I still remember the first time I heard of the word "Twitter" and Although I tried to wrap my head around the use of such a silly childish thing (I mean seriously, "I'm tweeting you," "did you get my tweet?") I quickly lost interest and moved on with my life. I could not (and still don't) fathom why anyone would need to hear what are or how the trivialities in my life are going.
But before we get ahead of ourselves what is twitter? In truth Twitter is just a brand name for "Micro-blogging" (kind of like Tylenol is to Acetaminophen) In my last post I discussed Blogs and Twitter is very similar, almost like a little brother in that you are limited to a certain amount of characters (140). The major advantage is that it is mobile and can be accessed from your phone through an app or SMS.
When you start a Twittter account, besides the blogging part of it, you are also able to follow ("following") people who you might have an interest in, and their tweets will come up in a feed. Additionally people can follow you ("followers") and your Tweets will come up on there feed.
Twitter is part of the social media family and as such can be used to find out about whats going on in any persons everyday life. As I mentioned earlier, I find no interest in such things, but I have found many advantages of using twitter in my classroom, but even more so, I find it as the most significant factor of and contributor to my professional development.
In school, I use it as a quick exit poll. I will tweet an open-ended question (which I prepare before class) and watch the tweets pour in. I will also post assignment due dates, and links to websites I want them to look in to. When we go on feild trips, I will create goals they must accomplish during the trip and have them tweet it to me in real time. I am sure you can find even more innovative ways that Twitter can be used online.
(Update: Here's a great post by one educator)
For PD, this is something new that I have only recently begun to explore. It started with a hashtag by the name of #Jedchat (oops, forgot to mention, A Hashtag is a way of tagging ideas in your tweet so that someone else will have an easy time finding them. For example, if I tweeted something that has to do with Jewish education and I want other Jewish educators to easily find it, I would end the tweet with this #Jedchat) I noticed that besides tweeting personal things, like "I had a bowl of Trix this morning and it was awful..." people would also tweet things that could help me in my classroom.
For example, someone commented about using podcats in the classroom. I, having an interest in podcatsing, immediately responded and this eventually led to a conversation on the phone with a principal in Wisconsin!
Another time a tweet led to a discussion on iPads in a Gemara class with a Rabbi in Florida. So many educators who need help or have experience to help are just waiting to connect with you!
I have come to love Twitter (not for its original intent!) and I would happily advise as well as help anyone who would like to get started.
Thanks for reading my Blog!