Should Teachers use Twitter?

  • Twitter has been around for a while, but the idea of tweeting as a viable communications forum seems to have really exploded in importance since the inauguration of the current president of the United States.

    And it has raised questions about the communications medium. Is Twitter a good way to communicate? More importantly, can teachers use Twitter as an effective tool for professional development and classroom instruction?

    If you are a tweeting teacher, a certified technology teacher or simply interested in how you might benefit, the good news is, the answer to both questions is, yes.

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    Benefits of Twitter

    Foe many professionals – lawyers, actors, doctors, reporters, and professional athletes – Twitter has become the Internet communication tool of choice.

    One reason is that Twitter can be condensed to groups focused on similar subjects.

    In fact, subject specificity is the key to Twitter’s power. While Twitter doesn’t have the overall user bandwidth of Facebook in terms of total users, Twitter users generally know what they are looking for in terms of information. They follow subjects and not friends, although, like Facebook, it can also be a mixed bag.

    So how does this work for teachers?

    Teachers can use Twitter to effectively collaborate with other educators on Twitter. And it has been shown to help teachers tremendously. They can pose a question or respond to a thread. Teachers can share articles and videos or simply bond through mutual frustration and accomplishment.

    But that is not where Twitter use stops for teachers.

    The one truth is that Twitter is not just for “where do you went to go to lunch?” anymore. The use of twitter is being used in education for communication, research, news and real-time updates.

    More and more, teachers are learning how to build a Twitter page, develop a professional learning community and learn how to use Twitter in the classroom.

    Twitter allows teachers around the country to collaborate with each other across the country and internationally.

    The first step is for teachers to create their own Twitter accounts and learn how to send and receive messages. Teachers can then create their own personalized professional learning communities.

    Using Twitter in the classroom

    Teachers can use Twitter technology in their instruction. Many teachers use Twitter to add a technology twist to their lesson plans.

    The idea of using Twitter with students is sure to create controversy, but there are benefits for the teacher-Twitter argument. Here are some:

    • Twitter is an open/shared environment
    • The platform teaches students to write concisely
    • Students learn to share
    • Twitter keeps students engaged

    What is Celly?

    One way to use the Twitter-based platform effectively is through the use of “Celly”, an anonymous version of Twitter. The purpose of Celly is to bring teachers, students and parents together on a collaborative platform.

    According to the company, Celly turns classrooms, teams, and school districts into safe, private communication networks. Schools around the world are using Celly for a variety of scenarios including after-school homework help, classroom mentoring, and parent-teacher collaboration. Celly is used an education by more then 1 million of the above with the purpose of serving as a meeting place for questions and the exchange of ideas. Most importantly, according to testimonials, it encourages students to reach out to their teachers.

    So get started

    The first step down this road for a teacher is to build a Twitter page and join the online professional learning community.

    Teachers can then learn how to use Twitter in the classroom and encourage fellow educators to use Twitter as an educational and collaborative tool.

    In less than 140 characters: Sign up for a course on how to best utilize Twitter in your classroom.