Revisiting Twitter as Educators

Seven years ago when a very small percentage of educators used Twitter or any sort of social media professionally, I presented my first workshop on the subject with Cathy Higgins, the Director of Technology for New Hampshire at the time. I found out later that a Superintendent in the audience (who I did not know) was not happy with my presentation. He stated bluntly (to a friend of mine) that “I would never hire that Principal. All he would do is check Twitter all day”. I wrote about this in a post from 2009, Should We Take Twitter Seriously? I also wrote about my frustrations on the slow growth of edcuators on Twitter in the post, 3 Reasons Educators Aren’t on Twitter.

Fast forward to 2016: The reality is that educators are using Twitter more than ever. According to Twitter as of 2014, 4.2 million tweets are related to education every day. But desite Twitter’s growth, in my experience it appears that the vast majority of Twitter users in our field are risk-takers and those who are deeply invested in technology. In order to add this tool to the teacher’s toolbox as a means toward professional development, we have to ensure that:

  • it’s relatively painless for educators to add Twitter to their workflow,
  • that they can easily join a community of like-minded professionals,
  • and that there’s a brief learning curve.

After a primer on the basics, I think the current method to make Twitter stick is to engage in Twitter chats. You only need to invest 30-60 minutes a week, you will quickly get to know scores of educators, and the learning curve is slight. Three years ago I wrote about stepping into the chat.

Where do you think Twitter is heading as a social media tool for educators?

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