Using Twitter as a Professional Development Tool

(Getting ready for our Gouverneur Teach Like a Pirate Book Study)
This quick post is for anyone who wants to get up and running  using Twitter to expand your PLN (Personal/Professional Learing Network) and connect with great people, worldwide.  Make it a global learning experience!
Twitter has become a very popular tool in the education world as a professional development tool.  Gone is the day when you follow Ashton Kutchner, Nicky Minaj, George Clooney, or any other celebrity to follow what they are doing day-in and day-out.  Twitter has launched a revolution, not only in the education world, but literally world wide as we have seen with the Arab Spring.
I have listed some easy steps and “to do’s” to get you up and going in the land of Twitter.  Be ready to be inspired, invigorated, and rejuvenated.
1.  How do I create a Twitter profile?  Go to Twitter and open an account.  https://twitter.com Twitter will ask you for a username or “handle.”  It is something that tells us who you are and unique to you.  I use @VictoriaL_Day, my name.  It’s easy for me to remember when I log in.
2.  How do I upload a picture?  I think using a picture of yourself is very important, especially when you start going to conferences and tweet-up with people in your PLN. You can do this under “settings” up at the right-hand upper corner.  Pull down and go to settings then to profile.  You can also add a header.  I am using the view from Corfu when I made my trip last summer to Albania.  It’s unique to me.  I also do use a current photo of myself.  I was using my violin “vanity” shot but then switch when I had to go to a national conference and meet folks.  (I don’t look like the violin “vanity” photo now, but I do keep it active on this blog.. Sigh)
3. What should I write about myself?  In your profile, there is an area for your bio.  I put in what I do, that I am a violinist, breast cancer survivor, wife and a fun auntie. I listed @EastElementary because this is the school I lead. I also linked my blog that you are reading now so folks can click right to the page.  Make it unique to what you want it to be.
4. Who do I follow?  Well, me of course.  You can start by doing a search up top and typing in a name or twitter handle using the @ sign.   A good place to search who to follow is to see who others are following.  For instance, under my page you will see “Tweet”, “Following”, and “Followers”.  You can click to see who I am following and who is following me and what I am tweeting out to folks.  That is the easiest way to start following folks as well as seeing who I am tweeting to.
5.  So, how do you tweet someone?  Very simple – you place their handle in the message: @VictoriaL_Day and then write.  Just like texting.  You always have to have the @ sign and handle within the message so this gets to the person.  That person will be “dotted” with a blue dot in their “connect” pull-down option on the left side of the twitter page.
6.  But, I want to start following and chat.  So how do you do that?  When a chat is happening, you need what is called a “hashtag”.  The symbol used is # with the designated chat identity.  For instance, every Saturday morning at 7:30a.m.EST, the #satchat crew starts chatting for an hour.  You type in the hashtag #satchat in the search and then you can start following.  Just a reminder that you always have to refresh the twitter feed.  My advice is to lurk first, see how this works.
 
7. How do I start chatting? The rule to follow and always remember is that if you are in a chat and want others to see it, you need to have the hashtag of the chat within your text.  This was hard to remember when I first started.  Once you start, you’ll have a hard time stopping.
8.  What chats do you recommend?  I participate in #nyedchat #satchat #educoach #iaedchat   #tlap #mindset13 #naesp13 #edchat, #ptchat, the list goes on and on.  @cyrbraryman1 has a great page for Twitter chats.  Responsive Classroom will be hosting chats in the future.  @responsiveclass will start tweeting a chat as well so follow these hashtag – #askRC #ResponsiveClassroom #RCchat #MorningMeeting9.  But this is Social Media.  I’m afraid to post.  Yes it is Social Media (SM) but a rule of thumb is this, anything you post whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or a blog or a comment on a blog is a footprint.  Just think of it this way, do I want my parents of students, staff and my family reading this, then you will be safe.  Also, be kind – it is okay to agree to disagree in chats, but we are here to learn.  Be nice.  Diane Ravitch has a great post about posting comments on her blog.  Rules to follow! Edutopia has a great page about creating Social Media guidelines here: http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school
Here are some MAVENS to follow: – HAVE FUN!!
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  1. #1 by Jeffrey Bradbury on August 16, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    This is a great post. Thank you for including me!

    http://www.TeacherCast.net
    @TeacherCast

    Jeff

  2. #2 by Victoria L. Day on August 17, 2013 - 12:35 am

    You bet Jeff. What you provide for all of us is AWESOME!! Great to have you in my PLN! Vicki

  3. #3 by Paul on August 17, 2013 - 2:28 am

    Great post! I'll be linking my Twitter for Educators page to it! http://psolarz.weebly.com/twitter-for-educators.html Thank you!

  4. #4 by Victoria L. Day on August 18, 2013 - 6:47 pm

    Thanks Paul for linking the post and sharing it with others. Much appreciated!

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