I am new to Twitter. I’m also new to motherhood. The Twitter thing developed as a result of me sitting down and feeding my baby multiple times a day. Now when I breastfeed (purists my gasp in disapproval) I alternate between looking lovingly at my baby and curiously at my computer screen.
I’m writing to all you educators who haven’t yet tweeted. Reluctance held me back for a long time and I don’t want you to miss out on what I had been missing out on simply because you are plagued by the same misconceptions I was before I became a Tweeter. Allow me to clarify:
- Other than my Masters degree, Twitter might be the best pro-d I have ever had. When you use Tweetdeck or something similar like Hootsuite (which I have not yet checked out) you can get tweets from anyone as long as they are discussing something that interests you (more on Tweetdeck below). This feature means that you can glean morsels of wisdom from anyone in the world who cares to share their thinking with the Twitter world. And the great thing is that A LOT of smart people tweet their smart thoughts on a regular basis. People tweet links to studies, articles, ideas, blogs posts, lesson plans, slideshows, and how-to plans.
- If it weren’t for Twitter I wouldn’t know about flipped classrooms, Alfie Kohn’s “Beyond Discipline”, an education technology conference that took place and which I was then able to attend remotely, ideas for infographics lessons, LiveBinder, a Cleaner YouTube, and digital portfolio possibilities.
- Twitter discussions get deep. On any given night you can bet that people are getting together at an arranged time to Tweet on a certain topic. Within my first week of using Twitter, I participated in a Twitter chat with British Columbia’s Minister of Education George Abbott and joined a weekly professional book club chat. I held some skepticism about just how much I could get out of a conversation that flows like a river in 140 character length bursts, but it proved to be an enlightening experience. The character limit forces people to be concise – a welcome difference from many face-to-face discussions where participants sometimes communicate their passion with verbosity.
- If I ask a question, I get a lot of answers – almost immediately. The Education Twitter community is generous with its thinking and knowledge. I’ve also found it one of the least judgmental places to seek out understanding. People of all levels and experience are online so the adage holds firm: no question is a stupid question.
- I don’t have to be chained to my computer to find value in Twitter. Some teachers believe, as I did, that I’d have to spend too much time online, staring at a computer screen and forsaking my “real” life in order to participate. Not true. I can log in to Tweetdeck for five minutes and learn something of interest and value that provokes my thinking.
If anything I’ve mentioned above sounds even remotely intriguing to you, get on Twitter and find out for yourself. And if you have any questions, Tweet me at @bmooreintheloop. I’d love to hear from you.
PS: Tweetdeck is like an organizer for tweets. It organizes people’s tweets in columns. You can have all tweets on a certain topic come in one column and all tweets on another topic come under another column. For example, I have a column that gets all tweets about education and another column that gets all tweets about teaching English. Topics are organized around hashtags. The hashtag for the education tweets is #edchat and the hashtag for the English tweets is #engchat. See? If someone I am not “following” adds one of those hashtags to their message, I’ll get it in its column. Tweetdeck has made Twitter’s process make sense to me.