George Lucas Educational Foundation
Technology Integration

5-Minute Film Festival: Twitter in Education

Twitter has become a powerful tool for teaching and learning. VideoAmy offers up a playlist of videos that will help you learn to use the social platform for networking, sharing resources, and more.

November 23, 2012

I think it's fair to say that Twitter can no longer be dismissed as a trivial passing fad. Though I had dabbled with a personal account, my entire opinion changed when I started my @VideoAmy account and dove into the conversations educators were engaged in. While some people certainly do tweet about what they're having for breakfast, teachers, administrators, and educational organizations use Twitter in a whole different way—making smart use of those 140 characters to share resources, wisdom, and inspiration.

With the wealth of information out there, you have to cut through the noise a little to figure out how it will work best for you. PLN-building? Classroom discussions? Home-to-school communications? Keeping abreast of trends? All of the above? The videos in the playlist below will give you a primer on how to use some of the features on Twitter, and then a few ideas of the possibilities for teaching and learning.

Video Playlist: Twitter for Teachers

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

  1. To Tweet Or Not To Tweet (07:10)

    If you only have five minutes to spare, this is the one to watch. Educator Marc-André Lalande (@malalande) makes the case for Twitter in education, while keeping it light and fun. I highly recommend it, and not just because @Edutopia is mentioned ;-).

  2. Twitter Search in Plain English (03:38)

    I'm a big fan of CommonCraft's paper-cut animation explainer videos, which make complex topics understandable. They have a great video called "Twitter in Plain English" that goes over the basics, but I thought this one that delves into search was useful for intermediate users.

  3. Twitter for Teachers -- What Do I Post? (03:17)

    Coming up with good and useful tweets can be intimidating for beginners. This video is an excerpt from EDBuzz's paid PD program, Twitter for Teachers in 15 Minutes, and gives you some insight on the different kinds of content you can post.

  4. Four Great Twitter Apps for Teachers Using Twitter in the Classroom (03:51)

    Let's say you're already a believer and you use Twitter with your students, but you want to explore additional tools. This video briefly goes over four apps: GroupTweet, FollowerWonk, and Twtpoll. There's an accompanying article for more information and lesson ideas.

  5. Using Twitter to Build a PLN (05:30)

    A social studies teacher from Wisconsin describes how he has re-invigorated his passion for knowledge by using Twitter to grow his personal learning network, or PLN. He connects with educators around the world to share resources and best practices.

  6. Teacher Tips: Using Twitter in the Classroom (03:39)

    The background jazz is a little loud, but this video is still useful -- a teacher explains how he uses Twitter to streamline communications with his students, parents, and colleagues. They simply follow what's happening in his class from a feed to their mobile phones.

  7. Academic Excellence in 140 Characters (05:38)

    Rey Junco (@reyjunco) is a professor who researches how social media use affects college students. While his work is not specific to K-12, there's much to be gleaned from his study on how Twitter can affect engagement and grades (PDF). This video gives an overview of his findings.

  8. Twitter in the Classroom on CNN (02:32)

    In this clip from CNN, urban educator Enrique Legaspi (@enriqueglegaspi) talks about how the micro-blogging site helps his disadvantaged students find their voice. He has a BYOT (bring your own technology) policy but also offers classroom computers for those who need it.

  9. Twitter in the Classroom? (01:56)

    With help from the DigMe program at the University of Minnesota, Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis has been incorporating digital tools into its classrooms to teach kids 21st-century communications skills. Hear from teachers and students about how the way they work is changing.

  10. Connecting With Educators Online Using Twitter (04:30)

    #EduAwesome teacher and edcamp organizer Bill Selak (@billselak) describes how Twitter has allowed him to take back his professional development and transform his teaching and learning practice. Spot the cameo appearances by Edutopia's Elana Leoni (@elanaleoni) and several Edutopia bloggers!

  11. Twitter for Teachers (10:40)

    EdTech blogger Erin Klein (@KleinErin) created this nuts and bolts overview of Twitter, including a useful primer on education chats like #edchat and #ntchat, a good explanation of hashtags, and a brief intro to Hootsuite, which, like Tweetdeck, is a great free management platform for power users.

  12. Flutter: The New Twitter (03:44)

    If you're still with me, you deserve a laugh after watching all those screencasts. This mockumentary about the new nano-blogging site Flutter -- for people who don't have enough time for Twitter -- cracked me up.

More Resources for Twitter in Education

I could go way overboard here with resources about Twitter for educators -- a quick Google search will lead you to thousands of articles, infographics, and blog posts. But excellent education curator Larry Ferlazzo has already compiled a great list of links; see my first bullet below. So I've kept it to just a few of my favorites. If you're already on Twitter, leave a link to your handle in the comments -- I'd love to follow you. Or join up and follow me at @VideoAmy, and I'll see you in the Twitterverse!

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