Nine Reasons for Teachers to Twitter, K-12

According to EduCause, Twitter is an online application that is part blog, part social networking site, part cell phone and instant messaging tool, designed to let users answer the question “What are you doing?” Many tweets do answer the question of what the user is doing, but plenty of others are responses to other tweets, pointers to online resources that the user found interesting, product reviews, customer satisfaction queries, or questions. Twitter lets users create formal friendships, which collectively establish numerous and interconnected networks of users. In addition to the social aspect, you can use Twitter to follow experts in various fields. Twitter works with cell phones and other SMS clients, making it an easy way for mobile users to stay in touch.

Listed below are nine reasons to Twitter developed by Laura Walker, a middle school educator in England.

1. Together we’re better
Twitter can be like a virtual staff room where teachers can access a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from a handpicked selection of global professionals.

2. Global or local--you choose
Educators can actively compare what’s happening in their world with others on different continents. GPS-enabled devices and advanced Web searching allow searches that tell you what people are tweeting within a certain distance of a location.

3. Self-awareness and reflective practice
Teachers on Twitter share their reflections and both support and challenge each other.

4. Ideas workshop and sounding board
Twitter is a great medium for sharing ideas and getting instant feedback. You can gather a range of opinions and constructive criticism within minutes, which can help enormously, whether you are planning a learning experience, writing a policy, or putting a job application together.

5. Newsroom and innovation showcase
Twitter helps you stay up-to-date on news and current affairs, as well as on the latest developments in areas of interest like school leadership and technology.

6. Professional development and critical friends
One of the best things about training days is the breakout time between sessions, when teachers can get together to talk about what they are working on or struggling with. Twitter enables users to have that kind of powerful networking capacity with them all the time. It’s just a matter of finding the right people to follow.

7. Quality-assured searching
Trust the people you follow. Hone and develop the list of people whose insights you value. Once your Twitter network grows past a critical mass, you can ask them detailed questions and get higher-quality information back than a Google search would generally provide.

8. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Expressing yourself in 140 characters is a great discipline. You can become better at saying what needs to be said in my professional communications (even without txtspk).

9. Getting with the times has never been so easy!

Go to and create a free account. A little light searching using key words for your areas of interest will soon yield a list of interesting people to follow. There are plenty of Web sites offering advice on getting started and how to avoid a few common beginners’ mistake.