Powerful Learning Practice is passionate about transforming education in the 21st century. We believe in helping educators create a strong network (PLN) where their voice and ideas can be shared. When you set out to create a strong PLN, one of the easiest (and most productive) platforms is Twitter.  With Twitter, you can quickly share an idea or ask for a suggestion in a matter of seconds.  The video below (created by Common Craft) provides a good introduction:

Like all social networking tools, how you decide to use Twitter is entirely up to you!  For example, some educators choose to reserve Facebook for the sharing of personal information and pictures with only close friends and family. On the other hand, for many educators, Twitter is the place to share and exchange professional information and pictures. Some folks choose to sync the two platforms so that when a post is made on Facebook it will automatically be added to their Twitter page (and/or vice versa).

Regardless of your preference, we encourage you to start using Twitter today (if you aren’t already).  PLPeeps and others want to celebrate in your success, learn from your mistakes and become inspired with how you are forging ahead and making a difference. We want you to be comfortable in the self-promoting and sharing of your hard work and that of your students!

To help you leverage your 140 characters and make the most of your time, here are a few tips and tricks:

1. Create a username that will make it easy for others to find you (i.e. plpnetwork instead of P123L5Pcdyp)

  • Usernames can be changed (w/o loss of data,) but it’s better to stick with one from the beginning so you don’t confuse your followers.
  • If you choose something short, it will make it easier for others to retweet your posts.

2. Add a photo and information to your profile.

  • People are more likely to follow you if you have a photo, information about who you are and a few tweets.

3. Use Twitter to keep abreast of who and what’s trending in education

  • Look at who these people are following (chances are you will also be interested in who they are following)

4. Not everyone you follow, will follow you back.  Don’t take it personally.

  • Ready for people to follow you?  Let people know you are on Twitter and ask them to follow you.
  • Add your information to this PLP Twitter List (Google Doc) to entice people to start following you

5. Challenge, expand and share your professional philosophies and pedagogies.

  • Ann S. Michaelsen (@annmic) recently posted a blog in which she stated “If you only listen to people you agree with you will not go far! If you do not promote your own work or that of others, we will continue to listen to the same voices.”

6. Let’s face it; sometimes 140 characters are not enough.

  • If you have a blog or web link that can add additional information to your tweet, use sites like https://bitly.com/ and http://goo.gl/ to shorten the URLs. Research suggests that tweets w/ links get more attention.

7. Recommend educational resources

  • Think about sharing your favorite blogs, Web 2.0 tools, books, online interactives, classroom activities, etc.

8. Find and enter contests to win free prizes

  • Many individuals and companies will announce contests for free webinars, books, computers and more on Twitter.  Keep an eye out, as most only require tweeting something out about the contest to be entered

9. Download the Twitter mobile app, so you can tweet whenever you are inspired

10. When you see a post you want to share with others, click Retweet or post RT @person’sname (i.e. RT @plpnetwork)Retweet

 

 

 

11. Don’t be afraid to miss a post. Twitter is open 24/7 and it’s impossible to see everything.

  • Programs like TweetDeck and HootSuite make it easier to filter and manage the people you are following. And they shorten URLs for you!

12. Set aside time each day for reviewing posts and adding new information.  

  • Many educators find it easier to do it at the same time so it becomes part of your daily routine.

13. When you are first starting to use Twitter, it’s ok to lurk. 

  • But don’t wait to long before you add your first tweet!

14. Want to know more about Twitter? 

  • Sue Waters created a comprehensive blog on getting started with Twitter


In our upcoming issues of this Twitter blog series, we’ll discuss hashtags, hashtag chats, and ideas for using Twitter in the classroom! Want to see another Twitter topic discussed? Please leave a comment below!

About the author
Christen Dodd is Director of eLearning for Powerful Learning Practice. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instructionat the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. Read more about Christen