Twitter Tips for Teachers

13 May, 2014

I've been on Pinterest and Facebook for quite a while, and have felt very comfortable with both. Twitter, on the other hand, has been a bit of an enigma to me. The functionality of Twitter is a bit different, and in my circle of friends, there just aren't that many people on Twitter.

Over the last few months, I've schooled myself in the ways of Twitter. I'm going to blog my suggestions about why and how to use Twitter as a teacher.

Twitter tips for teachers: Hashtags to use, chats to join, and more!

First of all, why tweet?

We are all busy people just dealing with everyday life. If you have time, you may like to sit down and relax by looking at your Facebook feed, reading teacher blogs, and/or pinning on Pinterest. Twitter just seems like one more thing to add to our to-do list. Why do it?

This is a question I asked myself for quite a while. Without any answers, I stayed off of Twitter. But out of curiosity, I came back to Twitter (@aileenmiracle), and finally found a few answers.

#1 reason to use Twitter: Entertainment
I'm not necessarily talking about educational tweets here. If you follow your favorite comedians, celebrities, etc., Twitter can be pretty entertaining! I especially love @uberfacts. Where else would I have learned that surgeons who listen to music during surgery perform better than those who don't (not surprising) or that people who blue eyes see better in the dark? It was from uberfacts that I learned how to download YouTube videos.

#2 reason to use Twitter: To keep up with current events
Want to see what people think of the latest news story, TV show, or presidential debate as it is happening? Type # and then the name of that event/show/channel and see what people are saying! Again, not exactly education-related, but interesting anyways!

#3 reason to use Twitter: To read and share interesting articles
If you find the right people to follow, you can find some very interesting educational articles to read and can share some that you have find. The people who follow you may not be people you know, but you can learn a lot from their tweets!

#4 reason to use Twitter: Connect with like-minded individuals
Whether you are connecting with other #kodaly teachers or with people who love the ipad in education at #ipaded, Twitter can be a great way to connect with people who think and teach like you! Along those lines...

#5 reason to use Twitter: Chat with like-minded individuals
There are often educational chats hosted on Twitter. I just joined my first at #musedchat and answered the question "What do you do during the spring/summer to ensure success for the next school year?" Currently, there is a weekly chat every Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern.

Did you notice that I didn't list "marketing" as a reason to use Twitter? That's because I've often read that you shouldn't market your products on Twitter. I'm sure a little here and there is fine (especially if they are freebies!) but check out this article for more advice about this. (And I don't think anyone is dumb for not following this rule--as the title of the article suggests--as I have broken a few of the rules discussed in this very article!)

How to use Twitter:
  • Make sure  to fill out your complete profile. If you are using Twitter as a teacher, put that into your profile so other teachers can follow you.
  • Follow people and companies interesting to you.
  • Find people to follow through friends. For example, I recently looked at the followers of Lindsay Jervis at @kodalyclassroom and Amy Abbott at @amyabbott75 and followed all those who were educators. As a result, many of those people followed me!
  • Use hashtags. This was a foreign concept to me and something I have often forgotten to do. Let's say you tweet about your latest blog post, or about an article you find interesting. At the end, categorize that tweet with a hashtag. For example, if the article is about Orff, put #orff at the end. If it is about educational technology, put #edtech at the end. You can also create hashtags (much like creating a fad!) For example, I recently created a hashtag for myself at #mrsmiraclesmusicroom. (For more educational hashtags, see this document.)
  • Use bitly to shorten links. With Twitter, brevity is key, so use to shorten the link to save characters.
  • If you find an article online that is interesting, look for the twitter icon to tweet it.
  • Retweet. If you find an interesting article or tweet on Twitter, look for the retweet icon and use it!
I'm sure there is more to Twitter than this (see this article for more advice), but these are my suggestions for the beginner. If you have any more Twitter suggestions, please comment below. Have a great day!

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