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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Still don't have a Twitter teacher in your school or district? If not, don't worry. Educators have two new supports when it comes to learning the ropes of Twitter:

  1. A new online support community called #Nt2T for new teacher Twitterers
  2. A five-part Twitter 101 eCourse aimed at getting the novice social media user up and connected

And no purchase orders are necessary. Both of these new offerings are absolutely free.

#Nt2T (New teachers 2 Twitter)

Late last year, Julie Szaj (@shyj), Ruta Danyte (@fishtree_edu), Marty Keltz (@martysnowpaw) and Stephan Hughes (@defstef98) were participating in #edchat. They discussed how nice it would be if each of them would bring just one teacher to the next chat -- someone who was hesitant about participating on Twitter to help them get connected. A flurry of tweets were sent back and forth as we discussed the option of creating a whole new chat geared for new teachers to Twitter. It would be a chat where "newbies" could come to be mentored by more experienced users. The hope was to support, encourage, share with and educate the new teachers, helping them build their PLN and confidence so they might feel empowered enough to share their voice in the educational realm to facilitate change. Now that #edchat-bred idea is a reality.

New Teachers to Twitter (#Nt2T) is now a busy little hashtag loaded with the core values, resources and people expressed above. The team has identified a day and time for the chat to take place (every Saturday from 9-10 AM EDT / 6-7 AM PDT). Traci Logue (@Fearless_Teach) has also joined the moderating #Nt2T team. For Twitter newbies, follow twubs.com/Nt2T to take part in the conversation or experience the feed without signing in to Twitter. Follow Nt2T at @Nt2TGlobal for news on upcoming chats, resources, and other events for new teacher Twitterers.

But what if your teachers, parents, and school leaders don't tweet?

Twitter 101 eCourse for Educators and Parents

In creating online learning opportunities for my organization's end-of-year In-Service Days, I produced my first ever eCourse. The offering is aimed to provide the novice Twitter user a general overview of the social media tool, as well as "hand hold" participants through the basic steps of registration and initial connecting to the greater education world. The hashtag #Nt2T is embedded throughout the course with an aim to connect educators and parents to a growing community that's working to become better social media users, while modeling transparency, professional reflection, and lifelong-learning for kids.

You can take this free five-part series, Twitter 101: An eCourse for Educators and Parents, here. Below is an overview of what participants can expect to learn.

Part 1: The Basics
Part 2: The Language of Twitter
Part 3: Registration & Interface Overview
Part 4: Sending a Tweet
Part 5: Finding People & Resources, Taking Control of Your Own Development

Resources and Websites Referred to in the Course

  1. Twitter.com
  2. Twitter 101 Quick Reference Document
  3. [VIDEO] Oak Lawn-Hometown SD’s Use of Twitter
  4. [VIDEO] Using Twitter as a Teacher by @BillSelak
  5. #Nt2T (New Teachers To Twitter) Global Twubs Page
  6. Beginner’s Twitter Page via @cybraryman1
  7. Who to Follow (Develop Your PLN) via @cybraryman1
  8. The Official Weekly Twitter Chat Schedule via @cybraryman1, @thomascmurray & @cevans5095
  9. The Official State Hashtag Chat Google Map
  10. [VIDEO] Importance of Being a Connected Educator/Leader by US. Dept of Ed’s Office of EdTech
  11. "One Stop Shop" Educators Guide to Twitter by @datruss

Participants completing the eCourse will receive a website badge to display as a credential for acquiring this basic yet increasingly critical 21st century skill.

In the comments section below, please share how you encourage your school community's participation on Twitter.

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t_appell's picture

I am pleased to have stumbled across your blog post while completing an assignment for my masters' class in Dynamic Teacher Leadership. The purpose of our assignment was to gain practice using a blog as a networking and learning tool. We were asked to search out and explore blogs relevant to our teaching situation and contribute to the discussion by posting responses. Although I often read blogs that are shared by Edutopia on Twitter, I have not actively engaged in the conversations that have had such a positive impact on my professional learning...until now.

I have 16 years of teaching experience and have a keen interest in instructional technology. As such, I have come to appreciate the value of establishing a professional learning network (PLN) via Twitter. I first joined Twitter in September of 2012 but didn't start to really grow my network of influential educators until the fall of 2013. With each new person I followed, the quality of the tweets on my timeline improved and, as such, my learning skyrocketed. My PLN on Twitter helps me to stay abreast of current educational trends and issues, offers guidance for lesson development and improvement, and has significantly contributed to my reflective practice as an educator. The use of Twitter as a means of professional development has helped me to refine my practice and has provided me with an opportunity to positively influence my colleagues as I regularly share my learning experiences with them.

This fall, I will be assuming the role of vice principal in my school division. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this new position of added responsibility and how I can best transition from a teacher leader to an administrator. In addition to my desire to adopt a shared leadership model at my new school (so as to encourage a variety of leadership roles for my staff members), I also want to ensure that I am able to support the professional development of my staff in meaningful ways. Your post has helped to provide me with some direction to this end. I already know the power of a well-established PLN on Twitter, but your post has given me a 'roadmap' of sorts to follow to assist my staff in recognizing Twitter as a professional resource that has the potential to guide and inform their practice. I will make good use of the information contained within your post - it is greatly appreciated!

Finally, I am interested to learn more about establishing a twitter account for my school that can be used to share information with students, their families, and the greater school community. Do you know of any blogs, articles, or discussions that would have useful information in regards to such? I am looking for suggestions as to an appropriate protocol to follow when setting up a school-based account. Thanks in advance for any guidance you may be able to provide!

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