(This is step nine in the free Teacher 2.0 course/"experience" at Mightybell - participate at https://mightybell.com/experiences/3ff5259e1c4d9948-Teacher-2-0.)
Twitter acts both as a platform for publishing and for reading the posts of others. Twitter is know as a "micro-blogging" site because when you post a message (a "Tweet") it is limited to 140 characters. When you "follow" someone on Twitter you are taking advantage of the aggregation function Twitter has built into the service.
Some people love Twitter, others find the constant stream of information too distracting. I like to think of Twitter like entering a party and hearing good conversation, but when you leave the party there will be a lot that is said between people that you won't hear about, and you just have to not worry about trying to follow everything. Educators particularly like the robust sharing of links to articles and resources that take place on Twitter, although sustained or in-depth conversation like you get at sites like Classroom 2.0 or Teacher 2.0 really can't happen on Twitter.
One way that those who use Twitter help others to find or follow particular kinds of information is to use a "hashtag." This is the convention of placing a "#" (hashtag) in front of an identifying phrase that is included in Tweets on a specific topic. You can see an example of this at http://twitter.com/#!/search/edchat, where you will see Tweets that have used the "#edchat" hashtag to indicate they are posting about education.
What help, advice, or suggestions do you have for using Twitter for education?
I am a big Twitter fan. I signed up for an account a few months ago and am now following 71 people in the realm of education. It is like doing PD 24/7. It has broadened my learning resources 100 fold. I heard about flipped learning on Twitter and am now registered to participate in the first Flipped Classroom Conference in Canada! I also wrote a paper on the flipped classroom for my Masters course. The paper included resources found on Twitter. Can it get overwhelming to read everything? Yes. You have to learn to skim and pick out what you want to know about right now. It is well worth it for the learning that results.
I am hooked on both and have been for awhile.
I was never aware of the uses of twitter. I had always thought of twitter as another social media outlet similar to Facebook and myspace. But Twitter can easily be used for education as well as be used for an educator. It can be overwhelming to see all of the tweets on the timeline and newsfeed, but you really just pick and choose. Searching through hashtags is an easy way to find what you may need. If you follow the right people, such as other educators or other professionals Twitter can really be useful.