One of my Twitter PLN, Australian languages teacher Jess McCulloch has crowd-sourced an excellent guide to using Twitter. Jess drew on her own Twitter PLN and asked them to record short videos to explain different aspects of Twitter to a new user.
You can view the videos here: http://stepintoasia.wikispaces.com/Twitter
My own guide was on choosing a suitable Twitter username:
It was put together for a course Jess was running, but I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it here for you all to take a look at!
It’s a great idea – and is yet another demonstration of why Twitter can be such a powerful tool for educators – it can put you in contact with hundreds of other teachers around the world who are more than happy to share ideas and resources with each other. Thanks again Jess for asking me to be involved, and for having the idea in the first place.
Again, take a look at http://stepintoasia.wikispaces.com/Twitter and let me know what you think in the comments below!
#asechat is a weekly online science education discussion group on Twitter which takes place on Monday evenings from 8.00-9.00pm (UK time). Everyone is welcome. The target audience includes science teachers from primary and secondary schools and further education, laboratory technicians, trainee teachers, teacher educators and anyone else with an interest in science education. Science educators from outside the UK are very welcome too.
The topic for discussion for the next chat on Monday 5th December will be “Using Interactive ICT resources in science teaching” and I’ll be hosting the chat on that evening. I’ll be hoping to share some of my favourite science resources, as well as discuss how you might use them in the classroom. Other teachers taking part will also hopefully be sharing their ideas too.
If you’ve never taken part in a Twitter chat before then #asechat would be a good place to start. If you can’t access the chat live, you can always access an archive on the ASE website, usually from the Tuesday onwards.
You can find out more about #ASEchat here :
Hope to see some of you in the chat on Monday!
A short post to collect a few things I’ve read recently and linked via Twitter, but worth reposting to the blog too. Go check them out
The Myth of the Digital Native by @merlinjohn
Blooms Taxonomy for iPad Apps by @Langwitches
All I need to know about Twitter I learned at kindergarten by @timbuckteeth
Hurricane Irene photos by The Big Picture.
There have been several great time shifted (in real time) twitter feeds like British War Cabinet or the Apollo Moon Landings (from a few years ago). Or even Such Tweet Sorrow which recreated Romeo and Juliet in tweets. Also not forgetting Gunpowder Tweeting and Plot.
TwHistory provides another platform to do this. Students or volunteers pick a well-documented historical event. They pick real historical figures who were at that event, and create tweets based on those events. These tweets are then scheduled to be broadcast in real time. The end result is a virtual reenactment of a historical event, broadcast in real time.
For example the Battle of Waterloo:
Past broadcasts can be downloaded as a CSV file, so they can be accessed again in the future. It’s an interesting idea, that would make for an interesting class project. Go take a look at : http://beta.twhistory.org/
Thanks to Keri-Lee Beasley for the link.
Here are a few things that caught my eye on Twitter and the various blogs I’ve been following, that I haven’t had time to write about separately.
- Digital learning tools from Eduweb (via @ourClassroomCDN)
- Cool Graphing Calculator (via @TechRav)
- You Want iPads For Your School … But Is That Enough? – iPads in Education (Via @Langwitches)
- A quick guide to using Twitter for Educators (via @creativeedu)
- Technology Usage Parent Letter and Consent Form
- Dear Photograph : layer old photos ontop of new while taking a new photograph (via @2SimpleAnt)
- Miss USA : should Maths be taught in schools a riff on the scary Evolution video of a few weeks ago (via @jessmcculloch)
- iPad Apps in Education (via @mylesp)
- The Obsolete Technology Website : good for looking at the history of tech
- A guide to different blogging platforms (via @chrisrat)
I do tend to tweet things like this on Twitter so be sure to follow me at @dannynicRead More
I’m a massive fan of Twitter. I have personally found it to be the best source of new ideas and tips out there, and it’s free! It can take time to build up a decent sized network, but once you follow enough people then you begin to see the benefits.
I’ve written a short guide to Twitter for Teachers before, but I’ve updated some of the ideas and added a few more things that you can do to make your Twitter experience much more useful.
1. Follow Follow Follow
Twitter is all about following people. The more people you follow, the more tweets will appear in your timeline. There is a critical mass to Twitter. Early users often give up as the few users they follow may not yield many interesting or useful tweets. You need to start following lots of people (50+) to start getting useful communication.
Once you follow a few people – look at their twitter pages and see who they talk to, or who they follow. If they sound interesting, follow them too. Gradually build up a network of Twitter users who interest you.
Also – take a look at the “Who to Follow” page which will suggest other followers based on who you follow. Very handy.
Hopefully, those people you follow will also follow you back. Which brings me to:
2. Add a Bio to your profile
Whenever I get a new follower I check on their Twitter account to see if they are worth following back, or whether they are an automated spam bot. The first thing I check is their bio – the short piece of information that you add to your profile. If they say they are a teacher, or a teaching student, then I will pretty much always follow them back. If there is no information here, then I am more wary of them, and most likely will not follow unless their tweets look interesting.
It’s important to put something here – even if it’s just that you’re a teacher interested in Twitter.
