Summer is coming…quicker than we think. As a teacher I always love summer, because it is a time to decompress, reflect on the year, and plan ahead for the new year. My summer last year was different than any other because I was active on Twitter. I learned more during that summer off, than in any training or professional development sessions combined (that is not hyperbole). I love Twitter for educators because it is a quick and fun way to learn, share, and explore our interests. There is also a HUGE community of teachers on Twitter.
This summer I am going to present my colleagues with a “Summer of Twitter” Teacher Challenge. I want more of my colleagues and peers to join Twitter and experience the collaboration and sharing that happens between teachers on Twitter. For that reason, I’ve created the Summer of Twitter Wiki so other schools can jump on board and take the challenge this summer. I present to my school on May 21st! Wish me luck and keep tweeting! If you want to get involved keep reading below:
How to Get Started
- Join the “Summer of Twitter Wiki“.
- Watch the video and read the “7 steps” below.
- Add your school to our list (find the School page on the right sidebar). If your school is already there, please add your name and twitter handle (ex: @ajjuliani) to -your school’s page!
- Follow the Twitter users in your school, then browse the other educators in your subject/area/level to follow!
- Check out the great educational ‘Twitter Chats” and understand #hashtags.
Are You a Teacher, Administrator, or Staff Developer that wants to help manage your school’s page? Please let us know!
- Email us and let us know, so we can give you administrator controls over your school/district’s page!
Watch and Share this short video on the “Summer of Twitter” Teacher Challenge:
The 7 Step Challenge for Teachers!
The “Summer of Twitter” challenge is all about getting teachers on Twitter to connect with others in education. We want our teachers to follow these easy 7 steps to free (and fun) professional development.
Step 1: Join Twitter and start using your account.
Or start using that account that you signed up for months/years ago but never really used. Maybe you are already on Twitter but only use it for personal connections. In any case, we want you to see how awesome it is for teachers to use, and this is the first step! If you are still unsure about Twitter, read this great post by George Couros on the benefits of using it for education.
Step 2: Create/Update your Twitter Profile (should show who you are and your education interests)
Add your picture to your profile. Make the background something that represents you (I chose to put a picture of my family). Then add a description that lets us all know who you are, what you do, and what your educational interests are. This will allow other educators to find you and follow you on Twitter. This is almost like your “mini-business card” on Twitter.
Step 3: Follow all the Twitter users in your district and put your name on the wiki.
Make sure you sign up at the “Summer of Twitter” wiki. Add a page for your school, and if there is already a page, make sure to add your name + twitter handle to the page (ex: @ajjuliani). This is something I want to stress with my own school. Learning WITH each other on Twitter can be the most powerful PD experience you’ll ever have. It might be worth it to also create a #hashtag for your district to see discussions on Twitter.
Step 4: Follow at least 20 other educators in your area/subject/level per week.
This is an important step. You want to continue to follow teachers and make new connections. You want to see what others have to share, and by following at least 20 new educators a week, it will keep your stream of information fresh and open up new doors to collaboration. It will also only take you about 1 minute to follow these people. I guarantee that this will be the easiest part of your time on Twitter (and maybe the most beneficial).
Step 5. Follow some “Edu-Influencers” that also blog…
It’s important to follow some of the educational leaders out there on Twitter. They will keep you up-to-date on any big education developments, and usually share great resources and information throughout the day/week. This will also help you connect to the larger community out there and understand the pulse of what is being discussed, debated, and shared. The list is very long of people you can follow. But here is a starting point. Following those Twitter users that blog, will take you from just 140 characters of PD to a few hundred words of PD (especially from a voice that you’ve already connected to).
Step 6. Participate in 1-3 Twitter Chats per week
Twitter chats are conversations that are labeled with a #hashtag. They usually have a different theme or topic of discussion. For example, one of the most popular education chats is #edchat. Each week the #edchat moderators post a poll allowing other twitter users to vote on the topic. Then during a specific time (Tues at 8pm EST) anyone wanting to participate in the chat clicks on the #edchat hashtag and post their thoughts using that hashtag (embedded in their post). Check out this video on how to use #hashtags, and then find a education twitter chat that meets your interests here: 300 Education Hashtags being used right now (via Edudemic).
Step 7. Share what you have to offer!!!
Tweet your thoughts. Post links to articles and noteworthy information. Respond to others’ tweets. Just get involved in the conversation. There is ALWAYS an educator on Twitter ready to talk and learn. Take advantage of this on your own time, when it is convenient for you! Let us know what think and share your thoughts with our hashtag #summerchat.