By John Heffernan
Twitter is a tool that allows you to communicate to many like-minded individuals. It has become very popular with some teachers to share information, links and ideas. Twitter is a service to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of text (SMS) type messages. People write short messages, called “tweets” of 140 characters similar to a text message. These messages are posted to your profile on twitter.com and sent to your followers.
Following someone on twitter simply means receiving their Twitter updates. When you follow someone, every time they post a new message, it will appear in your Twitter homepage. New messages are added to your homepage as people post them, so you always get the updates in real time. When you log in, you can see what the latest updates are. You can also protect your updates to prevent people you don’t wish to be followed by to see your updates.
After you click the follow button on someone’s Twitter profile, you’re following them. The follow button will change to a box that says “Following” with a drop down option to remove a person if you want to. On your Twitter homepage’s sidebar, you can keep track of people you’re following.
This DigiTeach Article is a short introduction to Twitter, and it was largely compiled by using Twitter. I asked a number of teachers and people involved in education that I follow on Twitter to answer four questions on their use of Twitter:
- How do you define/describe/explain Twitter?
- How do you use Twitter?
- How has Twitter proved useful to you?
- What one piece of advice/observation/comment would you give to a teacher new to Twitter?
You can view their replies (as tweets) in the Prezi presentation below, or you can view the presentation directly at http://prezi.com/116404/view). To begin, click the ‘play’ symbol in the centre of the presentation, then use the controls in the bottom right-hand corner to navigate (you can also ‘drag’ the presentation and use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out).
I hope that the replies are useful and that they encourage you to start twittering.
The next step is to go to twitter.com and create an account. To follow any of the teachers in the presentation just enter their name in Find People and click follow once you’ve found them.
- A useful document for Teachers and Twitter is http://www.scribd.com/doc/14062777/Twitter-Handbook-for-Teachers
- Interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom: http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=dhn2vcv5_118cfb8msf8
- 9 great reasons to use Twitter: http://mrslwalker.com/index.php/2009/03/29/nine-great-reasons-why-teachers-should-use-twitter/