Top 10 Twitter Tips!

Without a doubt, Twitter is my number one form of professional development and I am always recommending it to other educators.

I first joined Twitter in early 2009 although I didn’t start using it daily until early 2010.

I find Twitter to be a one stop shop to meet like-minded educators. It is a place where I can find advice, give advice, find great links, share my work and engage in general musings about education.

For me, Twitter has never been a place where I tell people what I am eating for breakfast or catch up on celebrity goss. While I use Facebook to keep up with friends, Twitter is purely a professional medium for me.

If you’re new to Twitter, this is a terrific video that explains how Twitter can be used as a professional development tool for teachers

(I came across this via Michael Graffin @mgraffin – thanks!).

As a regular Twitter user I thought I would offer some advice to new Tweeters.

1. Give it a chance! So many people who join Twitter have trouble getting their head around it or forming connections with others. I was using Twitter for months before I felt like I was a real part of the Twitter community and knew what I was doing. Make yourself check in to Twitter daily for a month before you make any decisions about whether it is for you.

2. Get a desktop application. The Twitter website is not overly user-friendly and most Tweeters use a desktop application to access and organise their tweets. I recommend TweetDeck. It is free, straightforward and available for Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Android etc. With TweetDeck, you can easily keep track of conversations, make lists and incorporate your other social networking sites (eg. Facebook).

3. Give and take. I have seen some people use Twitter simply to let others know about their new blog posts. While this is one great use of Twitter, why not strike up a conversation with someone or offer someone some advice? Like everything in life, you will find Twitter to be a more worthwhile and enjoyable experience if you give and take.

4. Tweet in less than 140 characters. Make your important tweets short enough so others can retweet them without having to shorten the tweet. If people have to go to too much effort to shorten your tweet (eg. after RT @username is added), they may decide not to retweet it.

5. Know where to put @username. I have seen so many people lately “retweet” a message by starting with @username. Don’t forget, with most Twitter applications, people will only see others’ replies if they are following both the sender and recipient of the update. Eg. you might think Mary has a great blog so you tweet “@mary has a great blog about teaching www.blog.com, check it out!” Only people following you and Mary will see the tweet. This really limits your audience.

6. To follow or not to follow. Some people only want to follow a certain number of people (eg. 100) so they can keep track of their tweets. If people follow me or retweet me and they are “quality Tweeters” (eg. teachers or involved in education), I will follow them back. I prefer not to follow businesses or commercial tweeters unless I’m particularly interested in them. Some people will disagree but I find this “following back” method polite. Over time, this can mean you could have 1000+ people you are following. Obviously that would be too many to keep track of but I create a list in Tweetdeck of people I’m particularly interested in. Currently there are about 150 people on this list. That may seem like a lot but some people don’t tweet all that often and I don’t feel compelled to see everyone’s tweets.

7. Let others know who you are! I do not follow back anyone who doesn’t have a bio. There are so many “spam” Tweeters out there, that I wouldn’t want to risk it! It takes minutes to make a bio that tells possible followers who you are. I much prefer people have a real photo of themself, rather than a cartoon avatar or other picture. People will feel much more of a connection with you if they can see who you are. Finally, when signing up for Twitter, it is best to use your real name (or close to) if possible. Being online and part of a PLN isn’t about hiding or pretending to be someone else. I don’t believe in having an online you and and offline you. Let us know who you are. Your digital footprint is valuable!

8. Use hashtags #. Hashtags mark key words or topics in tweets and help to categorise tweets. It is a way to get your tweet out to people who may not necessarily be following you. Hashtags can appear anywhere in the tweet. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets in that category. Some hashtags you might like include #edtech #edchat #elemchat #comments4kids #vicpln. If you go to a conference you will generally find they have a hashtag so you can tweet before, during and after the event and connect with fellow delegates. Tip: don’t over hashtag your tweet – 3 is enough!

Here is a post I wrote all about Twitter hashtags if you want more information.

9. Drop in and drop out. One of the great things about Twitter is you don’t have to keep up with everything. I love Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s analogy of Twitter being like a river. The river keeps flowing but sometimes you might just walk past and have a quick look, sometimes you might hang around a dip your toes in, other times you might spend hours swimming around. You can use Twitter as your time and inclination permits!

10. Ask for advice. If you’re not sure how things work on Twitter just ask. I am @kathleen_morris and I’m always happy to help! Don’t know who to follow? Tweet me and I will give you some suggestions!

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Need more convincing on the power of Twitter? Chris Betcher has written a fantastic post. Find it here.

What are your thoughts on Twitter?

Share your Twitter tips!

Global Education Conference Presentation

This week (Thursday/Friday), Linda Yollis will be presenting about our Ugandan Global Project at the Global Education Conference.

This is a free online conference for anyone around the world. The session is held in Elluminate.

The goal of the conference is to help everyone make connections with other educators and students in order to increase opportunities for globally-connected education activities and initiatives.

global educ conference

SESSION INFORMATION

TITLE: Ugandan Global Project
PRESENTER: Linda Yollis
TIME: GMT+11 Fri 19 Nov 2010 11:00AM (click here for international time conversions)
SESSION ROOM: CLICK HERE to enter the Elluminate session room, open one hour before session.
DESCRIPTION: The Ugandan Global Project (UGP) is a collaborative blog that brings six elementary school classes together from four continents in order to raise money for the African Rural School Foundation in Uganda, Africa. The UGP members walked on October 22, to raise money to purchase a play area for Ugandan students. The walk signified the miles some Ugandan students walk each day to get an education. The UGP blog incorporates cultural and geographic information from all of the students involved in the project. The teachers and students involved in the project are elementary school blogging buddies. The classes regularly follow the learning of each other via blog posts and frequently ask questions or share information in the comment sections of the classroom blogs. The teachers were looking for a way to use their international blogging connections to help raise the global and social awareness of their students.
WEBSITE: http://ugandanglobalproject.blogspot.com

Here is a video I made to conclude the Ugandan project

Thank  you Linda for sharing at this conference!

Please try to attend and spread the word!

Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions about the conference.

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

Last year, Sir Ken Robinson was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Royal Society of Arts in London. Accepting the award, he gave a talk on Changing Paradigms in Education.  The RSA has produced a animated version of highlights of the talk.

This is a video I had heard about on Twitter and on the Ed Tech Crew podcast. When I finally put aside 12 minutes to watch it I thought it was definitely worth sharing for two reasons.

1. The ideas that Sir Ken express in the talk about change in education are very much food for thought.

2. The actual animation in itself is very interesting. Perhaps this is a style of animation that students could work on. It would be a terrific way to express creativity and could be used to animate any sort of speech, explanation, debate etc.

Leave a comment.

What did you get out of Ken Robinson’s talk?

What did you think of the animation?