Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10 Steps for Educators New to Twitter...

Educators from all around the world are beginning to use Twitter as a valuable piece in their professional growth toolbox. As professional development continues to evolve and transform, we will need new ways to encourage teachers to embrace new opportunities. Here is a "How to Twitter Guide" to share with new and veteran teachers. Enjoy!

1) - Sign up for your Twitter account! Click Here!

Sign up for your Twitter account and get started. Make sure to fill out your profile as much as possible, and it is also a great idea to make sure you upload a picture of yourself! Educators on Twitter will feel more comfortable knowing what you look like...it also helps to keep the social in social media - say cheese!

2) - Spend some time watching and observing others... Check out my Twitter video!

Take some time to learn the ins and outs of Twitter. This step is important because it will lay the foundation of how others are using and embracing Twitter as a professional development tool. If you are looking for a few awesome educators to follow and learn from, here is a great list to start with:

@gcouros @web20classroom @NMHS_Principal @tomwhitby @kylepace @cybraryman1 @principalspage @ShellTerrell @ChrisWejr @shannonmmiller @patrickmlarkin @L_Hilt @ToddWhitaker @Dwight_Carter @datruss @mcleod  @plugusin @stumpteacher @kleinerin @mattbgomez

3) - Talk to educators who are using Twitter...

I would be willing to bet that you learned about or heard something about Twitter from a colleague. This is great news! This means you most likely have someone in your building or in your district who is using Twitter, and this gives you the opportunity to question them about how they use Twitter as a professional development tool. Tap into their experience and find out how Twitter has affected them professionally. These colleagues can be huge when it comes to supporting you and your future growth and development. Treasure them!

4) - Start to interact with your followers...

The key to making the Twitter experience the best it can be is in developing relationships with the people with whom you interact. By interacting with people you are able to foster an environment of sharing and collaboration. People are more willing to help and support you when they know they can rely on you to be a valuable member of their Twitter community. Building and establishing relationships with your followers is crucial.

5) - Continue the conversation by leaving comments on their blogs...

As you start interacting more you will take part in more and more conversations. You will find that many of these conversations can lead to future blog posts. Take time to read the blogs of people with whom you interact, and make sure to continue the conversation by leaving comments. By leaving a comment you are showing your dedication to the thoughts and musings of others...this is extremely important as you continue developing relationships.

6) - It's okay to be social...

Twitter conversations need to be focused and on topic, and for the most part should remain professional. However, it is important to remember that the people with whom you interact are people with lives and families, and as such it is okay to be friendly and social from time to time. In fact, I would say it is encouraged! Being social helps to develop and refine your Twitter relationships, which in turn will lead to more productive professional conversations.

7) - Be selective when it comes to who you follow...

There are some people on Twitter who are going to challenge you and make your Twitter experience greatly rewarding...there are others who will not. Make sure you find and follow those people who are actively tweeting and participating in conversations. Just because somebody follows you does not mean you have some obligation to follow them. Twitter follows the "unconference" model...if somebody adds value then you follow them, and if they don't add value then you move on.

8) - You will get what you put into it...

As mentioned several times already, building strong relationships is key. If you tweet once a week and never check to see what the people you are following are tweeting, then you probably won't get too much out of Twitter. To get something out of Twitter you will need to be an active and frequent participant. You don't have to tweet 100 times a day, but you will need be actively involved if you wish to get any meaningful use out of Twitter.

9) - Remember...use Twitter as a tool to meet your needs...

Twitter is anything and everything you need it to be. If you want to get professional development ideas they are out there...if you want to collaborate and share with math teachers they are willing...if you have questions and need help it is available. When somebody helps you to meet your needs, please make sure to repay the favor if possible. Twitter thrives on the generosity and reciprocity of the Twitter community.

10) - Share, explore, discover, collaborate and encourage others...

Enjoy Twitter and take advantage of the many great educators who are willing to share and help. Some of the most progressive and influential educators can be found on Twitter, and it is their dedication to improving education that makes this such a powerful tool.

If you have any additional questions on how Twitter can be used for educators I would suggest checking out these links:

Twitter for Teachers: a Professional Development Tool

10 Commandments of Twitter Etiquette

Educator Hash Tags via @cybraryman1


  1. Will share this with my teachers for sure. I just showed them how I use Twitter, and a few of them jumped on board. Thanks for concisely writing how I need to mentor them.

  2. Great post.

    Only thing I would include are the wonderful educational chats here on Twitter for Educators in most subject areas. My page of Educational Chats lists days and times:

  3. This is perfect timing - I just showed Twitter to our professional leadership team on Thursday. This is a great follow up to that conversation. Thanks!

  4. Perfect! This will come in handy when people give me the "you are on Twitter" look. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks for these ideas! I'm just about to meet with my admins and the more info and resources that ate logical like this, the better my case!

  6. Great suggestions. I 'use' Twitter but I don't use it well. This post has been really helpful =)

  7. Justin-this is outstanding! Thanks for posting and sharing. I have exactly 0 teachers in my district who use Twitter! Need show them the potential and power. Look forward to more of your tweets.

  8. Thanks Justin. As a long-time educator but twitter-rookie I really appreciated your 10 steps. I will be returning to your blog regularly...great advice!

  9. Thanks for this post, Justin. I just re-posted on our school district's intranet. Not only will it help those teachers new to Twitter, but also those of us who could stand to use it more effectively.

  10. I'm on the north side of sixty and have been using twitter for several years to follow the most current trends, It is well worth the effort and has its many rewards!

  11. Thanks for this useful post. I an encouraging my student teachers to sign up for twitter and I plan to share this blog with them.

  12. Thanks, Justin. I've only been on Twitter for a couple of months now and am still learning... thanks for the tips!

  13. Great post Justin, thanks for the helpful tips!

  14. Love this Justin! Thanks for sharing! My Colleague @techiefeldie and I are holding an on-line staff development class through our district right now! It's the 1st of its kind. We had 45 people sign-up! This will be great to show them! Thank you! @catlett1

  15. We are having an Administrative retreat tomorrow and the next day. They have asked us to share an article that has had a professional impact. I'm thinking of sharing the whole Twitter / PLN info.Thanks for sharing. Milena

  16. Thank you for putting all that together! I've encouraged several colleagues who are interested, and this is great starting point for them.

  17. Pls consider also including @tdottawa in your list of exemplary educators! He is awesome!

  18. This was a great post for a newbie like me to twitter! Thank you!

  19. Thanks for all the names you suggested. I added them to my followers! Melissa Butler

  20. I have so many ideas on how to use Twitter in my 1st and 2nd grade classrooms now! I couldnt read and write fast enough! Thanks!