Thursday, June 20, 2013

How and Why I've Grown to Love Twitter... #TwitterLove!

When Twitter started to take off, I reacted against it.  The transient, flippant nature of the tweets I saw had absolutely no place in a classroom.  So when Twitter began to make inroads in education, I thought, "No way!"
However after about a year of playing with Twitter, I have grown to truly love and embrace it in education and in the classroom.
First off, if you're new to Twitter, I strongly suggest you check out this infographic, How to Twitter and maybe watch this great YouTube video by Erin Klein (@KleinErin) Twitter for Teachers.  Now you have a basic overview of what Twitter is and how teachers can use it.  If you're not new to Twitter, these are great resources for teaching teachers, colleagues, and students about Twitter.
Back to the how and why I came to love Twitter.
I started with Twitter as a newsfeed.  I began following news sources like The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal as I had heard that Google Reader was going away.  I got all sorts of articles and videos for current events, which I used almost everyday in class.
Then I began following educational blogs like Edudemic (@Edudemic) and Free Tech 4 Teachers (@rmbyrne) which gave me more school tools and reasons why I could or should use them.
I also started to use Twitter in the classroom.  I would have my AP US History students distill their introductory paragraphs down to 140 characters to get to the core of their ideas and see how quickly and simply they could express their complex ideas.  They were really impressed by how much that helped their writing.  I also would have my students tweet me when I was out of the classroom working as a professional developer and I would show their tweets to the teachers I was teaching.  Sometimes I would have students answer a question and give a Starburst to the first 10 who tweeted the correct answer.  The kids loved it.  At the very least, my students knew what Twitter was and how it worked.
From there, I was looking to connect with other teachers as the listservs I had been using for years had gone away.  My Personal Learning Network (PLN) had begun to whither.  In the last few weeks, that void has begun to be filled as I, once again, applied to be a Google Certified Teacher (GCT).  As I was applying, I realized that Twitter could be a PLN in itself as well as a newsfeed.  All of a sudden, my view of Twitter had radically changed.  I was swapping ideas with intense and motivated teachers from all over.  It's been great.
In the last 18 hours, since I was accepted to be a GCT, my Twitter account has changed radically.  All of a sudden, I have way more teachers as followers and am following so many more teachers, I know the exchange of ideas is going to explode.  My PLN has taken off!
Now, I make a point of checking Twitter at the start of each morning to see what breaking news took place overnight, if there are new school toys and ideas out there, and if any new perspectives have been put out.  I make it a point to respond or retweet or favorite at least something I come across in my browsing.  I've also realized that I'll never get everything that comes through my account and that that's OK.
I'm also thinking of creating a personal account to stay in touch with family and far flung friends, but that's probably for another blog post...
So, because it's great as a newsfeed and it makes following blogs so much easier and it's allowed my PLN to grow greatly, I love Twitter.
You can follow me at @MrKellyIII, which is something I could not and would not say a year ago!

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