Twitter: from “It’s Complicated” to BFFs

I first met Twitter in 2009. Looking back at those first few years, it was a casual relationship. I would occasionally follow, tweet and retweet (RT!) local professionals and friends that would help me grow awareness of my Kumon Math and Reading Centre. In our tight-knit town of Georgetown, Ontario, it was another way of marketing a local business. Looking back, however, I wasn’t very good at it! I was rather like a high school friend that you hear from every year or two and hope you have something in common.

Fast forward to 2015. I’ve closed my business, was accepted to the University of Regina for my B.Ed, and am moving halfway across Canada. Social media has blown up, and Tweets, Instagram and Facebook have all gone through several overhauls. All of a sudden, I have become acutely aware that Tweeting is a thing! Radio and TV stations use it for contests! In what seems like overnight, people are connecting online constantly. More than that, at least in Saskatchewan, it seems like Twitter is THE WAY to connect in education: with your PLN, through class to class engagements, and keeping on top of new #edtech trends and educational news.

I liked this new Twitter! And for the following reasons, I rekindled my relationship with Twitter:

  • I found lots of Educational Publications to follow – @edutopia@MindShiftKQED@MediaSmarts, to name a few.
  • I love connecting, and now there were SO many like-minded individuals and organizations sharing educational innovations – for instance,  @ONTSpecialNeeds, @kwhobbes, and @MmeSanders.
  • Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that before I even started my first class for my B.Ed, I was instructed to tweet and blog by a very persuasive professor – @kbhildebrandt.

Almost 9 months later, I love Twitter. We are BFFs, and I am on it several times a day. I am learning new ways to use it in my #ECMP355 Technology in the Classroom course, and still have a lot to learn. I know there are many opinions on how to use (and not use) it, but I like to:

  1. Quickly find the news that I want to read about. Yes, there are other apps, but why not multitask and get my news at the same time?
  2. Retweet and favorite lots of cool ideas and articles, showing support for my PLN.
  3. Use it in the classroom to connect students to others

This last one will be important as I move forward into internship and teaching. There are many articles on this, but here are 30 ways to use Twitter in the classroom. I think using Twitter to connect with other classrooms is really important, especially in rural Saskatchewan where the local highschool draws students from 3-4 feeder schools from different small towns. In a grade 8 class, why not engage two or more classes from different schools in discussions or problem solving activities and start building relationships before joining up for Grade 9?

Do you have cool problem solving activities that can be done over Twitter? Other ideas for connecting students? Please let me know!





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