The topic for the inaugural #NT2tEU chat was "What’s the benefit of Twitter for teachers and how do you begin?". As you can imagine, their was a huge buzz around this topic with lots of helpful tips and advice being offered from experienced educational practitioners from around the globe! I have compiled a summary of some of the responses below:
Before I summarise, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the following contributors (in no particular order) for suggesting the following tips:
Gaz Needle @gazneedle, Joe White @jw_teach, Claire Bracher @cjabracher, Ines Bieler @seni_bl, Jenna Lucas @JennaLucas81, Gust Mees @knolinfos, Phil Ruse @wellsportsPhil, James Gibbons @ThatEdTechGuy, Ben Davies @b3ndavi3s, Kristine Osthoff @KristineAtKagan, Dennis Dill @DennisDill, Sarah Judd @SarahEJudd, Julie Smith @julnsmith, Gary King @Gary_S_King, Leah Sharp @Leah_Moo, Allison Hall @allisoncarlhall, Andy Colley @MrAColley, Simon Lewis @simonmlewis, Tim Head @MrHeadComputing, Mister Collard @mistercollard, Kulin Shah @nobleshah, Mike McSharry @mikemcsharry, Dane Bellenbach @BBDaneBell, Henry Penfold @penfoldno1, Elizabeth StJMagistra, Graham Andre @grahamandre, Mike Watson @WatsEd. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone out!
Special thanks also goes to Julie Szaj @shyj and David Pollard @edchatirl without whom this chat would not have been possible.
Q1. How does Twitter facilitate and enhance networking between educators?
- Enable you to connect with a global audience and give your students a greater audience for their work.
- Allow you to share ideas with like minded educators from around the world - You are not hindered by distance (makes the world a whole lot smaller).
- Help remove some of the biggest limiting factors of CPD such as time and money.
- Provide access to a diverse range of people who all share fantastic, practical ideas! “I have spoken to more teachers on twitter in 18 months than in 10+ years of teaching” - @gazneedle / @JennaLucas81
- Offer a huge range of edu chats/forums that enhance opportunities for networking and allow you to reflect and question your own practice.
- Make connections easier and facilitates communication - you only have to search, read and interact. Best of all, you don't have to be engaged in conversations, you can observe and learn until you feel comfortable with a topic.
Q2. How do you find other educators on Twitter? Who are your recommendations?
Who to follow:
Sway Grantham @SwayGrantham, Tim Head @MrHeadComputing, Miss Ord @OrdMiss, Rachel Jones @rlj1981, Rachel Orr @RachelOrr, Matthew Livermore @MrLivermore, Sarah Wright @Sarah__Wright, Mike Watson @WatsEd, Henry Penfold @penfoldno1, Emily Fewtrell @Computing_lass, Ben Davies @B3ndavi3s, Claire Bracher @cjabracher, Mark Anderson @ICTEvangelist, Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1, Mark Martin @urban_teacher, Alice Keeler @alicekeeler, Mark E. Weston @ShiftParadigm, Starr Sackstein @mssackstein, Nicholas A. Ferroni @NicholasFerroni, Rafranz Davis @RafranzDavis, Vala Afshar @ValaAfshar, @RusulAlrubail, Eric Sheninger @E_Sheninger, Ciara Brennan @PrimEdTeacher, Maggie Green, @MaggieMGreen, fboss @fboss, Fiona Farry @ffarry1, Sean Gallagher @sgpdst, Iseult Mangan @IseultMangan, Mags Amond @magsamond, Seomra Ranga @seomraranga, Mary Jo Bell @7MJB, B Yusuf @rondelle10_b, Laura Hill @CandyLandCaper, @MartynReah, differentiation @funASDteacher, Lynn McCann, Craig Kemp @mrkempnz, Julie Szaj @shyj, Brett Salakas @MRsalakas, Jenna Kleine @jenna_kleine.
How to find other educators:
- Edu chats are a great starting point. Find weekly chats that are appropriate to your phase/subject, then lurk, follow contributors, than contribute yourself.
- Follow educators who say interesting things, then follow the people they follow.
- Check other educator’s lists and also check to see who they regularly interact with.
Q3. What advice do you have about what you should tweet?
