Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 Effective Ways Tweeting Helps in the Classroom

Are you always on the hunt for new ideas to implement in the classroom? Want to keep up with the latest trends, news and happenings in education? Twitter can be an excellent tool to communicate with fellow educators and professionals in the field. If you're still wondering... "What is Twitter?" Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, and frequent messages. People write short updates, often called "tweets" of 140 characters or fewer. These messages are posted to your profile, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search. Teachers are on Twitter every minute of every day. There are daily hashtag chats where educators from around the globe collaborate, share interesting tidbits, and make lifelong connections never before possible. But before you write off Twitter as just another social media "FAD," take a look at these top 5 ways Twitter can enrich the classroom.

1. INSPIRATION

Twitter gives you a global network of educators at your fingertips. They can push your thinking, challenge you, and share wonderful ideas to help you when you're staring at a blank planning sheet, wondering what you're going to do next week. One teacher wrote, "I am connected to my teaching community.  Reading these tweets every morning always gives me something to think about, a new idea to try or a great resource to check out."


2. REFLECTION

As an educator, you draw conclusions everyday from your experiences in the classroom. Through Twitter, you can look back on what you've done in the past and where you need to go in future planning.  Educational Twitter chats bring together loads of critical thinkers and problem solvers that are ready to help fellow teachers share what works and what doesn't work in the classroom.  Twitter helps you to take a step back and reflect on where you need take that next step.

3. CONTRIBUTION

Teachers need each other more now than perhaps any other time. If you find interesting things on Twitter, such as great lesson plans, don’t forget to share your awesome resources. As the saying goes ‘get what you give’ the more you feed into the community, the more it will grow and become useful to you.

4. CONNECTION

We found this video of Carlene Hamley's Kindergarten class from Shekou International School using a class Twitter account to enhance their classroom discussions, make connections around the world and use during their daily writing workshop sessions. We think this is incredible and hope it spreads to more classrooms around the globe!

 


5. COLLABORATION

Through twitter communities like #edchat, #kinderchat, etc.., you can collaborate with other teachers to explore new tech tools and examine ideas from new perspectives. By using educational hashtags you can connect with educators in your state, neighboring state or nation-wide.
This coming Tuesday 09/23/14 at 9:00 pm EST, our Friend of ESGI Heidi Butkus will be guest hosting the #teacherfriends Twitter Chat. #Teacherfriends was created by Debbie Clement, who wanted to connect "new to Twitter teachers" with others and familiarize everyone with the power of the Twitter network. ESGI is an official sponsor of #teacherfriends and will be giving away 1 free year of ESGI Software on the 23rd as well as many other chats they have going forward!

There really is no question to whether or not you should join Twitter, it is more of how to access it to the full extent. There are so many resources available to support the next step. Twitter may not change your life, but it might make your job more fun and a little easier. Jump In!