Twittering your way down the information highway

twitter.gif I mentioned Twitter during some staff development sessions on Thursday, and found myself struggling to explain how powerful a tool it can be.

Teach42 has an outstanding post on Twitter that illustrates it far better than I could, so I’m pointing to his post here. (although I’m adding to it)

If you haven’t used Twitter before, it can be a very helpful “networking” tool and place to gather ideas.   And it’s easy to build a network there–find one person, see who they are linking to, and add more people, and pretty soon you have created a network.

This week, I put out a “shout-out” on Twitter during my staff development workshop, asking what makes staff development good, since our teachers were brainstorming about that as well.

Getting answers to that question on Twitter from South Korea, Australia, and here in the U.S. demonstrated to our own teachers how many “universals” there are in education, no matter where you go.  And even though we had been brainstorming about this question during two days, some of the Twitterers still gave fresh answers that we hadn’t considered.  

I know in my own building, perhaps teachers wonder how to find time for a tool like this or how I can find time to use it?  My answer is–it saves me a tremendous amount of time.  When someone comes to me with a question, if I don’t know the answer, I can throw it out to a wide network of educators in my network on Twitter, and almost always get an answer.  As a librarian, my job is to help find information and answer questions, and to be aware of resources out there for teachers and students.  I don’t have to know it all, but I need to know how to find it.
So my question is–How could I not use it?

Check out Teach42’s fascinating illustration of this tool at work.

7 thoughts on “Twittering your way down the information highway

  1. Great post Carolyn! I like your point about “universals” in education — so very true and so very obvious to those of us who have begun networking with other educators around the world using these tools.

    I also like your point about “time.” Twitter is a huge time-saver to me as well. It’s like having access to a constant brainstorming session with lots of participants!

  2. Carolyn,

    “How could I not use it” indeed. Guess I need to move out of my print comfort zone and learn how to twitter. I don’t want to “set in my ways” turn into “fossilized”!


  3. C–I find that when I’ve had an extended absence from my fav networking tools (like reading blogs, twitter, etc.) I can QUICKLY catch up by skimming through my twitter the last few hours…or days (Frridays I don’t not even get to touch my tools b/c I am blocked at school, and i get in the car to drive 3 hours home, and then devote myself to family for the remainder of the evening.) Saturday mornings some time around ten I’ll spend reading over everything I missed. I get aggravated when I miss good stuff too, like QUIZIQ last weekend. While I may miss some good stuff, It’s nice to know I can use my tools (especially twitter) to see what I miss! Twitter has become the FIRST thing I check now, and email has dropped to last. Isn’t that hysterical?
    Cathyjo — Your twitter friend!

  4. Carolyn, I think Twitter adds to our ability to connect and network and it provides us with access to the “knowledge of the many” which is a very import part of our own growth and understanding. I know that my use of Twitter fluctuates depending on what I am doing and how busy I am. In the past few weeks, my visits have been limited and I haven’t really been partaking in the discussions that are taking place. What people don’t usually understand is that you don’t have to be always jumping into a discussion to learn and, after being away, those people on your network are willing to let you join right in. It is sometimes easier to maintain the connections with these people because they accept you from where you are at that time. I enjoy the discussions and connections that I have been able to make with this tool. It’s something that many of us could benefit from within our own districts.

  5. Kelly,

    I’ve been thinking about the value of twitter within our building. We send things out by email and people get annoyed at little emails that have nothing to do with them.

    A tool like twitter could even streamline what is sent via email–so that you had a way within the campus to send a “shout out” and a place to look if you liked to “help” others, and something you could ignore if busy and not worry about it.

    I’ve been considering working with a little “within the building” network on twitter, myself. Just wishing Twitter had a way for me to easily switch identities like VoiceThread does, for that reason–or a way to have different “communities” that I could assign my followers to. I could have two accounts that were entirely separate but that could get very confusing!

    Thanks for the comments all!

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