Transforming learning through global collaboration
Those of you who didn't grow up in the South may not know that "twitterpated" is a real word. It is defined in the dictionary as to be overcome by, smitten. I'm wondering today how smitten most of you have become by Twitter. Although I became an official member of the Twittersphere in 2009, I have to say, I have tried to ignore it as much as possible. While I know that it is a vibrant political tool in other countries, I often see Twitter use in the United States as a reflection of this old YouTube video, Trouble with Twitters, which, in an amusing way, portrays Twitter as random, irrelevant shouting.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, save us time - right?! If you watched the video, you might be thinking, "I know that Facebook often degenerates into over-shared minutiae, but Twitter is a professional conversation." I guess my point in this blog is that it should be.
When I registered for my Twitter account, I received advice from actively twitterpated peers on some of the most well-respected, educational thinkers to "follow." Digging in my heels, determined to make good use of Twitter, now that I am a part of Flat Classroom, I began diligently following my account and making an effort to occasionally post something valuable I had learned. To my chagrin, I still found myself feeling that much of Twitter was an insatiable beast gobbling up my precious time! The Edublog Twitterer of the Year (not sure which year) had an endless stream of twitters such as, "I'm sitting in the airport now."
After giving Twitter most of my waking thought for the past week, my conclusion is that Twitter is an extremely valuable tool; for project communication, sharing rare insights and tools, in fact, the ultimate RSS feed. But Twitter will only be that valuable tool if we, as educators, make a commitment to create that and teach quality tweeting practices to our students. We are constantly looking at Best Practices in the rest of education. Why not Twitter? Here are a couple of sites with great ideas on how to use Twitter in class, but none that talk about quality tweeting.
My great epiphany came today when I realized that I could follow people talking about my more esoteric passions, not just my specific job. (Guess I'm kind of slow) The surprising thing I found? That most of these people spend more time sharing professional information and talking less about their personal lives.
I want to challenge you today to put together your own list of Best Practices for Educational Twitter. And tell me your favorite way to use Twitter now. I'd love to know!