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Tips, Apps, and Resources for Teachers on Twitter

Written By Franklin V on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | 10:23 AM

Twitter can be at first glance a strange phenomenon and many don’t understand its purpose right away. However, Twitter is a powerful tool that is growing in popularity as word spreads of its potential capabilities. The idea of writing small blog posts of 140 characters or less to a group of your followers is actually a revolutionary new way to bring communities together, learn from each other, and keep updated with all that is happening. Busy teachers may feel that taking the time to learn how to use Twitter isn’t worth the return for the students benefit, so that’s why this list of 100 tips, apps, and resources is worth browsing. Find out how to get started with Twitter, ways to use it in an educational setting, and tools to help you use it better with these resources below.

Resources for Learning Twitter

If you don’t know the first thing about Twitter–or maybe only the first thing–then check out these resources to learn how to get started today.
  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter. This blog post offers great advice on getting started with Twitter.
  2. VIDEO: A beginner’s guide to Twitter. The video is specifically for business use for Twitter, but the accompanying article offers great suggestions for those just starting out with Twitter.
  3. How to Use Twitter: Tips for Bloggers. The tips here are beneficial reminders for both bloggers and microbloggers.
  4. Ten Top Twitter Tips. Find helpful tips here–including understanding how to use "@" and "d."
  5. Birds of a Feather Twitter Together. This informative article cuts through some of the Twitter confusion nicely and will have even novices feeling more comfortable.
  6. Twitter Etiquette. This wiki page offers tons of information on Twitter etiquette and ways to help manage your Twitter experience.
  7. Mastering Twitter in 10 Minutes…Or Less (Version 2). Download this free tutorial to get a working knowledge of Twitter right away.
  8. Want to learn Twitter? Watch this video. As they say, grab a cup of coffee and watch this video to learn how you can start using Twitter.
  9. Lunch n Learn: Twitter for Beginners. Check out this video presented by Birmingham City University.
  10. Twitter Guide for Beginners. This simple overview will hopefully break down the basics for you.
  11. Twitter 101: Clarifying the Rules for Newbies. This article takes a look at three Twitter mistakes and explains how to avoid them.

Twitter for Educators

These resources are specifically to help educators using Twitter in their schools.
  1. Twitter for Teachers. This site is a collaborative effort to help teachers learn how to use Twitter and includes discussions, photos, videos, and more.
  2. Twitter and Educational Applications…. This brief blog post offers a quick overview of Twitter and why it can be an important tool for the classroom.
  3. Advice for Teachers New to Twitter. This teacher has put together her own advice as well as the advice of others to help teachers who are new to the whole Twitter thing get a running start.
  4. 8 Useful Tips to Become Successful with Twitter. What are YOUR tips?. Follow the suggestions here, then check out the comments section to find readers’ suggestions for Twitter success.
  5. @parslad Chartered teacher & Dunfermline FC fan. Check out this interview with a Scottish teacher who tells about his Twitter experience and offers advice for others.
  6. How To Become Twitter Teacher (TT) In 23 Steps Or Less?. From the basics of using Twitter to suggestions for using it in schools, this article incorporates videos, suggestions, and links to other resources.
  7. 50 Ideas for Using Twitter for Education. This article offers tips from getting started to implementing Twitter in your school.
  8. Twitter as a Learning Tool. Really.. While specifically written for trainers, this article offers insight to the future of Twitter and why it is important to learn now.
  9. Micro-blogging in education. This article offers a good overview of what micro-blogging is and how it can serve those in education effectively.
  10. Educational Tool: Twitter. This teacher has both a video and a text summary of her experience using Twitter in the classroom.
  11. A Teacher’s Guide to Twitter. This blog post is an excellent resource for teachers wanting to learn about using Twitter.
  12. Twitter Tweets for Higher Education. Find some interesting suggestions for using Twitter in the education arena here.

Resources for Making the Most of Twitter

Once you know how to get started with Twitter, you will want to check out these resources that help you make the most of your Twitter experience.
  1. A Spreadsheet of Educators on Twitter. Find other teachers using Twitter and be sure to add yourself on the spreadsheet too.
  2. TwiTip. This blog features plenty of advice for using Twitter to your best advantage.
  3. How Twitter Can Make You a Better (and Happier) Person. Written by the CEO of Zappos.com, this blog post explains some of the virtues of Twitter and how you can use it advantageously for yourself.
  4. Can we use Twitter for educational activities?. This conference paper outlines ways to use Twitter in an educational setting as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks of using Twitter in this environment.
  5. The Unforeseen Consequences of the Social Web. This article is an important reminder to think carefully before posting just anything on the Internet and is especially helpful for educators as they often must consider both their impression on the Internet as well as that of students.
  6. Twitter Freaks. This Diigo community offers a great selection of resources for using Twitter, many of which have an educational perspective.
  7. Twitter Reading List. This listing includes many Twitter resources grouped by year going back to 2007.
  8. 5 Good Reasons to Learn How to Use Twitter for Business and Personal Use. Find some great reasons why you may want to start Twittering with this article.
  9. My attempt at helping journos learn Twitter. Watch this two-part webinar to learn about Twitter from the journalists’ perspective.
  10. 35 Twitter Tips from 35 Twitter Users. This advice ranges from being honest to specific apps to better manage your Twitter use.
  11. 100 Totally Free Twitter Power Strategies. Find tips and connect with other Twitterers here.

