Twitter for Teachers
posted by: Alix | June 28, 2011, 09:02 PM   

The internet has revolutionized everything in our lives, from paying bills to shopping and everything in between. Education is now well on its way to being revolutionized by online learning with teachers nationwide taking advantage of new, emerging and often free internet resources. One service in particular that is gaining popularity among teachers is Twitter, the micro-blogging site that allows users to communicate via 140 character transmissions.

We know students are using social media to get a step ahead in their classes, and now teachers are wising to the possibilities Twitter can bring to the classroom. For example, educator Gerald Aungst, supervisor of gifted education in Pennsylvania's Cheltenham School District, used Twitter to seek advice about an online teaching program for foreign languages. Within minutes, he had received input from foreign language teachers nationwide.

With older students, teachers are able to answer course content questions from students via-Twitter, allowing their entire class to follow the newsfeed. These chains of messaging don't even require a computer. Tech-savvy teachers can answer questions and be available to students all through smart-phone Twitter applications.

Beyond using Twitter for contact with students, teachers are beginning to use Twitter as forum for education discussion. "For me, Twitter has been a way to connect with a lot of other educators around the country and even around the world," Mr. Aungst said about the service. "It's been a way for me to extend the conversation about education and practice in the classroom beyond my immediate circle of people in my district."

It's evident that Twitter is not just for use for student-teacher interaction but a gateway to professional development. Teachers can collaborate, ask questions, and discuss new education developments all in one easy to use service. The fun part of the 140 character limit makes messaging clear, to the point, and a perfect match for the busy teacher on the go.

Have a question about your planned lesson? Send it out into the Twitter universe with some education hash-tags and come back from lunch with a plethora of two sentence answers from fellow teachers and education insiders.

Mary Beth Hertz, an elementary technology teacher at Alliance for Progress charter school in Philadelphia said her Twitter "colleagues" are huge help to her. "These are people that I trust and people who are in the same field as I am," she said. "They're educators, they know what I'm dealing with, so when I ask them a question, I know this is coming from somebody who understands my point of view and my situation."

Clearly Twitter can be not only a tool to stay available to students, but a practical resource for teachers looks for tips and advice. As days get longer and departments get smaller, teachers can only benefit from the free and insightful dialogue that Twitter provides.

Do you use Twitter to collaborate with fellow teachers?
Comment below.

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