Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twitter for Teachers!

Tweet Tweet Tweet

For me, Twitter has been such an amazing tool for professional development and getting connected to teachers all across the world.  I'm always amazed by the quality of resources that are shared along with the speed in which the most current information is delivered.  Twitter is, by far, my favorite way to network with others.  I started my Twitter account in 2009 and didn't start using it until 2011.  I now couldn't imagine not using it!

Why Use Twitter?

Twitter is like Facebook on steroids.  If you can imagine the stream of posts that you read on Facebook, multiply that by 100.  Then, consider all of those posts to be of high quality content - related specifically to education.  Wow - what a resource!

Here is a wonderful post by Chris Betcher on the powerful benefits of Twitter for educators.  I hope that you take the four minutes or so to read it and click around on some of the provided links.  I couldn't have summarized the benefits any better.  Thanks, Chris for the wonderful resource!

What's the difference between Facebook and Twitter?

Keep in mind that this is simply my opinion...  I think that any blogger should use both for cross-posting their content updates.  Doing so simply reaches a larger audience.  Having stated that, if you decide to use Facebook professionally, I would set up a different page for your blog.  I have my personal Facebook account for friends and family; however, I've set up (on the same account) an additional page in which I post updates for my blog, Kleinspiration.  

I think that Facebook, for most teachers, is more popular.  I think Twitter has more potential, professionally, but includes a slight learning curve due to the language and manner in which to post and interact.  Once you get the hang of it, Twitter is addicting and powerful!  For me, Facebook is simply more personal and Twitter is more professional.

Twitter Basics:

Setting up an Account

It's free.  Click Here.  Follow the 'new to Twitter, sign up' steps.

Once you set up an account, write down your username and password in a safe place.

When you tell others your username, include the '@' symbol.  For example, my Twitter name is @mimadisonklein

How to send a Tweet (post)

Once you login, you will see your 'home page.'  You can Tweet (type a message) in the white box, under 'what's happening.'  Be careful, you can only type 140 characters (letters/symbols/spaces).  You can type anything you'd like.  Most often, if I find a good website, like Teaching Blog Addict, I would Tweet the following message:

Teaching Blog Addict: great site for teachers (tons of resources and give-aways)

Symbols and Such:

RT = ReTweet
if you like something someone else already posted, you can further pass along their tweet by hovering your mouse cursor over their message... you will see a 'retweet' option - click it

@ = address (in my mind) yes, it stands for 'at'
if you'd like to reply, or to address, someone, you use the @ symbol... for example, if you'd like to address me on Twitter, in the white box (under 'what's happening' on your homepage) you would write: @mimadisonklein followed by your message or comment -- then, when I click on my @Mentions (right beside Timeline on my homepage on the left side) I can see who all has addressed me specifically.  Then, I can directly reply to them if necessary.  So, check your @Mentions often to see if anyone has specifically addressed you or mentioned you. Keep in mind - these are public - anyone can view these!

# = Hashtag (yes, it's the pound or number sign)
For a Twitter newbie, there are 2 basic reasons to using a Hashtag.
1.  if you're at a conference, oftentimes they will offer a hashtag (use this to follow tweets specific to your conference)  usually everyone at your conference who is on twitter will be posting about sessions, give-aways, resources, etc...  
2.  if you'd like to join a specific chat, you will need to know the day of the week and the time of the chat and the hashtag being used (more about Twitter Chats below... keep reading)

How do I send a private message on Twitter?

If using the @ symbol to address someone in a reply ends up being public, how do I send someone a private message?  Simply send them a message... those are private.  Up top on your Twitter screen, you will notice: Home, Profile, Message, and Who to Follow  Simply select Message and follow the steps.  I often click on the person I wish to send a message to and then send a message from their profile page.  Once on their profile page, you'll notice an envelope below their bio.  Click it and another screen window will pop up for you to write your 140 character private message.

Twitter Chats:

Twitter chats are like online, live discussions.  There are certain chats that I really like and try to make it to, virtually.  Click Here for a list of Twitter Chats (times, hashtags to use, and days they occur).
Twitter Chats are usually an hour long.  The time goes quickly.  When you find a chat you're interested in attending, simply login to Twitter during that time.  In the 'search box,' you can search for that Twitter Chat by using the hashtag (#) followed by the title of the chat.  For example, search #ntchat after your Tweet... push enter and your message/post/Tweet will appear in that discussion.  