Suggestions for Twitter Use in the Classroom

Below are some basic suggestions for using Twitter in the classroom. Use these ideas as a springboard for your creativity to come up with even more ways to use Twitter.
  1. Communicate with parents and students. Twitter assignments, important events, deadlines, and more to keep parents and students updated with important information.
  2. Daily summaries. Give a daily update on each school day so parents can stay in touch with what their children are learning.
  3. Collaborative planning. Teachers and students or students working together can use Twitter to document ideas and share with their collaboration team.
  4. Teacher collaboration. Many teachers collaborate on their lesson plans and teaching techniques and tips. Twitter allows collaborating teachers to share ideas and stay connected easily.
  5. Learn a foreign language. Using a service like twitterlearn or just practicing conversation skills with other Twitterers around the globe, students can practice a foreign language.
  6. Connect with other classrooms. Find a classroom in a different geographic area to create a modern-day pen pal situation where students can learn from each other through their Tweets.
  7. Use it as a poll. Take a poll asking student opinions or getting feedback on future topics. Use an app likePollDaddy to help.
  8. Nineteen Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom. This slide presentation offers fun suggestions of how to incorporate Twitter with lessons students will remember.
  9. A Professor’s Tips for Using Twitter in the Classroom. While geared to his experience with older students, this article describes a great benefit of using Twitter with students.

Apps and Twitterers to Use with Students

Get students into the Twitter fun with these apps or established Twitter users students can follow.
  1. Atlas. Explore the world with Tweets that are shown on a map. You can also explore other places around that geographic location.
  2. TwitterLocal. Use this app to find Tweets from a specific geographic location. This is a great way to study different cultures or to incorporate into a geography lesson.
  3. GeoTwitterous: Personalized Twitter on a Map. This article describes how GeoTwitterous works as a great app to map your network.
  4. Twitxr. Send photos from your mobile phone to your Twitter account with this app. This has potential for great student projects that require them to document and detail a specific topic.
  5. TwitPic. This app lets you share photos on Twitter. Students can find photos from all around the world for a real look at places beyond the classroom.
  6. Outwit Me. This site offers "intelligent Twitter games" and is a great way to bring Twitter into the classroom in a fun and engaging way.
  7. twiggit. Send students out to find interesting news articles or articles relevant to what you are studying, and they can share them with this app that combines Digg with Twitter.
  8. weather. This Twitterer brings weather news from the Science News Blog and shares weather events occurring around the world.
  9. QuoteURL. Put many different Tweets together on one page with this app. This is a great way to summarize a Twitter project for a presentation.
  10. TweetScan. Type in keywords and have Tweets that match your keywords emailed to you. Use this as a Twitter research shortcut.
  11. Tweetizen. Find groups of others on Twitter with your same interests or start your own group.
  12. Twrivia. Get a "daily pop quiz" with this app that provides a new trivia question each day.
  13. Plinky. Each day this app provides a prompt in the form of a question or challenge, then you can reply by posting text, photos, maps, or whatever you find that is relevant.
  14. EarthquakeNews. From the USGS Earthquake Center, get Tweets on any earthquake that hits around the world and registers over 2.5.

Apps to Make Twitter Work for the Educator

These apps will help you use Twitter more easily and often have specific advantages for educators.
  1. GroupTweet. Create a group with each class to facilitate Tweeting. This is a great tool for teachers wanting to create a classroom group to keep students and parents informed of assignments, announcements, or work collaboratively.
  2. TweetDeck. This app allows you to create groups of Tweets to better manage the information.
  3. tweetparty. This is another group-creating app that allows you to communicate directly with your Twitter group.
  4. TweetGrid. Create a customized search dashboard to facilitate your Twitter searches.
  5. Tweetree. This app puts your Tweets in context so when an entire conversation starts, it is grouped together.
  6. TwitterFone. If you would like to call and leave a voice message that will be turned into a Tweet, then use this simple app.
  7. Edmodo. This is a completely separate tool from Twitter, but is a private microblog similar to Twitter made especially for teachers and students.
  8. TwitterNotes. If you want to use Twitter for yourself as well as the whole class, this app makes it simple to keep notes that are only for you to read among your Tweets.
  9. Tweet Later. Use this app to write Tweets that you can schedule for posting at future times. This is a great way to line up reminders and announcements that are tied to specific dates.
  10. Password protected text notes. When privacy becomes an issue, use this app to send notes to Twitter that only those with the password can read.
  11. LoudTwitter. Sign up here to send Tweets to your blog. This is a good way to keep parents who may not be on Twitter updated with what their students are doing.
  12. bit.ly. With character count being so important, this service shortens URLs so that you use fewer characters when sharing web links.
  13. postica. Use this app to post sticky notes on Twitter for an eye-catching reminder.
  14. Twishlistter. Create a Twitter wish list here. Teachers wanting to publish supplies they need will certainly find this useful.

