whats going o
n in the lives of others we care about. By tweeting to and about these people/businesses we make connections that are visible, instant, and real to students who may have difficulty envisioning them otherwise.
As a writer I have been able to connect with other authors who inspire me. I have also been able to easily publish ideas and concepts that I feel are important quickly and instantly. I recently wrote my first Twitter essay and have been exploring the (relatively new) genre that has come about via the Twitter platform.
Twitter can also be used for community building. I feel closer to the staff members that I follow at work. I keep in touch with and communicate with my graduate school peers through twitter for both school and non-school related issues. In my classroom I connect with parents by sharing updates and photographs of whats going on in the classroom in real time. They can send questions and comments to students and we can read them and respond as they’re being received. Again, the possibilities are limitless.
As an educator and as a student I strongly encourage not only fellow teachers, but any and all professions to use Twitter as a professional tool. Social media isn’t going anywhere. The famous motto of “work smarter, not harder” holds strong. Let’s use our resources, people– and change our worlds one tweet at a time!
Follow me @JmeBooz