8 Ways for Teachers (and Parents) to Use Twitter

Posted on September 16, 2015 by Diana Graber

Unless you’ve been living in a box at the bottom of the ocean since 2006, you should know about Twitter, the social network that lets users read and send “tweets” no more than 140 characters long.

But what you might not know is that Twitter is used by over 500 million people worldwide and is a terrific resource for educators and parents. According to the Pew Research Center, Twitter is the fourth most popular social network used by teens. So if you teach young people (or have some in your life), it’s important to understand Twitter and why students spend so much of their time using it.

To help, here are eight ways to get to know Twitter better.

1. Twitter is an efficient and effective tool for distilling information into digestible and quickly consumable content (great for busy teachers and parents).

2. Since Twitter is all about who you follow, you can use it to follow interesting people who “tweet” about topics you find useful. You will benefit from the information they freely share through tweets and links.

3. Hashtags (#) on Twitter make it easy to find and organize topics you find interesting. Some hashtags we like include #edtech, #edchat, #elearning and #parenting. Find out how to use hashtags by watching our video (below).

4. You can create your own Personal Learning Network (PLN) for free. Within seconds. you will have access to a stream of links, ideas, opinions and resources from your handpicked selection of tweeters.

5. You will learn what’s happening beyond the walls of your own classroom or school and be able to compare and share what you’re doing with schools across the globe.

6. Try out new ideas and get instant feedback. In moments, you can solicit a stream of constructive criticism, opinions and help on whatever you’re working on, from a simple lesson to a lengthy dissertation.

7. Stay current on news and current affairs as well as the latest developments in your areas of interest.

8. Become an expert at condensing your thoughts into 140 characters or less. Twitter forces you to become better at saying what you want to say with brevity. Others will thank you for it.

Of course, like any social network, Twitter takes some getting used to, which is why we put this video on the Cyberwise Learning Hub. We hope it will jump start your own understanding of this powerful communication tool and that you will follow us on Twitter at @becyberwise and @dianagraber.

Diana GraberDiana Graber is co-founder of CyberWise, the go-to source for grown-ups seeking to help kids be safe and productive online. She is also the founder and teacher of Cyber Civics™, a middle school digital media literacy program. As Adjunct Faculty of Media Psychology at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, she taught Media Psychology to graduate students and is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and others.