Twitter For Teachers: Part 1

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If you’re looking for up-to-date teaching ideas but don’t have hours to comb through websites, Twitter is your one-stop-shop.  Here are some tips to get you grooving into the Twitterverse.

1. Sign up for Twitter. It’s free and simple.  You have to choose a username; mine is @harlenwrites. You can use @yourname or @alias.  Just remember we’re teachers and we have to be especially responsible with our social media identities,  so something like @hot4teachrr or @ilovecoorslight aren’t your best choices.  Just sayin’.

2. Follow and read, don’t post—yet.  It took me a year to feel comfortable enough to send a tweet.  A Twitter-savvy friend told me she uses it for news, sports and pop culture but didn’t send tweets.  That was a safe place for me to start, so I followed some of the people she followed and didn’t do much but read. I encourage you to do the same.  Find out what people are saying, how they are saying it and become familiar with the lingo. Here are the basics:

  • Rt = retweet (You like what someone said, so you want to send it out to those who follow you, too.)
  • # = hashtag (a way of indexing conversation topics. More on that in #3.)
  • Favorite = press the star to say you really like what this person has to say and you want to remember it.  It’s like a virtual thumb’s up. Your Twitter account has a special area for your favorites, so you easily can find it later.  If you really, really like it, retweet and mark it as a favorite.

3.  Hashtags are #awesome and #important.  Hashtags serve different purposes.  One purpose is to give your tweets an audience. For example, if you are tweeting about a lesson, you could use #edchat or #edtech, depending on the type of lesson. People who search for this hashtag will read your tweet.

Another purpose of a hashtag is to give you something to search. For example, I search for #engchat when I want to see what’s going on with English teachers. There are tons of hashtags dealing with education. These are websites I reference frequently when I’m tweeting:

Cheat Sheet: Twitter For Teachers

Cybrary Man

Hashtags also allow you to participate in Twitter chats.  I’ll have more on that in Twitter For Teachers: Part 2, but in the meantime, you can check this out for more information: Utilizing Twitter Chats for Professional Development.

If you are ready to launch into the Twitterverse and want more info, you can simply search “twitter for teachers” or try these websites:

The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook for Teachers

Why Teachers Should Try Twitter

Northwestern Lehigh School District Wiki

Free Twitter Handbook For Teachers

Finally, here’s a great graphic with 11 tips for using Twitter effectively.

If you still aren’t totally sold on a personal Twitter account, a fabulous option is Tweet Chat.  You can type in a hashtag and see what people are talking about without having to sign up.

Twitter For Teachers Part 2 will cover chats and lists.

Be sure to follow me @harlenwrites.  Hope to retweet and favorite your great ideas soon!

About Heather Harlen

Heather is the writer of the HOPE YOU GUESS MY NAME: A THRILLER (Book 1 of the Marina Konyeshna Thrillogy) and teacher who is trying to make every day count without burning out. Look for SHAME, SHAME, I KNOW YOUR NAME (BOOK 2 of the Marina Konyeshna Thrillogy) in early 2017 (Northampton House Press). www.heatherharlen.com

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