TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers Resources

Twitter is more than just a way to share meaningless tweets about your breakfast cereal or the traffic on the way to school. Who has time for that? 

For teachers, Twitter can be a powerful tool for professional development via quick sharing with peers and colleagues whom you may or may not know face to face. Imagine running across other teachers who teach the same things you do and exchanging ideas quickly, just when you need them. Imagine putting out a plea for help and finding others willing to suggest a solution. Imagine sharing the cool finds you have discovered on TeachersFirst or a great way to make dictionary skills engaging in your classroom. We all know the best tidbits are from other teachers, and Twitter gives you a way to create a network to constantly learn.

Twitter can also be an effective way to communicate from your class to other classrooms around the globe. If Twitter is accessible inside your school's filtering, your class Twitter account can be an avenue to interact with classrooms across town or across the world. Share tweets about today's news, environmental data, hot topic opinions, and more using hashtags, mentions, or messages. *A tip from Texas teacher Allison: If you work with English language learners, you will want to avoid some common tweet-shortening abbreviations, such as using gr8 to mean great. Non-native speakers do not easily grasp these abbreviations.*

You do not have to know everything about Twitter to get started. Start out with this video for an overview of Twitter. Set up a Twitter account, and follow @teachersfirst to find other TeachersFirst enthusiasts. You can even follow Geo and Meri of Globetracker's Mission to become familiar with how Twitter works. You can access Twitter on their own web site or use one of the many free Twitter sharing tools available for free download. There are many Twitter tools for mobile devices, also free. But you don't need to worry about any of these to start.

Hashtags (those funny looking things with a #pound sign at the start) are a way of indicating that a tweet pertains to a certain topic or a certain interest group/event. The term hashtag refers to the funny # mark. To see what a hashtag does, try searching for one of these education-specific hashtags on Twitter (or watch them flying by in the little "widget" below. Try to figure out what each specialty is: #edchat, #ntchat, #ptchat, #midleved, #gtchat, #edtech, #artsed, #musedchat, #mathchat, #engchat, #EduIT. This is a good way to find people with common interests so you can FOLLOW them. Send a tweet including your favorite hashtag, telling people you are new to Twitter. Teachers who have searches set up for that hashtag will see your message, and you will receive a warm welcome!

For an easy way to get started, try Across the World Once a Week, a simple way to learn about the details of daily life in other cultures. The #xw1w hashtag pulls the weekly question and responses together in a quick Twitter search. Learn more about it here

This collection of resources will give you some ideas and places to find other educators using Twitter and some of the various other tools that maximize Twitter's power for specific sharing, such as photos. We even have some reviews of Twitter-alternatives for those who prefer to stay in an education-only network. We have listed our top 30 Editor's Choice. View additional Twitter Resources here

Set up a Twitter account, follow @teachersfirst, and we'll send you a tweet!

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Twiducate - Twiducate

Grades
2 to 12
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Innovate the way you and your students communicate about their education! Twiducate is a private social media platform for networking and collaborating. Use Twiducate to create a microblogging...more
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Innovate the way you and your students communicate about their education! Twiducate is a private social media platform for networking and collaborating. Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes without venturing into the more complex public interaction programs like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Sign up with email and start creating "teams" and entering students. You can have three teams and as many students as you want. Students can be on multiple teams. An elementary classroom can have a team for three different subject areas, math or reading levels, special projects, and so on; split upper grades into content or project groups, or whatever groups you need. Students use a class code rather than sign up with email. Add other teachers, too! Once you have signed up, you will receive four emails from Twiducate to help you get started by giving you some basic training and tips. Select your Teacher Controls for posts on your profile page.

tag(s): communication (135), microblogging (25), social networking (80), twitter (37)

In the Classroom

After signing up for Twiducate, manage many options through your dashboard by selecting to open a class. The options include adding students, entering bookmarks to share with students, viewing the public timeline (you may find a teacher to collaborate and share with), and creating more classes. Students do not need to register themselves and are added in through the I.D the teacher provides them. As students are added, a password is generated for them.

Use this safe, private, closed system to blog and network in your classes. Students are able to access this site outside of school and collaborate there as well. Invite parents into this network and let them see what is going on. Teachers are able to moderate all posts and remove any unwanted posts. Consider printing the screen of student names and passwords for a hard copy in order to access the information. Be sure to discuss rules of etiquette for posting and commenting in order to teach students effective use of these types of services. Be sure to include actions for broken rules. Check your school policies about using such a resource and whether special permission slips may be required.

The possibilities for using Twiducate are endless! Here are just a few: Use for posting homework assignments. Share and publish bookmarks for students to use. Respond to students trying to get test dates and other assignments changed! Collaborate among small or large groups. Create study groups for review and learning of information. Use short time information gathering more effectively: Assign every two students a concept to research and share learning with the rest of the class for discussion. How can you be sure that each student has completed work? Have them blog their information through Twiducate. Watching a movie that requires students to answer questions? Embed prepared questions throughout the movie using playposit, reviewed here, and then post the movie to Twiducate. Ask students to respond to pre and post discussion questions about the movie on Twiducate (perfect for flipped or blended classrooms!). Allow students the ability to blog their reactions to documentaries and work together for understanding. During poetry month, have students do oral poetry reading while others microblog their reactions to the poem as they listen. Share weekly links and comments about current events via Twiducate. If you are willing to risk it, invite students to microblog questions and reactions to teacher and student presentations in progress. Suddenly listening is an active endeavor! Provide this resource for groups to collaborate in and out of class and offer options for learning at any time.

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Video: Twitter in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
5 to 12
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Are you "twying" to understand the "tweet" world of Twitter. Watch this short (less than 3-minutes) video about the "Twerrific" world of Twitter. This social networking site asks the...more
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Are you "twying" to understand the "tweet" world of Twitter. Watch this short (less than 3-minutes) video about the "Twerrific" world of Twitter. This social networking site asks the question, "What are you doing?". This site shares how to use Twitter to stay connected. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (38), social networking (80), twitter (37)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for professional development and further understanding of the current microblogging "twend": Twitter. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use Twitter in the Classroom (with parental permission). Have students create writing prompts and share them on Twitter. Have your government students follow the "Twitter News" of politicians they can find on Twitter. Have students in science class follow the Twitter Feeds like Science News. Challenge students to create their own virtual collective Twitter scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless! You can also use Twitter as a springboard for discussions about the changes in the political landscape and society with the advent of social networking tools. Ask them: are there any negatives or cautions to sharing your life on Twitter?

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