In my Digital Citizenship lesson about Private vs. Personal information sharing, we discuss how to make good choices about what we choose to share with others online. Personal information, like a shadow, provides an outline of who we are without giving away any specific details (e.g. one’s age, favorite food, or pets name). Private information, like a mirror image, provides specific details about ourselves (e.g. full name, street address, date of birth). I already use a Google Drawing template of a Facebook profile (adapted from a Historical Facebook template) that students fill out. Students must ask themselves the question each time: is the information Private or Personal? Now we have another social media profile template: Twitter.
The Twitter fictional account template is another Google Drawing file that students can copy use the File -> Make a copy… tool. The template asks students to select a profile picture and background image. In addition to name and username, students need to provide a small write-up for their bio as well as links to their location, website, and birthdate. The template also provides up to three follower profile templates for students to fill out. Because anyone can search Twitter without an account, it is even more important that students carefully consider the information they choose to share on their profile.
I recently read a blog post by Richard Byrne on his FreeTech4Teachers blog (if you haven’t subscribed, you should), about using Twitter to search for educational content, resources, and ideas. First off, you do not need a Twitter account to search their system for resources, so this tip can work for anyone. The key is to take advantage of the built-in indexing system that Twitter uses called hashtags. Hashtags are keyword labels used to mark posts so that they will show up in a search by that keyword. Unlike a Google Search where the results are determined by algorithms, these results come from real people who have found resources and liked them enough that they took the time to share (a.k.a. ‘tweet’) them with others.
Great, but we are still dealing with a lot of information from a lot of sources. How can a teacher focus their search for educational content? Enter this fantastic website by Jerry Blumengarten. Jerry has amassed an impressive list of education-related hashtags to choose from. To speed up your search of Jerry’s page, use your browser’s ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F for WIN, Cmd+F for MAC) to see if there is a hashtag based on the topic you are interested in. When you find a hashtag that fits, copy-&-paste it into the Twitter search box and let the results start pouring in!
- If you are a Google Chrome user, then you can customize the omnibox search tool (that big bar at the top of the browser window) to quickly search databases like Twitter. Click here for more info.
This tutorial will show how to customize the Omnibox Search Tool in Google Chrome so that you can search specific sites and/or databases from the URL address bar.
A while back I talked about Twitter and shared some resources to help teachers get started with using this social media tool, what I called Twitter 101. Now, thanks to a post that recently came across my Twitter feed from Kelly Dumont, I found a great article that talks about some of the more advanced tools, tips, and tricks that are hidden inside Twitter.
In 15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Twitter Ninja, Neil Patel covers such topics as how to use Twitter Lists to organize the people you follow into one place, plus how to look up what Twitter Lists other people have added you to. Another great tip to help those who are having difficulty building up their Twitter network is to use hashtags in your Twitter bio. I highly recommend you check out this blog post for more information on these and the other 13 tips to help you become a Twitter Ninja.
Twitter is one of many social networking services out there on the web that teachers have realized has possibilities for classroom integration. Resources have cropped up to help teachers, students, and parents learn how to use Twitter and the positive ways that it can be applied to teaching and learning. Edutopia recently published a great article containing two such resources:
The first is a special hashtag used within Twitter itself by users who want to share helpful tips, guides, and resources for teachers and parents new to the Twitter-verse. If you already have an account then you can perform a search using the hashtag #Nt2T (New Teachers to Twitter) in the website’s search bar to view this ever-growing list. If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, you can still access the hashtag resources by clicking here.
The second is a Twitter 101 eCourse by Joe Mazza. There are five parts to the eCourse, starting with the basics and working up to finding and connecting with others in the Twitter-verse. Each part contains an embedded YouTube video to walk you through the information.
A final resource is one that I’ve blogged about in the past: Mom, This is How Twitter Works. This site explains the vocabulary, how replies work, what it means to retweet, hashtags, and more. Each description comes with clear examples to illustrate the term and/or concept. Check out my blog post here or go directly to the site.
Today, most conferences and workshops deploy a Twitter hashtag for attendees to use during the event to share what they’ve learned, are getting excited about, or what they’ve thought as just plain cool. This also helps those in charge of the event by giving them a medium for receiving feedback about individual sessions, speakers, and how the overall experience went.
As part of a Summer Institute run by the York Schools Department, I have been helping to build the website for Part 2 of this 4-day event called the GAFE Peak site. I was asked to embed a Twitter feed that would follow our hashtag: #gafepeak, and while there was a gadget in the past that supported this it has since been removed. However, thanks to a handy tutorial on YouTube by Chantelle Leavett and Twitter’s Widgets tool I was able to pull it off.
For those of you who may not know, Twitter is a popular social networking service that allow users to share news, events, and links with one another via posts that must be 140 characters or less. Some people use Twitter to share resources with colleagues within their own PLN (Personal Learning Network). Others use it to gather feedback from a workshop, conference, or professional development event. But how do you know the rules for what to “tweet,” to whom you want the tweet to go to, and how information is shared?
Enter Jessica Hische, who has created a great visual tutorial with examples and clear explanations on how to use Twitter. Jessica walks you through who see what when you tweet, how is direct messaging different from regular tweeting, what re-tweets are, how hashtags work, and the difference between Twitter and Facebook. Each example comes with screenshots that represent what the actual Twitter post would look like in the instance being described. I’ve been a Twitter user since 2007 and I was shocked by what I did not know about Twitter after reading Jessica’s tutorial.
My thanks to Richard Byrne over a Free Technology for Teachers for sharing this resource via, what else, a tweet on Twitter.