Twitter EDU

Over the last few years many people have become disgusted and disenchanted with the platform of Twitter.  I agree that it can be an echo chamber for those who like to hear their own voice.  However, I also know that it can be an effective Professional Learning tool.  I have created an entire Professional Learning Network on Twitter because of the people that I chose to follow and I am diligent about blocking people who are spreading unworthy tweets.  My Twitter account posts nothing personal.  It is about my own professional learning. With Twitter colleagues challenge my thinking regularly.  Questions that I have for my educational colleagues are answered immediately and without judgment.  Global connections are made easily and then I use these connections to learn with my students.

Let me give you a few examples of how I’ve used Twitter in the classroom.  One of my students brought in a rock with a fossil on it from his backyard.  We took a photo and tweeted it out to find out if anyone could tell us what it was and the approximate age.  Within an hour we heard back from a scientist at the ROM.  He had an answer for us and was happy to help.  In fact, he told us that corresponding on social media at the ROM as a scientist IS his job! One of the students brought in a mushroom from the woods near their house.  We tweeted out to our PLN because they wanted to know whether or not it was edible.  We were answered immediately and there were many links to other sites for information that sent us on a further journey into the wonderful world of fungi.  Consequently, the advice from our Twitter contact was to never eat anything you find in the woods unless you are a scientist. In music, we were learning the words to a song by the Alternate Routes band and the students asked to tweet the band. They tweeted us back thanking us for the support and encouraging us to keep singing.  We found some great classes across Canada to Skype with through Twitter and did mystery number finds with other grade 1 and 2 classes. You get out of Twitter what you are willing to put into it.

I have gotten more out of 15 minute Twitter education chats than I have out of some day long workshops.  The educators on Twitter chats are there by choice and they are passionate about education. The questions are specific and the answers are in 140 characters. The best part is, you don’t even have to comment if you don’t feel comfortable.  You can just sit back and learn.  I have also met these Tweeters in person at IT conferences and taken their workshops.  Knowing the presenters ahead of time and having a connection is like going to a concert when you already know the newest album really well; it makes the experience richer and deeper.

Here are a few EDUTweeters that I suggest you follow to get started:

@dougpete  @peterskillen   @brendasherry    @avivalova   @mraspinall  @sylviaduckworth  @Toadmummy (that’s me)

Here are a few #hashtags to follow

#EdchatON    #edtechchat     #teacheredchat   #bfc530

Twitter may not be your thing, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it as your #PLN.  I guarantee you will find some ideas for #deeperlearning or #inquiryed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Author

Michelle Fenn

I am a teacher with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and I have been teaching for over 20 years. In September I have a new position as our Innovations and NTIP consultant. Which helps teachers integrate inquiry based learning into their classrooms while leveraging the digital. When I grow up I want to be Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus.

4 Comments

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  1. Cathy Orr says:

    I love your posts, Michelle. As a retired educator, I still like to stay informed and keep up with technology. I have a Twitter account but never use it. Now will follow some of your tweeters and hashtags and make things interesting! Do you mind if I post this to our ETFO district FB page? I am positive that others will enjoy your posts. Those who have the time to read and use your suggestions will be teaching their students how to apply their knowledge of tech tools. Thanks!

    1. Michelle Fenn says:

      I’m glad that we can keep you up to date! Thanks for replying. It makes my day to see people interact with posts and know that it has been helpful.

  2. Marsha Jones says:

    Thanks for sharing, Michelle! You and your students have certainly benefit through Twitter.

    1. Michelle Fenn says:

      Thanks for commenting Marsha. I was worried about using it at first but it has been a powerful social media tool for learning!

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