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The power of #
I tweet—sort of—mostly I just flitter around on Twitter and see what other people are doing. Admittedly, I am not very good at Twitter, but it’s something that I believe is a good tool, and I have plans this summer to work harder at using it effectively.
If you’re on Twitter—or even if you’re not but want to get started—it’s worth it to take a look at some of the incredible ways that you can use it to improve teaching and learning.
Trust me, I started sloooowwww and with a # to help guide me in figuring out who to follow and how to use it. A hastag (#) is a way to indicate a specific topic on Twitter. It’s a searchable tag that allows other users to find people talking about their interests.
I started with #tlchat (teacher librarian chat), and I can't adequately describe to you how the power of that one little hashtag has changed my outlook on my job and has helped to connect me with a network of people from all over the country who are passionate about their careers. The wealth of knowledge available and the number of ideas that are shared are almost overwhelming!
So, what are the hashtags? Google “Twitter Education hastags” and you’ll get—no lie– over 2 million results. Some to start with, according to Edudemic “The 2012 A-Z List of Educational Twitter Hashtags” are:
· #edchat—educational chat from all over the US and World, lots of people use this!
· #kinderchat—related to kindergarten
· #edtech—I like this one, it relates to technology in education and you can usually get a lot of links and ideas
· #edapp—educational app suggestions for those of you with iPads
· #scichat– science
· #spedchat—Special Ed
· #flipclass—Flipped Classroom
· #SSchat—Social Studies
The list literally goes on and on, and there is a hashtag for each grade level, and you’ll even find them for administrators, counselors and AP classes.
One of the things that I have discovered and am loving is that educational groups often meet to have live Twitter chats using these hashtags. I have only participated in three so far, but I look forward to continuing discussion in the future. If you use Twitter often and if you search the hastags, you’ll find that you’ll start seeing people post about when these chats are going to be. If you’re not on Twitter often, you can check The Educational Twitter Chats Calendar to see if your content area will be chatting any time soon. This is a great way to find people to follow and to also find out what current trends are and what resources people are using. I have found topics to be timely and relevant to my own needs, and have discovered many fascinating professionals this way!
Need more info? Check out this 10 minute videos: Twitter for Teachers on Edudemic—or email me and we’ll figure it out together
How to search Twitter
If you’re new to Twitter, start by searching for the hashtags either on your phone’s app or on the Twitter web page.
To do that, just click in the search box at the top of the page and type in # and the education hashtag of your choice.
This is the basic way to follow a chat as well. If you see that there is going to be a chat soon, you can simply type in the hashtag at the specified time and watch the chat develop. If you want to check it out, there’s an #edchat every Tuesday afternoon from 12-1 and again on Tuesday evening at 7. Often, someone will post a link on Twitter for an archive of the chat, that way you don’t miss anything if it’s going too fast.
If you find someone you want to follow this way, just click on their post, and using the app, click the picture of the icon that has the bird and + sign.
Summer is the perfect time to learn about Edmodo
This is year was the first year I really dabbled with Edmodo. Edmodo is a social media learning platform that I used in the library as a place for third graders to share research and post about books they’ve been reading.
While the kids were really excited to give it a try—and some of them use it on their own—I would say that I have a long way to go to unlock the full potential.
The site is an excellent platform for flipping your class, extending discussion or for the trending “Gamification” by allowing you to assign badges to students for completing tasks. There are also a wide range of applications available for purchase and for free, in addition to a plethora of resources to explore through the Discover Icon.
As with many forms of technology, I think one of the best ways to learn how to use Edmodo is to jump in and play around with it and then of course share! And, the great part is, we can use Edmodo to learn and share together.
To do this, follow this Group Link for a PLN class I created (Professional Learning Network) and if you haven’t already, create a free teacher account on Edmodo and we’ll begin learning together.
I’ve already got a how to article posted that will help us get started making connections with other teachers.
Email me if you need help!