Tuesday’s Tool: Twitter

Is blogging too time-consuming? Is Facebook too private? Why not try Twitter?

Twitter is the micro-blogging site that has taken the social media world by storm. There are thousands of communities that have taken off thanks to Twitter’s usability and reach. Additionally, there are many tools and applications that make Tweeting extremely easy. Let’s see how Lee Lefever explained Twitter in 2008…

What Twitter has become in the last three or so years is something much more interactive than simply telling your friends what you had for lunch. Discussion takes place over the course of several 140 character statements. Links and media are shared. Resources and help from a large network in the form of a personal learning network (PLN). Twitter is so much more than just a way to share every action.

There are many tools that make Twitter easy to manage. Online and desktop tools by the likes of TweetDeck and Hootsuite make managing multiple accounts and users a snap. There are media-sharing sites such as TwitPic or Lockerz. Additionally, there are apps for your smartphone and add-ons for browsers and blogs. The lists of Twitter tools is endless.

One of the most important aspects of the Twitterverse is the use of hashtags. Hashtags are those words or phrases you see attached to a “#.” One of the best hashtags to keep an eye on is #edchat where educators from all over discuss pertinent issues in teaching and learning. Other hashtags you might want to keep tabs on would include #edtech and our own #emints.

As far as classroom application, Twitter has several, with all of them revolving around communication. Teachers can easily make information accessible to families and administration using Twitter. Also, discussions that wee once limited to the classroom constraints of time and space, can now be open for longer periods of time as well as reach a larger spectrum of participants. Even in-class discussions can be enhanced…

(via Read Write Web)

As you can see, Twitter has many sensible uses for the classroom. For further information on Twitter, check out the following resources:

How have you utilized Twitter professionally? What other ways could you see Twitter being an asset in your classroom? What are the obstacles to using Twitter with students?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and you can follow his Tweets at @Zac_eMINTS.

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