Thursday, 14 January 2016

Teachers, get started with Twitter – you’ll never look back!

Nowadays, in the era of social networking, it is vital for a teacher to get on to Twitter in order to find out what is happening in education. I have learned SO much from Twitter and am connected to fantastic educators all over the world as a result of using it. This post will show you how to get started. 

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social networking service that allows its users to send and read short 140-character messages known as tweets. It’s a fantastic way to share ideas and learn from other teachers – in fact it’s an indispensable tool for educators around the globe. Once you have got started on Twitter and benefitted from networking with other teachers, you’ll wonder how you survived before that!

1. Head over to http://twitter.com
Fill in your details in the bottom section. 


2. Create your username
Usernames always start with @. When you choose your username don’t make it too long. My advice is to use a  name that links to you.  You might find, like I did that your name has already been used.  So I chose @fibeal  because it was the nearest version I could think of.  Ask yourself how you would like your PLN (Personal Learning network) to recognise you by your name choice. 


3. Edit your profile

Go to ‘Edit profile’ and create a bio that captures the heart of how you want to be seen.  Here are six samples.



4. Add a photo of yourself
The placeholder in Twitter is an egg. Please don’t leave yourself as an egghead! This year I am using a Twitter account for my ICT classes and I haven’t used a photo but rather words.  However a good example of a classroom tweeter to follow is @YollisClass 


5. Add a cover image as well if you like
Here is an example of a lovely landscape background. 


6. Find educators to follow
Do some searching and click on the “FOLLOW” button beside anyone you want to connect with. Start with those mentioned above. I can help you with a few others by giving you some of my favourites to follow from other countries. The best thing to do is to see who others follow and see what they post about and whether it appeals to you.
@rmbyrne
@edutopia
@coolcatteacher
@ICTmagic
@kylepace
@sylviaduckworth
@edtechteam
@mauilibrarian2
@MindShiftKQED
@alicekeeler
I could name so many more but this is a good start.

7. Tell your network you are on Twitter
Add a short tweet of not more than 140 characters and introduce yourself in any way you like. Start sharing information that you find interesting. Add somebody’s Twitter handle (e.g. @schoolnetsa) in your first tweet so we can respond to you. For example you might say:

@schoolnetsa I have just joined Twitter! Excited! Who do you suggest I follow?

We’ll reply to you!

8. Use https://bitly.com/to shorten links
Sometimes blog links can be very long. Using an application like Bit.ly shortens them so that you still have space to write a few words. You can even do this without signing up to bit.ly. 


9. Spend a short time every day tweeting 
You’ll start to build a great network who will become important to you – and you’ll learn SO much. Here are three tweet examples. The first one is a plain tweet. You'll notice in the second one that you can add an image to a tweet. In the third tweet you'll see that you can retweet a tweet and quote it. 




A YouTube tutorial
Here is a five minute YouTube tutorial on getting started with Twitter. It is fairly old but it gives you the general idea.


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