Friday, October 7, 2011

Teachers Using Twitter for Professional Development

Teachers are increasingly using Twitter for professional development and collaboration, according to the New York Times blog post by Kathleen Schulten. Each week, thousands of teachers participate in scheduled Twitter “chats” around a particular subject area or type of student. Math teachers meet on Mondays, for instance, while science discussions happen on Tuesdays, new teachers gather on Wednesdays and teachers working with sixth graders meet Thursdays. (Jerry Blumengarten, Twitter’s @cybraryman1, posts this helpful list of educational chats.)

By using hashtags — that is, words or phrases preceded by the # symbol, like “#Scichat” for science educators — users can organize, search and find messages on a particular topic all in one place.

Anyone can participate, and joining is easy: just go to Twitter, search for the hashtag of the chat that appeals to you, and start to read the stream of messages. When you’re ready to add your own thoughts or share resources, just append that same hashtag to your Twitter message. (For more tips, visit The Times' “Nuts and Bolts” and “Resources” lists.)

The blog post also features an interview with the founders of the Edchat, SSchat and Engchat Twitter streams, who talk about the power of the medium.

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