Spending time with other teachers provides a great opportunity for the sharing of resources and experiences, the exchange of advice, and offers a way to discover new teaching ideas that can be used with students. However the reality is that many teachers simply don’t have the time for this type of professional development. This is where social media channels, such as Twitter, can make a difference.
Twitter can offer an excellent alternative to face-to-face peer meetings for time-poor teachers. Along with finding links to useful resources and staying up-to-date on the latest curriculum news, educators using Twitter can also ‘meet’ fellow teachers not just from their local area but from all over the world, providing the chance to share learning and teaching experiences with others.
Joining a Twitter conversation
New to Twitter? Not sure where to start? Joining and contributing to a conversation is a great starting point for educators. A Twitter conversation is an organised discussion around a certain theme that is characterised by the use of a pre-determined ‘hashtag’. Using the hashtag symbol (#) turns a word into a link, making it easier to find and follow a specific conversation. No one person ‘owns’ the hashtag, making it an open discussion, although a good conversation is usually chaired by one user to ensure that the discussion stays on track.
Many conversations have agreed start times, where users go online to chat about a certain topic for an agreed duration of time. To join in the conversation, Twitter users simply tweet questions or ‘replies’ using the agreed hashtag, meaning that their tweet can be seen by anyone following the conversation and therefore engaged with.
A hashtag conversation doesn’t ‘disappear’ once the chat has finished of course, so for those who couldn’t join in at the time, it can be searched for afterwards and read through at a more convenient time. Some educational communities are curating their conversations exactly for this purpose, and will create an edited version in Storify or another content sharing tool.
Ready to dive in? Here are hashtags for some conversations that are happening right now!:
As a teacher, do you use Twitter to exchange ideas with fellow educators? Let us know how you use Twitter and if you have any other great hashtag suggestions.