- Feel free to politely "butt in" to other people's conversations! – Everyone has something to offer ... you never know you might be holding the missing piece of the puzzle.
- Tweet for help, tweet an idea or showcase some students work (just make sure you have appropriate permissions).
- Keep it polite and professional.
- Your tweets should follow your personal brand. Not every interest you have needs to go on Twitter. Ask why should others follow you?
- Tweet about things that interest you/you’re passionate about, even things outside of education sometimes (It’s sometimes good to show your human side!)
- Ask questions, look for advice, have a professional discussion, just remember 140 characters can easily be misinterpreted so proof read before you post!
- Remember to be yourself on twitter and if you share items people are more likely to share with you #sharingiscaring
Also check out this Great list from Elizabeth @StJMagistra courtesy of Vincent Day @VincentDay.
- The hashtag (#) symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages.
- You can use the hashtag symbol before a relevant keyword or phrase in your Tweet to categorise your Tweets and help the right people find your tweets more easily. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message also shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
- Hashtags can be used to follow chats, or find threads relating to interests.
- When starting out, using the appropriate hashtag can be a great way of getting your questions out to a wider audience.
- Hashtags are a great way of finding chats & discovering new people to follow. Also good for topical news stories/ events.
- #AussieEd - Weekly #edchat which unites educators from around the world to share best practice and explore the latest educational theories.
- #BettChat - Every fortnight, educators from around the world get together to debate and discuss the most pressing matters in education today.
- #EdShowChat – EdShowChat is a great place to discuss anything related to pedagogy and edtech.
- #SLTChat - Discussions about school leadership (Aimed at Senior Leaders/Managers)
- #UkEdChat - Weekly Twitter based discussion for educators.
- #WhatIsSchool – WhatIsSchool is an award winning #edchat which provides teachers from around the globe a voice in shaping the future of education.
- #primaryrocks #paintingstalk #teachmeet #OutstandingTeaching #GeekTeacherSquad #DLChat #EdchatDe #aussieED #asiaED #EdChatie #Teacher5aday #NT2t #NT2tEU
For more educational hashtags, see: 20 essential EDU hashtags for teachers
Q6. Bonus question: What are your tips for gaining more followers?
- Engage in discussions - Asking questions is a great way to get exposure on Twitter however, replying to questions can be an even greater way to grow Twitter followers. Replying to other peoples questions can help develop connections with new users and encourage them to follow you on Twitter.
- #SharingIsCaring - Believe it or not, not everyone is going to be interested in what you had for breakfast or when you last visited the toilet. The key to Twitter is sharing interests. People are more likely to share your tweets if they share a common interest or if they think what you are tweeting is of interest to others.
- Be yourself - Try to get the right balance between talking about yourself and talking about topics that are relevant and interesting (It's good to show a human side every now and again).
- Number of followers isn't important - Don't worry about number of followers, just engage in quality conversation on chats and they'll follow!
- Just join in - take part in chats, look at who others follow, ask questions, don't worry about sharing views etc.
- Don't concern yourself with having followers just follow others and offer advice/support when you can.
Love this quote from Jonathan Bailey – “Not a race to gain followers. Jesus did okay; he only had 12! Seriously just share conversations and build relationships”.
Each week, a team of experienced educators, including a variety of influential guest hosts, will discuss topics such as how to get the most out of twitter and how to expand your PLN (Personal Learning Network). \
Next week's topic: "Twitter tips & tricks."
Q1: What is your best tip for managing personal and/or professional accounts on Twitter?
Q2: What tips do you have for participating in/keeping track of multiple chats?
Q3: What are your tips for getting around the 140 character limit?
Q4: What are your favourite abbreviations and what are they used for?
Q5: What are your tips for saving tweets?
Q6. What are your best tips for using hashtags?
Join us for #NT2tEU every Tuesday 9pm BST / 10pm CET / 3pm CET.
Interested in hosting a future #NT2t? Please DM me: @clcsimon
Twitter for Beginners page http://cybraryman.com/twitterforbeginners.html …
Twitter Education Chats Schedule http://bit.ly/educhatcalendar
ICTEvangelist - Twitter in the classroom - http://ictevangelist.com/twitter-in-the-classroom/