This is our third consecutive post on Twitter. Now that you have a roadmap on how to use Twitter in your classroom and after you have identified with the different educational hashtags you need to follow as a teacher, let us share with you some ideas on how to leverage the power of this social platform for professional development purposes.
Talking about using social networking to grow professionally brings to mind LinkedIn. This is an undeniably powerful network that is more professionally focused ( you can read more about the educational uses of LinkedIn HERE ) but Twitter has also its own attraction that we can not ignore. It a huge base of users and is probably much known among teachers and educators than LinkedIn. I personally use both of them with a slight preference of Twitter over LinkedIn. Anyway, let us now share with you some thoughts on how to use Twitter for professional development purposes :
1- Create a strong profile page
The first thing to do is to let people know about you and your interests. The more descriptive your bio is the better chances you have to be followed by like-minded people . If you have a blog or website than link to it and let others discover it.
2- Keep your profile professional
One of the mistakes some teachers do is that they create one account and share everything in it. It is better to delimit your social networking territory by creating two accounts one for personal uses and another for professional development objectives, in this way you will have your tweets organized and you will get more focused.
3- Proper use of etiquette
As an educator , etiquette should not be an issue at all. You will not teach your students about ethical use of online information and breach it , it just does not make sense. Make sure you credit the sources of your tweets and avoid spamming. If you do not have anything to say then don't say anything.You should also be courteous, thank people when they help you and show gratitude for their assistance.
4- Know who to follow
Don't be obsessed with having a 5 digit number of followers. What counts is quality not quantity. Don't follow people just because they followed you, read their profiles, see what they tweet only then take the decision to follow or not. You should also use tagging appropriately and avoid using it to draw attention of others to follow you. If you want to know some of the must-follow educators on Twitter than I recommend you check this list.
5- Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way for engaging in professional conversations. Get to know the trending hashtags in your field and use those hashtags when you tweet. You can also create your own hashtag to start a new conversation. If you want to see the top educational hashtags then check out this list.
6- Use Twitter Tools
There are several web tools that have been created specifically for Twitter users. These tools can help you perform a wide range of activities you could not otherwise do using Twitter alone. Some of these tools can help you conduct effective searches on Twitter, others turn your twitter into a magazine with recent tweets as prominent headlines, and many more. Check out this List or this one to access some of these tools.
7-Use Twitter for research
Reach out to other educators and ask them for help when you need it, ask for guidance. Keep updated about what others tweet and always make sure you interact with their tweets by favoriting or retweeting. Use the research functionality in twitter to look for resources and links and again you can ask people for help.
8- Share what you read
If you read an interesting book or an article then make sure to share it on your Twitter. People will get to learn from you too and you will get to build an online reputation. This is also a good way to spark academic discussions with your followers.
9- Use Twitter for Teaching and Learning
Here is a great slideshow to walk you through the different steps of how you can use Twitter for teaching and learning.
10- More creative ways to use Twitter