Google+ Teachnology: Twitter for teachers, one month and tweeting...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Twitter for teachers, one month and tweeting...

I have been using twitter for just over a month now - I had previously used it on a personal level, sharing bits and pieces of nonsense with about 20-30 friends back in England, but never really got into it - why don't you just ring them up and tell them what the surf was like, or send a group text.....?  I never really thought of using twitter in education - as along with facebook, I had decided that they
were both dirty words and only useful for posting pictures of cats dancing and dogs singing, or videos of both.

So, after a bit of thought and hesitation I signed up for a twitter account to be used solely as a professional account, aiming to connect with other teachers around the world - this is called a PLN - Professional/Personal Learning Network.  I went berserk at the start and found myself following about 400 people I had never met before - just because they looked remotely interesting and they had something to do with education!  This clogged my twitter feed with way too much information, I hadn't got used to using lists and was mainly using twitter on my phone, so missed lots of relevant information from people who were posting relevant tweets.

About half the people I followed acted kindly and followed me back, even though I hadn't really posted anything worthwhile - I cunningly thought I was one step ahead of the game and set up a recipe on ifttt to post a tweet when I received a new follower that said 'Thanks for the follow - have a look at my blog....' I didn't realise that I was clogging everyone's feeds with my boring 'thanks for the follow' tweets.  Luckily  saved me from my spamming error and let me know of my twitter faux pas, ifttt recipe canceled and everyone happy.

I ended up trimming my twitter account down to about 300 people that were involved in education in New Zealand, or were PE teachers on a world wide scale.  There are far more teachers from the primary sector on twitter, and although the info they post is interesting I was more concerned with people teaching NCEA and any knowledge I could gleam from them.

Now when I check my feed I can see posts from teachers who are talking about teaching PE to secondary students or senior NCEA classes, or using technology in their teaching.  I have read so many interesting posts and managed to adapt some of them in my classes, I have also found some great resources and been in contact with the people who created them, and interacted with them on how to apply the ideas!

Another great way to connect and find the resources or ideas you are looking at is to use #hashtags, a couple of ones I like to use are #physedchat or #pechat, this can open lots of windows to different resources being used now in schools from the educators you follow, or people you should!

You could also ask a question to help you with your Te Kotahitanga goal or general teaching - 'Anyone have any methods of integrating #Literacy into #PE?' The use of hash tags allows more people to see, or search for it - and if you ask the question to (@) a person who has a large group of follows they may retweet it - allowing the potential of people who could answer your question almost be endless!  I was going to ask that question but I found out that a teacher in my PLN  had already done some work on it and had a few good responses.....Brilliant!

If you want to get really stuck in you could take part in a live ed chat - this is organised in advance and you usually fill in a quick questionnaire about what the topic could be, it is then like a virtual staff room, with people tweeting about the topics and sharing ideas.  I usually have a look in at  which is run by  and is on at 9pm Thurs.  I really enjoyed it and found it really inspirational to chat and collaborate with other passionate educators - this is what gave me the idea to try this at parent teacher evening!

Have a look at this for a list of educators in New Zealand who are using twitter as a PLN.

And this guide will help you with more of the nuts and bolts stuff!!

Good luck and don't forget to follow me!!! @NZTeachnology