3. Keep an eye on Hashtags
Hashtags are short codes used to help keep information on similar topics organised on Twitter. You can add a hashtag to any tweet just by using the # symbol followed by a word or acronym. Hashtags are often used during Teachmeets or other conferences to allow everyone attending that event to discuss it, even if they are not following many of the people at that event.
If you want to take part in the regular discussions like #ukedchat then just add that hashtag to your comment and everyone following that tag will see it. If you see people using that tag that interest you, follow them it’s a good way of meeting other educators.
4. Use a Twitter client
The twitter site is OK, but it’s not brilliant. Especially if you want to monitor several different things at the same time – such as several hashtags, plus keeping an eye on who’s talking to you. There are different Twitter clients out there, but a good free one is Tweetdeck. You can set up multiple columns that look for different things. For example mine is set up to show my regular timeline, any mentions of @dannynic, a column for friends/family tweets who might get lost in the general stuff, and then columns for #Scichat and #ukedchat.
It makes following Twitter a lot easier.
Go mobile – get a twitter client for your phone too!
5. Protect or No Protect?
This is decision you’ll have to make for yourself. It is possible to protect your tweets so that only people who you give permission to can follow you and see what you say. I don’t use this myself – I just make sure that I don’t tweet anything too personal that might get me into trouble. But some teachers might prefer to keep their tweets away from the general twitter stream. At least be aware that the option is there should you need it.
6. Dont be afraid to lurk
There’s nothing wrong with just lurking – not saying much but following the stream of tweets from others. It will give you a good idea of the way that Twitter works. But you will get more out of twitter if you start sharing. Share your experiences, share good websites you’ve found. If you have a tip or piece of advice – share it You’ll get more follow backs. Join in when you feel ready!
7. Don’t just broadcast – interact!
Do try and engage with other users out there. Twitter is about communication. There are many users out there who just tweet links or news about their organisation without any kind of discussion with their followers. Remember to use an @ sign in front of their username so they can see your message eg use @dannynic to talk to me.
8. Get an Avatar
The default twitter avatar is an egg. It’s not very exciting. Change this to an avatar of yourself – or, if you don’t want a real photo of yourself up there, something more fun. Here are some ideas for making avatars for online sites.
9. Beware of Spammers
Do be aware that there are a lot of automated accounts out there who will follow or tweet at you, who may not always be benign. If you receive links in messages that you do not trust – don’t click on them. Some can direct you to dodgy websites that may compromise your twitter account. You can also block and report other users for spam if you find their behaviour worrying.
10. Follow Back
Twitter will alert you when you get a new follower. Take a second to check out their profile, and if they sound interesting (and not a spammer) then follow them back. Over time your network will grow.
A lot of people call their Twitter friends their Personal Learning Network (PLN) and I can definitely go along with this. I follow 4000 people, so it is not possible to keep up with all the messages flying past. But when I dip into Twitter I can always guarantee there’s a couple of excellent nuggets of wisdom, or links to new websites/articles out there that I haven’t seen before.
There are thousands of teachers on Twitter already – get on board and join them!
Got any more tips? Share them in the comments below.
Photo credit : The Twitter Bird Escaped by Netzkobold
Also a useful thing to know : How to use the Twitter @ ReplyRead More
Russel Tarr‘s Classtools.Net website is already a firm favourite on my training courses because of the great Countdown timer and random name picker tools. And if you haven’t already seen them, where have you been?
He’s now created a fake tweet generator called Twister which lets you create fictional “status updates” that can then be screen captured or printed for display work. It has similar uses in the classroom to the Fake Facebook ideas I wrote about last month.
Take a look for yourself : http://classtools.net/twister/
Here’s an idea from Glenn over at History Tech Blog for creating fake Facebook walls or Twitter conversations.
For the fake Facebook you could use a website called My Fake Wall which is quite fun, but has a lot of adverts all over it. Click on the different areas and add the information required. It’s pretty straightforward.
It would be a great way of creating pages on characters in plays or books the class is studying. Also do the same thing for historical figures. Ideas for Science could include creating discussions between famous scientists, create facebook pages for elements etc.
And many more.
For example here’s something I knocked up very quickly for Sodium:
As a way of creating fake twitter conversations Glenn recommends : http://faketweetbuilder.com/ You could use this to recreate sections of dialogue from plays in Twitter or create your own story in a new way through tweets instead of regular chat.
Thanks for the tip Glenn!
Update – Also check out this template for a Facebook page in Smart Notebook produced by Amber CogginRead More
A quick mention for a great Twitter project being led by Chris Leach, a primary school teacher in Northants. His class, along with other local schools, will be tweeting as the main characters in the Gunpowder Plot – leading up to the attempt to blow up Parliament on 5th November 1605.
Characters include: Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Wintour, John Wright, Christopher Wright and Ambrose Rookwood, as well as the Earl of Salisbury and even King James I himself.
The project can be followed on Twitter by going here : http://twitter.com/chrisleach78/gunpowdertweetingplot
You can also keep an eye on #gtp2010 hashtag
It’s a great idea – and one that demonstrates a novel way of using Twitter with a primary school class. I’d be interested to hear from other teachers that are trying similar projects to help their students really understand the characters involved in historical or literary events.Read More