The thing about Twitter is that it can be very overwhelming. There is so much information that is available and it is very easy to get lost/distracted by the various bits of information that have to be processed by your brain. However, even with the magnitude of information available, I still find that Twitter is a useful way to connect with others who teach the same subject as you do. Also, Twitter allows me to find links to great resources for my students and my lesson plans. There is always some kernel of information that changes the way that I present the lesson to students or that allows me to add a piece of the lesson that wouldn't have been there before. I am sold on Twitter!
I had never had a Twitter account - or even thought about getting one - before I took my first edtech class. I was quite reluctant to use it or even consider its possible uses for education; however, I now believe it is an extraordinarily useful tool for teachers. The main strength I see is in its ability to connect educators - like-minded, same-subject, or otherwise - and provide a platform to engage in discussions and share resources in a broad-reaching way. I agree with Hilary in the sense that Twitter IS overwhelming, and, as we discussed in class, I do agree that you have to go into using it accepting that you take bite-size pieces and apply what you can. The amount of resources that teachers generously share, though, makes it worth spending about 15 to 20 minutes of time perusing. The drawback to new educators to Twitter, though, is not having a strong enough network from which to draw those resources. If I didn't have someone guiding me, or telling me who to follow or what to do, the overwhelming factor would be even greater. Nonetheless, I believe Twitter has a place in education, but as with any digital tool, it needs to be used professionally and appropriately to reap the most benefit.
Hilary and Lenny - you both make valid points! I have never used Twitter...personally or professionally and I will be honest, it kind of scares me! However, after talking about it in class last week, watching this video, and reading your comments, it sounds like it really can be a great tool when used in the right and appropriate manner. I know of some teachers that use Facebook in their classes as a way for students to communicate and reflect on assignments. It is a private group and tightly controlled by the teacher. Hilary - I like how you mentioned that Twitter opens you up to information that changes how you present lessons. Sometimes it only takes a small change to really reach a student. And sometimes when I find a new way to teach a lesson I am shocked it took me that long to discover it! Sounds like I will be using Twitter to network and enhance my teaching!
I was also a very hesitant Twitter user at first, but as soon as I jumped into it and let myself get overwhelmed, I surfaced a thankful participant. It's motivating to know that there is a community of educators out there who are willing to share resources, tips, and support. It's also a great place to explore for finding out about what others are doing and about new tech tools that we might want to try out or implement. I still don't think that I would have a personal twitter separate from my professional one, but I value what it's brought to my job - it's knocked down walls to expand my world of educational resources and colleagues. It's a great place to connect and collaborate. I have a goal to start a classroom account with my students next year, as a way to reach parents at a greater level.
I opened my first twitter account less than a year ago, for the purpose of my edtech course. I do agree that it is overwhelming, but it has been interesting to watch my PLN grow. I've made connections with people and companies, I wouldn't have ever come across. I've taken part in a couple of twitter chats, and it's amazing to see how dedicated and willing other educators are to share their lessons and experience. The knowledge base that's available is amazing; there is a support and resources for every subject. It is difficult to get started, but this is a great video to help newcomers dive in and explore the twitterverse. I needed guidance to ease my way in, so if you're new to twitter, I'd recommend having watching this video and finding out how to take part in a chat. Right now, I still consider myself new to twitter and I do find it challenging to keep up with my account, but the potential of improving my practice, by growing my PLN, makes it worth it to continue my efforts.
During a previous Education Technology course it was recommended that we create Twitter accounts. I was so nervous joining Twitter because I had tried to follow along with some people's twitter accounts before and had gotten very confused. I also at that point did not realize what a great resource Twitter was for educators. Once I joined Twitter I began to use Hootsuite to manage my feeds and found that I began to have more success understanding Twitter and how it works. I feel like it is easy to log in and look and see who has tweeted and read their tweets. When using Twitter early on you will realize that it is not possible to read every tweet that every person your following makes. I usually scan my tweets by using certain hashtags and will go to specific people I follow if I want to look at more closely at what they are tweeting. One of the most beneficial aspects of Twitter as an educator is being able to be a part of Twitter chats. There is so much professional development and learning that can happen in a thirty to fourty five minute chat. I would recommend Twitter to any educator!
I took an ornithology class as an elective in college. My professor required us to have a Twitter account strictly for the purpose of tweeting about bird sightings. Unfortunately, this experience completely turned me off of Twitter because that is all I associated with it. I wrote it off as the latest social media fad and didn't bother to investigate the potential it has as an educational resource.
I definitely agree that without proper guidance, it could be overwhelming. Last year, I took Educational Research with Professor Artz who swears by Twitter as an educational resource and highly recommends the educational chats that you can join. After sitting in on a chat with her, I was amazed by the extent of her professional network and the collaborative process taking place among educators all over the world. I had put Twitter on my list of things "to do", but never seemed to get around to it. I'm excited to be taking this course as I know it will force me to use Twitter. It seems like a great resource for inspiration to improve professional practice.
Like most other educators, I was skeptical about using Twitter in a professional manner. We often hear about social media and teachers as horror stories of scandal and things gone wrong, but that is clearly something that is changing. Twitter has revolutionized professional development and collaboration. Last semester, I was very nervous about participating in Twitter chats and would frequently just watch what other people were saying without chiming in. Watching chats alone ended up being very informative and helpful, but it wasn't until I joined in that I started to feel confident about using Twitter. I started to see that I had contributions to make and how much networking could be done via social media. Twitter chats also made me proud of what I have done in the classroom, and I wanted to share my ideas with other teachers. So many amazing teachers use Twitter and technology in different ways it can be overwhelming that there is so much to learn, but you just have to start looking. It helps to have someone to guide you, but once you find the right people and resources you will be surprised how much there is to learn. I don't use Twitter with my students, most of them do not want to follow me or want me to see what they post (my Twitter handle is on my white board... zero students follow me), but I find it more useful for professional development rather than an authentic way to engage students at this point.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.