App Resources

If you have fallen in love with Twitter and want to find more apps, these resources will help you out.
  1. Twitter Fan Wiki Apps. Here’s an amazing listing of Twitter apps grouped by Desktop, Web, and Mobile apps, then further sub-grouped by Windows, Mac, or specific topics.
  2. Twapps. Find all the latest Twitter apps archived here. Search by keyword or browse by category.
  3. Twi5.com. Check out this website for the latest Twitter apps or sign up for their RSS feed to get new apps sent directly to you.
  4. Smashing Feeds. This resource provides Twitter news with apps featuring prominently.
  5. twtapps. The Twitter apps here are all pretty simple, require no registration, and are free.
  6. i-Stuff Twitter. This site brings together plenty of interesting and useful technology apps. Find those specific to Twitter here.
  7. 5 Good Ways to Discover Twitter Applications. Applications can enhance your Twitter experience, so learn how you can stay on top of the latest apps coming out for Twitter.
  8. The Top 21 Twitter Applications (According to Compete). Based solely on the number of monthly unique visitors, this resource provides the 21 Twitter apps that received the most traffic.
  9. Twitter tips – tools for your tweets. Not only can you find tools to enhance your Tweets, you also get some basics about using Twitter here.
  10. Top 10 Twitter Hacks. This blog post actually offers more than ten suggestions, so check out many ways to make Twitter work for you here.
Tweets to Follow
If you want a jumpstart on your Twitter experience, here are plenty of Tweets that all have a connection to education.
  1. BBC Education. Find out what news topics are cropping up in the UK by following this educational watchdog from the BBC News.
  2. Directory of Learning Professionals (& Others) on Twitter. This directory includes teachers as well as corporate trainers, but offers over 800 people you could follow.
  3. Pulse of Education. All of these Twitterers are in education. Take a look at some of them and see if you are interested in following along.
  4. LearnHub. Get lots of education-related links from the Tweets here.
  5. Twitter4Teachers Wiki. This wiki provides teachers on Twitter and are organized by subject. You can add yourself to the list as well as find others with similar interests as you.
  6. TweetReport. This Twitter feed offers great information about using Twitter and other resources for Twitter.
  7. Twitter Groups: teachers. This group keeps a running stream of all the member teachers’ Tweets in one place. Follow here, follow teachers individually, or add yourself to the group.
  8. Twitter Groups: Edubloggers. Read edubloggers’ Tweets or find specific ones you may want to follow.
  9. Twitter Professors: 18 People to Follow for a Real Time Education. While these educators are all working at a level higher than K-12, these professors share valuable experience using Twitter and keep their pulse on what is happening on a larger scope.
  10. yahooteachers. These teachers Tweet about plenty of educational information.
  11. Twitter Fan Wiki Universities. Whether you want to expose your high school students to a bit of college early or are looking for something specific, here’s a listing of university Twitterers you can follow along with the number of other followers and a short description of the content.

Fun Twitter Experiments

Find out what creative projects and experiments others are doing with Twitter with these resources.
  1. twittories. Participate in creating a story here where each person can add 140 characters to contribute to the greater story.
  2. twitterbookgroup. Each month a book is posted, then participants leave their thoughts on the book in their 140-character answer.
  3. Twitter User Group. The goal of this group is to facilitate meet-ups and other social events between local Twitterers. It seems like this group is trying to pump some new blood into the project.
  4. Anonymous Twitter Project. Find out what happens when people can add Tweets without any connection to their identity.
  5. The Shadow Council Twitter Project. World of Warcraft fans will love this project where participants Tweet in character for their favorite Shadow Council toon.
  6. The Tourism Twitter Project. Those engaged in the tourism industry created this group in order to share their experiences from around the world.
  7. Black Friday Twitter Project. Learn how this experiment to use Twitter as a real-time news alert system turned out.
  8. WiZiQ and a twitter experiment. This blog post describes how one man gathered a Twitter community together to test a new educational program.
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