Some teachers may shy away from social networking in the classroom, but the fact is that developing a creative curriculum is depending more and more on optimizing technology. Consistent utilization of educational technology can foster innovation and communication skills within your classroom, and Twitter has proven to be a key platform in this toolkit.
While it may be easy to separate Twitter as a social media forum, the platform has become a jumping-off point to encourage collaboration amongst educators around the world. Edudemic notes that Twitter is a positive place to both learn and consume. Teachers can follow other educators, follow education trends, and keep up-to-date on the latest news, while also sharing their own learning strategies, asking questions, and stimulating conversation. Furthermore, Scholastic points out that Twitter is a giant professional learning network in which educators can get involved outside of their classrooms on a regional, national, and global level.
Twitter is an excellent resource for teachers both due to its versatility and omnipresence. Twitter states that it has over 271 million active users worldwide and that over 500 million tweets are sent each day. Moreover, 78 percent of users are active on mobile devices, making it an ideal application for teachers on the go. While Twitter overall can be a rather complex system, setting up a profile and getting started is rather simple, making it a great first application for educators who are still trying to learn the ins and outs of a fully blended curriculum. Educators can also choose how engaged they would like to be on Twitter. For some, it may be easy to start out following a few colleagues, administrators, and thought leaders in education to stay well informed. However, once you become more comfortable with the system, it’s easy to get involved in the discussion and take a more active approach.
Twitter also allows users to categorize content based on their preferences. Teachers can divide content up into different feeds based on hashtags or users to only seek out specific resources. For educators, Twitter can then serve as a networking resource, personal and professional development tool, and means of collaboration.
Forming a Professional Learning Network
Creating a PLN on Twitter requires a certain amount of dedication. Teachers don’t necessarily have to be glued to the platform, but Twitter is a resource in which you only get out as much as you put in. The main key is to be active by starting conversations with other users. Author thoughtful tweets, share relevant news, and contribute to a wide range of chats. Twitter is an open source platform, so you can reach more people with it than you can with social media forums such as Facebook. Consider investing a small amount of time each day or several days a week to use Twitter as a means of learning about Ed Tech innovations, catching up on field-specific chats, and asking questions.
Furthermore, once an educator is confident using Twitter individually, this platform can be introduced into the classroom as a student learning resource.