Can Tweeting Really Improve Instruction?

By Matt Gomez

It’s hard to believe Twitter has only been around since 2006. It quickly has become a hugely popular online networking tool for sharing ideas and communicating. For those new to the scene, it may seem this mushrooming social format is reserved for celebrities and other famous people. The fact is, Twitter has proven to be an indispensable tool for teachers, administrators, superintendents, and other educators looking for ways to stay current, get inspired, and take their performance to the next level.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Twitter to give you a better understanding of what the buzz among educators is all about and why you should join in on the conversation.

Why Twitter?

It’s been said “you’re only as good as the teacher next door.” Twitter puts thousands of “teachers next door” within instant access. Through Twitter, teachers can build a global, professional learning network of real-life colleagues with similar interests who are always available to offer support, advice, and ideas. If something great happens in the classroom, you tweet about it. If you have a question or need a resource, you put it out to the Twitter universe. It could take a teacher months to get the same answer or find the same resource.

Granted, it will take time and effort upfront to build that network. But such effort will save instructional time down the road, eliminate the isolation teachers sometimes feel, and make a teacher’s job more fun and a lot easier.

A social platform unlike any other

At first glance, it may seem like Twitter isn’t worth the attention. What could celebrities and educators possibly have in common? A closer look will demonstrate the value of Twitter as the only social platform where such a huge population of educators can be found. Out of the ½ billion tweets that post every day, 4.2 million are related to education. Clearly, educators are following and being followed by other educators or content experts related to their field of teaching. This includes many prominent names in the field and thought leaders, and that makes for interesting conversations.

It also makes for authentic feedback. Through Twitter, teachers can connect with other teachers who challenge their beliefs, inspire them to step out of their boundaries, and cause them to reflect on what they are doing and how valuable it is. As a result, many teachers leave Twitter feeling inspired and re-energized.

Professional development, anytime, anywhere

Every educator knows how important professional development is. Research confirms that the quality of teaching is the most important factor contributing to a student’s success. With Twitter, the definition of professional development has expanded. No longer is it simply face to face in the same room, building, or even the same country. It’s anytime, anywhere for educators who embrace this digital tool and take ownership of their learning.

Twitter has the power to transform an educator’s vision of who they can be and what education can become. It can change everything a teacher does in a classroom. The effects are re-energizing and the impact is measurable and long-lasting.

For a more detailed look at Twitter and the vast resources it offers elementary teachers, check out SDE’s webinar Twitter for Teachers 101: Getting Started with Twitter and Using It for Ideas, Inspiration, and Support! (Grades PreK–5) by kindergarten teacher and technology expert Matt Gomez.

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