I’m beginning to see the beauty of the Tweet. I know I’m a latecomer on this one. As much as I try to look like I belong in this digital world, I still can’t shake the digital immigrant in me.
A few years back I saw a great YouTube tutorial by Marc André Lalande on how Twitter works for teachers. It ended with giving a list of people and organizations that every teacher should follow. I jumped, I followed everyone on that list, but I only followed them into the shallow end of the Twitter pool.
I logged on @DeutscheKath and looked at my feed. All I saw there on my screen were profile pics and gobbledygook.
I remember bugging a Twitter pro at work. “I don’t get this whole #hashtag thing. And how are all these tweets supposed to help me? They all seem to be links to something else. Where do I reply? Where is the conversation?”
My colleague answered back with more Twitter-speak. He talked about feeds, favoriting, retweeting, and replies. I nodded my head and acted like I understood him. I still didn’t get it. He kept saying, “Once you get the hang of it, it’s addicting.”
Really? I don’t want to be addicted. I just want to figure out all this #stuff and #things. Is TinyURL a new edtech resource? If I follow someone, will the Followed be creeped out by this strange new hanger-on?
It has taken almost a year for me to figure out the inner workings of Twitter. I realized having a Tweet Deck made things more understandable and compartmentalized. Separating hashtag feeds helped me find the resources and conversations on education and expat life that I was after.
And at some point, I just decided to let go of trying to figure it all out at once. Learn by doing, right? I would tweet when I felt compelled to tweet; I posted when something interesting came across my feed that I thought would be helpful to other teachers or expats. I would tweet my blog hoping that a few people would click on the link and re-tweet if they felt so inclined.
Each week I gain a few followers, but I feel a bit like the Walt Whitman quote from Song of Myself. “I TWEET my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” I’m tweeting but is anyone listening?
Here are 5 Twitter users that every educator should follow:
Jackie Gerstein, Ed D (@jackiegerstein) She tweets excellent edtech resources as well as helpful research occurring in education.
Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) He is one of the co-founders of #edchat. He tweets on all kinds of edtech related issues and retweets other great educators and educator resources. He also hosts a Twitter discussion every week on various issues like: collaboration, assessment, BYOD, teacher observations, etc.
Edutopia (@edutopia) & Edudemic (@edudemic) Both are eMagazines written for and by teachers and other educational experts. Project based learning, edtech resources, and current issues in education are all found here. Their tweets are little reminders of more great things to try in your classroom or to affirm you in what you are currently working on in your classroom.
ActiveHistory.co.uk (@activehistory) Russel Tarr has created a wonderful history teaching resource on the web. It is packed full of games, simulations, and revision materials. His tweets are more international focused in that he is dealing with ESL, IGCSE, IB objectives and other issues facing European education. I especially like the tweets of historical funnies floating around on the web.
Do you have any favorites on Twitter? Who do you follow for education? Any good resources out there on Twitter for expats?