Figuring out the proper way to leverage one of the most popular learning tools on the planet can be tough. We at Edudemic do regular features where we offer tips and advice on how to properly leverage Twitter. If you’re a student, parent, or teacher, Twitter can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal of learning resources. So we figured a few Twitter tips for students and others might be in order.
Twitter can open up new worlds to just about anyone involved in education. Parents can connect with one another and their children’s teachers, students can collaborate or participate in hashtag chats, and teachers can build a robust professional / personal learning network (PLN).
- Actually complete your bio. You’ll get more mileage out of your Twitter account if you actually create a profile that says something about you, offering potential followers information about your interests, professional or otherwise.
- Learn the basics. Learn the basic terminology for Twitter and the major functions it can perform by doing a little reading on helpful social media blogs beforehand. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Get some style. Before you send out your first tweet, decide what kind of tweeter you want to be. The London School of Economics and Political Science offers up three major styles here so you can learn more about the subject.
- Learn from others. One of the best ways to learn how to use Twitter is to spend some time seeing how others have set up and been using their accounts. Luckily, there are tons of other academics on Twitter to learn from.
- Don’t be mean. The Internet is full of people who are all too happy to say some pretty harsh things, but just because they’re incredibly tactless doesn’t mean you have to be. Never say anything on Twitter you wouldn’t want people to find out about, or wouldn’t say in any other situation. If people are hassling you, ignore them and move on.
- Announce that you’ll be joining a hashtag chat or conference. If you’re going to be tweeting more than usual, let your followers know in advance so they can choose to tune out if they’re not interested in your live tweeting or chatting.
- Actually respond in a reasonable amount of time. If someone asks you a question or directs a tweet your way, respond as soon as you can, just like with email or any other digital communication, especially if you’re using Twitter in your courses.
- Be gracious and say thank you. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way on Twitter. If someone helps you out or shares your research, don’t forget to say thanks.
- Make mistakes. No one is perfect, and if you’re new to Twitter you’re probably going to have a few gaffes along the way as you learn the ropes. That’s OK! Don’t let it slow your enthusiasm for using the social site.
- Start your own hashtag chat. Twitter chats have exploded in popularity in recent months, so get in on the trend while the getting’s good. Start your own chat on an academic topic, or chime in on other bigger existing chats for a chance to network.
- Find and use some hashtags. You’ll make it easier for others to find your tweets if you add a few relevant hashtags here and there.
- Do ‘Follow Friday’. Every Friday, Twitter explodes with suggestions on who to follow. Offer up your own and you may just end up in someone else’s suggestions.
- Share the stuff you’re reading. Reading a story on a site like Edudemic? Found an amazing article in pop-science about your research field? Share it! If it’s interesting, it’ll probably get retweeted and passed around, and you might just interest a student or two to boot.
- Reach out and connect with someone. Not everyone you connect with on Twitter has to be in your field or even in academia. In fact, you might enrich your research and your professional life by reaching out to other fields and professions.
- Do some backchannel talks. Whether you have students post to Twitter during class or ask them to share comments during a presentation, these backchannel talks can help facilitate conversation and provide a record of a shared learning experience.
- Create your own classroom hashtag. One way to keep classroom tweets organized is by having a shared hashtag that all students use. Just make sure no one else is using it!
- Connect Twitter to Moodle or Blackboard. You can help push students to interact using Twitter by adding a Twitter widget to your Blackboard or Moodle site for the class. Follow the instructions here to get started.
- Don’t mandate your students follow you on Twitter. Don’t force students to follow you on Twitter unless it’s part of the course. Let them decide to follow or not.
- Be happy (see #5 above). You don’t have to be super serious on Twitter to earn students’ respect. In fact, loosening up could just help improve your rapport with your students.
- Live-tweet a conference or event (see #6). Share your conference-going experience by tweeting updates about it throughout the day to your followers.
- Share some of your lesson plans. Educators and academics can come together to share and collaborate on lesson plans quite easily using Twitter.
- Collaborate with other teachers / parents / students. If you find you have similar interests with another academic, use Twitter to work together on research ideas, classroom solutions, and other topics.
- Collaborate with other classrooms in your school, district, or another country. Why work alone when you can connect with other college classrooms? That’s just what many college classes are doing these days.
- Host reading discussions. Holding a reading discussion over Twitter gives everyone a chance to chime in, even shy students who might not otherwise speak up.
- Actually use Twitter for writing assignments. Want to teach your students the art of brevity? Assign them poetry or prose to be written on Twitter.
What Twitter tips would you offer? These are just a couple dozen but there are certainly more that should be added! What is the biggest tip you’d offer to a parent? To a student? To a teacher? Share them down in the comments and I’ll update this list!