There is an edu-bubble on twitter and it is amazing. Many teachers, education experts, academics, authors and journalists are already making the most of this exciting social media platform by connecting and conversing with the teacher community online. I’ve been using Twitter for years but only recently started using it to connect professionally and it’s already one of the best decisions I ever made!
For me, Edu-Twitter is excellent for 3 main reasons. It enables you to:
- Connect, converse and collaborate with others. There are so many inspiring educators on Twitter and everyone is so positive and willing to help and support each other. Collaborating with colleagues – online or offline – is an enlightening and uplifting experience. As teachers, we are all learners and this is an amazing place to learn from one another.
- Find and share resources. Whatever you need, whatever you’re thinking about making or researching… ask Twitter first! The community really pulls together to provide invaluable resources that save you time and energy. There’s always someone to help point you in the right direction. But remember, don’t just take resources, share them too!
- Learn. The amount of information accessible by twitter is incredible. I have read blogs, research papers and have had conversations with experts in Literacy that have opened my eyes to new ideas, CPD events and pedagogies, re-energising my classroom practice and my enthusiasm for learning!
Twitter is an excellent way to develop professionally by connecting with like-minded people and expanding your personal learning network. However, some educators still find it a little daunting. It needn’t be. We’re a friendly bunch and we won’t bite – promise! Before you dive straight in, have a read over my handy Twitter for Teachers guide (pictured above) to get you started:
1. First, set up your professional twitter profile. Most teachers use real names, but you can make your account private. Best to keep personal (social) and professional accounts separate.
2. You’ll be asked to select areas of interest: choose education, schools and anything else you’re interested in.
3. Add your interests to the “About You” section, so that people with similar interests can follow you, and you can build mutually beneficial professional relationships.
4. Start to follow people you find interesting. Explore your new network by taking part in discussions, reading blogs, finding and sharing resources. The productivity and generosity of teachers on Twitter is inspiring!
5. Teachers mostly tweet and chat on weekday evenings and Sundays. Look out for specific chat periods for subject hashtags and book clubs. Check the chat schedule here.
6. If you see something you like, share it by re-tweeting or liking the post.
What is a hashtag? A word or phrase preceded by #
How do hashtags work? Twitter can be a busy place with lots of tweets. A hashtag is a way to categorise tweets by a topical word or phrase.
Follow people you find interesting, exchange ideas, resources and conversations with others using #hashtags. Follow everyone to begin with, then narrow it down. Twitter will then recognise the types of people you follow & refine its recommendations.
Here’s a few of my personal favourites to get you started:
@SadiePhillips (that’s me!)
Author and critic (including Children’s Books Ed, Sunday Times) @NicoletteJones also recommends @EmpathyLabUK @TinyOwl_Books @_KnightsOf for inclusivity, @WorldBookDayUK @MumsnetBooks @ChildrensBkShow @7Stories @TheStoryMuseum for events and @BooksForKeeps @bookloverJo @pbooksblogger @PictureHooks @mrjamesmayhew for reviews & picturebook info.
One more thing. You’re bound to come across a whole range of acronyms and jargon in the Twittersphere, here’s a quick breakdown of some key terms:
- A hashtag (#) is a symbol used to comment about a specific topic, such as #readingforpleasure, #OURfP or #primaryschoolbookclub. It can also help you to categorise tweets by subject. If you search for a specific hashtag, you’ll see what I mean. You can find a brilliant calendar of dates and times for specific Education chats here.
- RT means ‘Re-Tweet’ which is basically re-posting something that has already been posted on the Twitter stream. It will appear in your own twitter stream.
- A pinned Tweet is a tweet which has been pinned to the top of someone’s profile regardless of how old it is. You can only pin one tweet at a time.
- Like This is when you hit the heart symbol to show you like what someone is saying. It will notify them that you have liked their tweet. You may receive likes too!
- DM means private Direct Message sent to a twitter user. It’s essentially the equivalent of Facebook Messenger but you must follow that user (and they must follow you) before you can message them privately. DMs are private messages and do not appear in the public twitter stream.
- Follow – These are the people (and tweets) that you follow.
- Follower – Someone who follows you (and your tweets).
- URLs – URLs or weblinks may be included in tweets. They might be links to useful website or resources. You can also share information this way too!
- @ – The @ symbol precedes names on twitter and can be used when replying to a twitter user.
Download a printable version of my Twitter for Teachers Guide.
Featured Image: Should You Use Twitter? Illustrated by Sylvia Duckworth.
Logo vectors created by Freepik.
Did you find this blog post useful? Do you have any other top tips to add? Hit the like button below, add a comment or find me on twitter. I’d love to hear your thoughts.