I used Tech Tuesday to talk with teachers about Twitter. As we talked, I found that they were concerned about using Twitter at school. As the conversations played out, people started thinking about how they might use twitter. Our initial thoughts were to get them to use Twitter for themselves and see that there are ways to connect with many people all over the world that share their common interests. Our hope is that they grow their following, connect with great people, learn and share information, and then start to think of ways to implement in the school setting. I have struggled to see where schools are using Twitter on any large scale, so it is hard for me to start pushing them directly into using Twitter for a school-only experience. Twitter can be one of the tools that helps them grow.
When introducing teachers to Twitter, I began by sharing some valuable web sources. I started with Twitter in Plain English, by Common Craft, the Twitter4Teachers Wiki, and 30 Essential Twitter Tutorials for Newbies and Experts. These resources are good places for teachers to go to start learning new Twitter skills, as well as locating other experts in their field of interest. I shared with them how to do "people searches", how to follow people, how to create lists - so that they can organize the people they follow, how to look at people others followed, and much more. I tried to keep things simple - as Twitter can be a little bit much if you jump in to quickly.
I asked the new users to follow me and told them I'd follow them back. I had them follow our school (@dublinjeromehs), the school district (@dublinschools), and mentioned some other area groups they could follow. Many had friends that they knew were using Twitter - so those were easy people to add. I am interested to see how many will keep going with Twitter and what they find beneficial over the next few weeks and months. I think there are great resources to be obtained and shared through Twitter and hope that my colleagues can learn as much using Twitter as I have.
I am currently looking for schools and school districts that use Twitter. I am interested in observing the way they Tweet and seeing possible uses for our schools and district. My administration and I are working to figure out the best ways to utilize this form of communication, so that teachers, parents, students, and all interested in our building could "follow" us to see the great things that go on. Twitter can be a powerful tool to inform the community. Hopefully, we'll see some exciting ways to make it happen.