How to use Twitter : The Ultimate Guide for Online Teachers
As a teacher, one is always compelled to be in touch with one’s students and interact with them. But with the advent of social media, the paradigms of communication have changed. In a world that is connected 24×7, a teacher has significantly greater opportunities to foster an environment of collaborative learning, and this is where Twitter comes in.
Harnessing the power of Twitter for education is totally in the hands of a teacher. Not only is it possible to use this social network to connect with students but Twitter is also an amazing tool for online teachers to expand their network and communicate with a larger audience and share their ideas.
Four reasons for anyone to jump on the Twitter bandwagon are
- Enhanced participation and interaction: This is the most elementary of Twitter benefits that you can enjoy. With short and effective tweets, you can motivate your students to discuss, interact and explore the boundaries of their learning. By sharing useful links, assigning students brief tasks and projects, conducting polls and continuing discussions on classroom topics, teachers can ensure that student participation increases manifold. A basic aspect of human psychology that comes into play here is that students feel at ease sharing their views online instead of the actual classroom. Keeping this in mind, you can transform Twitter into a discussion board where students can be invited to share their views and in the process, get rid of their inhibitions.
- Get your ideas across with absolute freedom: As a teacher, it is your primary responsibility not only to teach but also to stimulate discussions. Twitter allows you to express your ideas freely and without any inhibition. With a 280 character tweet, you can start an engaging conversation to express your views and gets others to share theirs. As an online teacher, it is all the more important to start conversations, as these provide you traction in the online world.
- Connect to a wider audience: This is the sine qua non of using Twitter for an online teacher. What does Twitter do for a teacher? In a nutshell, it helps you connect to a wider audience. Using the techniques highlighted in the next section, it provides teachers an opportunity to connect with a throbbing and actively engaged global audience. With over 600 million users, and with 9100 tweets a second, Twitter is a potential goldmine for an educator who wants to develop a wider network and remain in touch with students, professors and peers. Are you on Twitter and making use of this wonderful opportunity to connect? If not, head over to Twitter now and start ‘tweeting’.
- Information Exchange: Essentially, most social networks function as information exchanges at a certain level. For example, Twitter, with its extensive use of Hashtags, gives you the ability to sift through information on topics that interest and intrigue you. Tweets related to your topic of interest are effectively potential ideas which provide you with large chunks of relevant data ready for use. At the end of the day, you can simply use Twitter to find new information and enrich your knowledge.
Twitter is a platform for you to expand your reach, get your thoughts across to a larger audience and engage students. But how do you achieve this? The first ingredient that you need is persistent effort; perseverance is actually the key to ensure that you achieve the desired reach and impact. The second ingredient for the Twitter success recipe includes the host of tricks and techniques available to expand your reach.
This paper provides you answers to the two most basic questions that come to the mind of any educator: Why and how to use Twitter? The paper broadly outlines:
- Why should you be using it as a teacher?
- How to increase your Twitter engagement and reach?
- Basic do’s and don’ts related to Twitter use.
- Tools you can use to exploit Twitter to the maximum.