As an elementary principal, a plethora of topics cross my path every single day… assessments, grading, reading strategies, math practices, school safety, school improvement, technology, behavior, interventions, and the list goes on and on. Although it’s not possible to be an “expert” at all of them, people do expect intelligent answers from me on these topics on a daily basis. I really need some great resources so that I can find the information, research, and trends about any of those topics quickly and efficiently. Twitter has proven to be an awesome tool in helping me organize this!
My first experience with Twitter was rather boring. I followed a few friends, but following their daily activities certainly didn’t really help make my day more efficient. So I did some research. I found a short little “getting started with Twitter for professional development” article that got me started. One of the first suggestions was to create your account and search and follow as many resources and people that you can think of. And he specifically said… not just 5, go for 50, 100…. And don’t be uncomfortable when they follow you back. Then just sit back and observe what happens.
Getting Started-So, after I added a few family members to follow, I searched for:
- Organizations that I often turn to for information, like IDOE, AdvancEd, IASP, local newspapers…
- Names of experts in the field of education like Marzano, Kelly Gallagher, Kathy Schrock, Fountas & Pinnel, Smekens…
- Names of online resources that I use often like LiveBinders, Prezi, BrainPop, Shelfari...
- And of course I looked for some fun ones too like favorite books, movies, TV, authors, motivational quotes, sports updates… the possibilities are endless….
FavoritesStill being just the observer, I found that the information that now appeared on my Twitter feed was fascinating. I was seeing snippets of information that was pertinent to my role as a principal, and I found myself saying… “I could use that” or “I want to read that, but not right now.”
And I found the “Favorite” function! By simply clicking on the Favorite option, I had a place to store the links to resources that I could follow up on later… my own little filing cabinet!
Hashtags and SearchesThen I started wondering about how I could use those hashtags. I found that instead of waiting for information to just appear on my Twitter feed, I could search for topics that interested me. By noting the hashtags used in some of my Tweets, I could figure out what to search for.
Hmmm, I tried searching for #CCSS, and I found that I could transform my Twitter feed into Tweets ONLY about Common Core standards!
And from this list, I also found some great new resources to follow. I clicked on the Reading Rockets Tweet and chose “Follow”! Now I have another great source of information added to my Twitter Feed!
I also noticed that many of the hashtags referred to Conferences and workshops that I didn’t have the time or funds to attend. By searching that hashtag, I could get a closer look at the presenters, presentations, and resources that were shared at that Conference:
I also noticed a lot of hashtags that included the word “chat.”
And I also noticed that I could sort of follow conversations that seemed to be happening between all the Tweets. But it seemed way too confusing to follow a chat with all the other Tweets on the Twitter feed! But Indiana eLearning provided a Tweet that helped me figure that out:
I went to the beginner tips link…
And decided to give TweetDeck and the INeLearn Weekly Chat a try! I met some new people that I decided to Follow. I had a brief conversation with an author from Minnesota who I now follow. And I learned how to make another feature of Twitter work for me!
Next Steps-So my advice to you… teacher, administrator or student… is to give Twitter a try. I have Twitter also on my phone and my Kindle. I read through my Twitter feeds while I’m waiting for appointments, and other spare moments. I mark my favorites and go back to revisit them when I have the chance.
My morning starts out with Tweets:
--that motivate my day:
--that keep me up to date on the latest news from our local TV and newspaper:
--that keep me healthy:
Sometimes I get a pleasant surprise, like the other day when @IXL Learning Re-tweeted the following:
And I realized, hey that’s my cousin! So I now follow Brad and the learning activities of his 4th graders!
And then, of course, keeping track of your kids is also a plus of Twitter. And they occasionally surprise you with a Tweet that makes your day, like this one tweeted by my daughter at Purdue!
I know I'm just a beginner at Twitter. I still tend to be more of a "taker" of information, rather than a "giver". But I encourage you to create your Twitter account, search for something you're interested in, and start Following! I am @naellis1202 and you can Follow me too!