I struggled with the title of this post:
I’m on Twitter
I like Twitter
you should use Twitter …. before settling on
Why I use Twitter.
The first title wasn’t so great because I’ve been “on” Twitter since May 2009 according to my Twitter profile. But for a long time I just didn’t get Twitter … what was I supposed to write about? Who’s reading what I post anyway? (Answer: no one at the time!) It took a couple of years before I really understood how to use Twitter to get what I wanted out of it.
The second title didn’t get to the point. I like Twitter for lots of reasons outside of my teaching life, like keeping up to date on breaking news stories.
The third title sounded off-putting. Who am I to tell you what you should or should not do?
So I settled on the fourth title; I’ll tell you why I find Twitter useful and you can decide for yourself whether or not you might like to try it out if you haven’t already.
Why I use Twitter:
- To get lesson/activity ideas:
Teachers on Twitter tend to be a very share-y bunch! Twitter users like @MaryBourassa & @AlexOverwijk share great lesson ideas for the MFM2P course that I teach year after year. Sometimes they share tidbits in 140 characters and add photos, and sometimes they link to their blogs which go into greater detail on the lessons. Both these teachers are in my school board but at other schools. Twitter allows me to see what happens in their classrooms!
A big game-changer for me a few years ago was Dan Meyer‘s 3-act math. Again, the material was mostly on his blog, but Twitter was often where I would find the links to his blog posts; reminding me to go read it.
- To expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN):
I work with some pretty amazing teachers at Ridgemont HS, but I also want to learn from people outside of my school. Twitter lets me connect with teachers elsewhere in my board and around the world!
I have a list of blogs that I read regularly via the Digg Blog Reader app for my phone/tablet. The first blog I ever read was Dan Meyer’s. Through his blog & his tweets I found others I wanted to read as well. Following and engaging with people on Twitter has helped me find other teacher blogs that I find helpful to add to my list.
- To learn about & discuss the bigger ideas in education:
There are some Twitter users I follow, not because I get specific math lesson ideas from them, but because they tweet (& blog) about some of the bigger ideas/ challenges in education:
The subject specific Twitter chats are great for this. My current favourite is #msmathchat which occurs each Monday evening from 9-10pm. People also post to the hashtag during the week in between designated chat times.
My PLN’s tweets make me think deeply about the HOW and WHY of my pedagogical choices. Often these get me thinking about a topic or idea that I then discuss face-to-face with my colleagues in my building!
- To engage in conversations:
To ask questions & get answers:
Bouncing ideas back & forth:
- To find out about PD opportunities:
Twitter was where I first heard about Ed Camp Ottawa and about ECOO’s annual conference where I ended up facilitating a workshop on Twitter for Teachers.
This tweet about the stages of Twitter users rang true to me:
If you’re brand new to Twitter & need a little help getting started, you can watch this video I made a while back about the basics of signing up for & using Twitter (apologies for the less than stellar audio quality):
Why do you use Twitter? What have I missed? Leave a comment below!
– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)