How to Build your PLN (professional learning network):

In order to get exposure for your Tweets, you need to build a following.  If no one is following you, no one will see your Tweets.  My recommendation is to select other teachers and people in education to follow.  Once you click follow on their profile, they will receive notification that you're following them.  It is good Twitter etiquette to follow people back.  After all, we're all working together to build a network and benefit education as a whole.  

How do you know who to follow?

First, if you are on Twitter and post about information that you think would benefit others in education, please leave a comment on this post with your Twitter name so that we can all start to follow you and build our network.

By clicking here, you can see my list of people I follow.  Feel free to start following them.  Also, click here to see a list that I set up for educators that tweet a lot of quality information; feel free to follow them, too.

When you first start to follow a lot of people, Twitter will 'cap' the number of people you can follow until you start to get more followers.  Once more people start to follow you, you will be able to start following more people.  Thus, I recommend starting off by carefully selecting quality people to follow.  You can see their bio so that you're able to determine if you think their tweets will be beneficial to your practice.  I recommend to follow as many people as possible... when you're capped by Twitter, wait until your followers grow in number, then start following more and more people.  Repeat this process often so that you always continue to grow your network.  The more people in your network, the more exposure you'll have for the Tweets you post.  

How does Twitter help my Blog?

When you post on your blog, Tweet the topic and the link to Twitter.  Your network can click on your link to connect to your blog - increasing your blog exposure.  You can sync your Twitter and your Blog so that each time you post a new item on your blog, a Tweet will automatically be sent via your Twitter account.  Click Here to see how to set this up, thanks Jerome.

Closing Thoughts:

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

If you'd like to add your Twitter name in a comment, others can add you to their PLN on Twitter.

I'd love to have you as a part of my Twitter PLN, please follow me at: @mimadisonklein


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Love Twitter and my PLN! Thanks for joining. This is me @jkpacelli

  3. Todd, could you add your Twitter id name so others can be sure to follow you?

    Jennifer, thanks! I'm happy to have you as a part of my PLN.

    I appreciate your comments Todd and Jennifer! :)



  4. Thanks Erin - Very helpful post - will be shared at school tomorrow. I just LOVE Twitter and am trying to encourage my fellow teachers to try it. I have built the most amazing PLN and made connections in education throughout the world using Twitter. This is me: @ICT_Integrator

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Love Twitter! Learning volumes and have 'met' some amazing people. I am @rondmac.

  7. Erin, great post! I'm not new to Twitter, but I will admit it was only recently that I fully realized how brilliant it is. Now I write books for teachers and YA readers and find that Twitter is a great way to stay in touch. My Twitter id is @ToddRTystad.

    (After correcting my comment sign-in faux pas, I'm now posting this comment via my regular Blogger account. Sorry for the confusion.)

  8. I thought this was a great post for teachers new to Twitter. Christine (@jhox1)

  9. Nice post, Erin. I'm doing a web tools for teachers workshop on Wednesday, and plan to start with twitter. I'm bookmarking this post to show participants to tag in their Delicious accounts, which is the second tool on the agenda. Thanks! (@Linda704 on Twitter)

  10. Thanks for sharing this Erin! I am not a current Twitter user, but am hoping to be in the near future when I have some time to sit down and get things started. This will hopefully get me on my way!

    ❤Mrs. McKown
    Little Literacy Learners

  11. What a great post that I'll use to sell other teachers on the benefits of Twitter! I'd love to have any of you follow me @BethEilers as I start on my teaching journey.

  12. I follow you on facebook and find this article on Twitter for teachers excellent! Thank you.


  13. Wow, Erin, this is really comprehensive! I agree fully with your opinion about facebook being personal and Twitter professional. I liked your other connections between the two that I hadn't thought of, like Twitter has a stream of facebook posts multiplied by 100. Your post is a great one to send newbies to, so I've added it to my Diigo Twitter folder, which has other good articles about how to use Twitter. The learning curve is steeper, so I use this folder a lot to help other newbies, as I was just six months ago. Here's a link for your readers too:

    I'm @mrsdkrebs on Twitter.

    Thanks again, for a great article,

  14. Erin-

    Thanks so much for this information-I just started using twitter this summer. I was just wondering the other day what RT stood for-Retweet! Thanks for bringing my brain back to life! :) I am still going through your links-you have done an awesome job!!!!


  15. Thanks for sharing this information,so helpful!! @ejordan48

  16. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I appreciate how you differentiated the difference between Facebook and Twitter. Overall, great post!

  17. Thanks, this was very helpful. Just starting out on Twitter - so needed these tips! @ICT_Educator

  18. Thank you! This is me!

  19. Hi Melanie - I now follow you! :)