Do you think Twitter is a superficial app. only good for following the various goings on of celebrities who continually get pregnant/go into rehab/smash a car/assault someone in a drunken frenzy, etc., etc.?? So did I until I was forced to join the tweeting masses last week for a technology class I’m taking. How could this possibly advance my teaching? Well, it turns out there is more to Twitter than Stephen Colbert.
When you first join, search for people and organizations in your field of interest; in my case, education. When I initially did this, I began to receive a lot of tweets about higher education, which didn’t pertain to me. I narrowed my search to elementary education, arts integration, and elementary gifted education, my particular areas of interest. I chose several teachers to start following after previewing their tweets, most of which are re-tweets. What I didn’t realize about twitter was that most tweets contain a link to some other page or resource. This is really the meat of Twitter because it allows you to see an astounding number of resources in a short time, all in one place.
If you’re like me, you are interested in a number of organizations and teaching resources but don’t have a lot of time to log on to each one and keep up. I am finding that Twitter is the perfect way to do that. For example, I am very interested in the education department of several of the Smithsonian Museums, including the zoo. Last year, while I was planning a unit on migratory birds, I found that the National Zoo has loads of teaching resources on-line. They had activities related to beak adaptations, migration maps, interactive computer games, and more. I really wanted to remember to check the website for new science ideas every few weeks, but never found time. However, since I began to follow the National Zoo on Twitter, suddenly I don’t have to remember to go to their website; they frequently send me updates and interesting tidbits to share with my class. Voila!
AND, with Twitter I can easily follow a particular animal at a zoo anywhere in the world. Students love this and come up and ask me, “How is Bob?”, which is what they named the butterfly we were following on The Journey North this past spring. Twitter truly is a real time global network.
One last thought:
This morning when I checked my Twitter account, I was annoyed to find a strange a tweet from Laertes9, “Ophelia – my dove, where’s my dad? And why is he so cold?” I thought my account had been infiltrated by a creep. I investigated “unfollowing” Laertes9 and soon realized that the tweets came from a teacher I am following. There were other tweets from Claudius the Dove, Fortinbras, Polonious, and Gertrude because@danikabarker is teaching Hamlet and is having her students use Storify to create social media for all the characters!! I am so excited because I want to learn to use Storify, and this will be a free demonstration of its use in a classroom!