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Monday, April 30, 2012

Twitter for Educators--Potential for the Exponential

First of all, let me clarify something up front. You do NOT have to be on Twitter to be an excellent educator.  I repeat, you do not have to be on Twitter to be an excellent educator. 

However, you might find there is merit in this tool. It can take you places you never imagined. It has the 'potential for the exponential.' I see it as my whenever-I-need-it-or-have-time PLN or Personal Learning Network. I never even gave a passing thought to Twitter until I tried it out just for the halibut. Yes, they travel in schools, and I was hooked in a short amount of time. 

I'll show you two levels of access to this—one without having a twitter account & one with a twitter account.

Without a twitter account:
browse and find resources, ideas with HASHTAGS

  Image credit:

1. Open these links and find some hashtags that apply to your area(s) of education.
Subject specific Hashtags (scroll down a bit)

A hashtag is a topic headline; a category if you will. 

Some hashtags that I recommend:
#edcamp  #edcampomaha  #edcampkc  #edukc (just getting started)
#cpchat  (connected principal chat)
#suptchat (superintendent chat)

#elemchat      #1stchat    #2ndchat   #3rdchat   #4thchat     #5thchat    #midleved

#edtech  (ed technology)
#edapp  (edu apps)
#scichat  (science teacher chat)
#sschat  (ss teacher chat)
#mathchat  #engchat  #artsed #musedchat  #STEM  #PEgeeks

#commoncore   #pblchat (project based learning chat)

2. Now, go to (type in 1 hashtag) or (pick 2x3 grid and type in bunch of hashtags!)
Type in hashtags of your choice and see what you find. Click around. Open links. Save them to bookmarks or to my favorite, EVERNOTE

You can find so much this way, by mining from hashtag posts! I started seeing blogs and thinking about doing one myself. What do I have to say, I though to myself?  I saw 'papers' like this one: Learning Technology Paper (content curation on topics). I found amazing websites and APPS I would not have learned of otherwise.

3. You can even START your own hashtag or make a fun/silly one like the kids do. Let's start one- #NKCSedu and for our state #MOedu (I can post helpful twitter resources there and answer questions. All you have to do is type in the hashtage #NKCSedu and I'll see it since I monitor it.) 

Give this a try for a a few weeks. No pressure. When I started I didn't do much with it for over a month. I watched and dabbled. Wasn't sure about how to post; afraid of doing it wrong. Then I made some KC connections and found out about the #edcamp movement. Now it is something I access daily and rely on for help, support, ideas, and FUN.

If you want to contact someone about an idea or link you found through hashtags, then you will want to open a twitter account. Read on.

With a twitter account:
browse and find resources, ideas with HASHTAGS PLUS make connections with educators and share/interact/collaborate/build; POTENTIAL for the EXPONENTIAL
1. Skim through these 3 blogposts. Great resources for starting w/Twitter account:  
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR TWITTER and get started!   @justintarte Open it! (See list of pple to follow)
Hashtag PD @pattigrayson 

2. Go here: Fill in full name, email, & password and click 'signup for Twitter.' Next screen will generate possible Username (aka HANDLE--mine is @lauragilchrist4). You may have to play with it to figure out one that is not being used. Then you'll need to confirm your account in the email Twitter sends. (YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR HANDLE later if you don't like it! I did that.)

---Public (recommended if you want to make connections/build) or Private (fine but limits you; great way to start if unsure)
---Choose a profile picture and write a short bio. (I don't follow people with no bio--can't tell if they're an educator.)

4. START FOLLOWING EDUCATORS. The way I found followers is to look through 'following' lists of those who tweeted edu-gold. Feel free to look through my FOLLOWING list, find bios that match what you need, and click 'FOLLOW' for any of them. I've found principal tweets are often full of gold, so I follow lots of principals. The tweets from those you are following show up in your

Later, you can use or to monitor multiple hashtags, or to monitor the tweets of LISTS of people you've made. I use tweetdeck.

KC Area people I know who are solid edtweeters: 
@kylepace  @stevejmoore  @jamesbrauer (nkcs)  @nashworld

GOOD LUCK and please Direct Message me (under person icon, click 'direct messages.') or tweet directly to me (@lauragilchrist4) and I'll respond. Start using #NKCSedu hashtag or #MOedu hashtag when you find cool stuff to share. This puts it out to a wider but more targeted edu-audience. Once you have a Twitter account, you can use hashtags to quickly get help and assistance from people like you that teach, say 5th grade or middle school SS. Powerful PLN or personal learning network.

Look this state hashtag up: #nyed  #njed    School Prof Dev  #rmsprofdev 

                                      My Twitter Story: Potential for the Exponential
When I started 5 months ago, I got an account, followed 2 educators and then followed a bunch of their followers. Oh yes, and I knew nothing of hashtags. I started by looking at the posts of the people I followed and I started finding AMAZING stuff. I found BLOGS, and I found WIKIS and I found.....a ton of things I knew little about. Blew my mind a bit and felt energized by it; wanted to learn about it and take part.

When I was ready to start tweeting educationally myself, I was apprehensive about it. What if I format it 'wrong?' Wait, what is my edu-voice? What do I have to say to the world anyway?'

I made some KC area Twitter connections with @kylepace and @stevejmoore. We met up and talked shop in Blue Springs. I learned about #edcamps and lots more, and I had fun talking shop!  My school walls were opening up and my room was getting bigger. Kyle is the organizer of #edcampkc, now ready for its 3rd year on Nov. 10th, 2012. I'll be helping and attending and encourage you to attend. Anyway, I knew nothing about edcamps (unconferences) before I met up with Kyle and Steve. Got curious and looked up other edcamps. So many? Who knew! BAM, found one in Omaha and I signed up and went. At #edcampomaha I was a presenter in two sessions. Didn't know I was going to be, but signed up to present thanks to @mrp_teacher! Can't tell you how many MORE amazing people I met in Omaha and got to know and learn from. (@mrbadura @tbbrown @matt_gomez @j_allen @jhox1 @barbinnebraska @ppleaejalej @coachsautter @tgwynn @mrskmpeters @mrmacnology and many more) 
Working on plans to go to #edcampdallas and #edcampstl in the future.

EDCAMP INFO (UNconference!) I like this kind of PD and our district is working in this direction.
My #edcampomaha blogpost  great video on edcamps; short and sweet

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for all of your insight today :)

    amanda watters, northgate middle school english teacher