Since the advent of e-learning and PLNs (personal learning networks), tech-savvy teachers have turned in their droves to the social networking site Twitter. But whilst the site provides a host of useful #edtech functions, from networking and making connections to sharing great new resources, some teachers are undeniably more successful at harnessing its power than others. Here are our top tips for how to be a great tweeting teacher…
Twitter is so vast that any given user is bombarded with hundreds of different messages, tweets and profiles every day. Even typing in a search term like an e-learning hash tag or a specific topic of interest can only narrow results down so far. So if you want like-minded educators to find you and connect with you, you need to be extremely precise about exactly what your areas of interest and expertise are. Want to connect on m-learning issues? Make sure your profile description prominently includes phrases like ‘m-learning’, ‘mobile devices’, #BYOD and ‘#edapps’. Just writing ‘teacher from Illinois’ won’t be enough to help the best contacts to find and connect with you. Fantastic #elearning tweeter Paulo Simões (@pgsimoes) provides a great example, with his profile description including key phrases like “#eLearning Evangelizer, #PLE Researcher” and “@eden20_official Steering Committee NAP Advisor”. These details immediately ensure that anybody interested in those specific topic areas will be able to find him quickly and easily.
With so many choices of who to follow and a limit to how many tweets you can physically read per day, busy #edtech aficionados are much more likely to follow teachers who tweet regularly. Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) is a great example of an educator who keeps up a constant flow of fantastic information and resources, and the success of her technique is clear from her impressive roster of over 40,000 followers. Davis also practices another extremely effective technique – instead of just tweeting for a single, intense period each day, she spreads out her tweets every few hours. This is a great tweeting style as it ensures that you are providing a regular drip-feed of information to your followers, no matter what time of day they happen to log on.
Being well-connected with other great educators is another hallmark of the most successful tweeting teachers. Nobody provides a better example of this than the highly-respected Eric Sheninger (NMHS_Principal), an Adobe Education leader who uses the #cpchat (connected principals chat) hash tag amongst others to stay connected and up to date with the news and resources shared with other school leaders.
It may seem obvious, but remember that to be a truly successful tweeting teacher you need to give as well as take. Some of the most enormously successful educators on Twitter (like @web20classroom, @kylepace and @HPTeachExchange) are constantly sourcing and sharing the newest, most exciting #edtech resources, sites and tools. The more your followers know they will find great quality tips and resources when they check your tweets, the more you will keep them coming back for more!
The very best tweeting teachers find ways to communicate as widely as possible with the online education technology community. Reaching out to others in the field, whether they are following you or not, is a vital part of creating your online network and receiving wisdom from other educators around the world. Tech-savvy educators like the fantastic Shelly S Terrell (@ShellTerrell) harness the power of Twitter communication by founding weekly tweet conferences like Terrell’s hugely successful #Edchat (co-founded by @web20classroom and @tomwhitby). And you don’t have to be connected to thousands of other educators to start one either – create your own relevant hash tag, pose a few searching questions and you’ll be amazed how many commentators will flock to debate and share ideas with you!
Interested in helping your school get up to speed with Twitter? Try a free lesson from the new Fractus Learning online training course Introduction To Social Media In Education!
What are your top tips for Tweeting teachers using Twitter? Let us know below!