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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Module #2: Tweeting, Chatting and Connecting

Twitter is an exciting application for communicating with a community of people with similar interests.  It is a quick and easy way to share your ideas, expand your connections with others, and keep up on the latest news in education and the world.

Twitter is a social network and real-time communication system that was launched in 2006 but it has taken the world by storm. It is a free and immediate entre to the public stage.  Private and public figures use Twitter to share their ideas and connect with their followers and the world in general.


Almost Half a Billion tweets are sent per day.  It can be a wealth of information and communication, but it can be incredibly overwhelming.


How Can I Possibly Keep Up with Twitter and FaceBook and all of the Social Media????

As of today, there are over 6000 tweets per second.  No, they don't all go to you, but you can easily be overwhelmed by the incredible immensity of it all. I used to worry about trying to keep up with all of this until I heard Howard Rheingold explain that we need to look at Twitter as a stream. It is a stream of information that flows by. When you are thirsty, you go over and sip some tweets. When you have had enough, you go back to your regular life.

Here is a classic video that uses the river metaphor to discuss Twitter for Teachers




Getting started with Twitter is easy. You need to begin by getting a Twitter account.  Chances are that you already have a Twitter account but consider creating a Twitter account that is only for your professional life.  This way people (and potential employers) won't be investigating into your personal life. (frankly, if it is on the web - it is fair game for all to see.)

If you want to create a new Twitter account, follow these steps.  Even if you are an avid Twitterer, I would suggest reviewing this resources.

Tools for Organizing Twitter

The key to successfully using Twitter is to be able to manage the tweets. The Twitter online app is useful, but it doesn't have the organizational capabilities that you need to be in control.   One of the most popular tools is TweetDeck.

TweetDeck is a tweet organizer that can make create small tidepools to filter this stream of tweets. It can be used to create specific columns for specific people or specific words/hashtags or follow predetermined lists. TweetDeck is also a powerful tool for organizing the tweets that you send.  It

It counts your characters, shortens the length of tweets through abbreviations (TweetShrink), and even shortens the length of URLs.  The most exciting part is that it enables you to schedule when your tweets will be sent.
  1. Register at the TweetDeck website.
  2. Click the Desktop link to get to the Download page.
  3. Download TweetDeck.
  4. There is only a TweetDeck phone app for Android.  Just download the Twitter phone app if you have an iPhone.  TweetDeck is owned by Twitter.  
    1. If you have suggestions for Twitter Phone apps, share them with your colleagues.
Here is a short video about using Tweetdeck.  It looks like it is created by a student helpdesk but it is pretty good.  Even if you have already begun using TweetDeck, this will be a good overview of using TweetDeck.
(Double-click on the video if you want to go to YouTube where you can enlarge it and make it easier to see.) 



Twitter Chats (Tweet Chats)  

A Twitter Chat (or Tweet Chat) is actually a Twitter conversation that revolves around one unique hashtag.  Like-minded tweeters (professionals, fans, friends) tweet at a predetermined time using a specified hashtag. This can be an overwhelming event with #hashtagged postings hyperspeeding by. 


Twitter chats can be challenging experiences so here is a video by the Cool Cat Teacher (Vicki Davis) to introduce you to the experience.




A popular tool for engaging in Twitter Chats is tchat.io   This tool will manage the ongoing stream of chats as well as insert the relevant hashtag in each message.





The key to engaging in Twitter Chats is to find chats that are relevant to you.  This means that you need to have a calendar that lists all of the chats that are available each day of the month.  The most complete one that I have found is the Education Chats Calendar by the Cybrarian.   Click this and find a few chats that support your interests.
Return to the eLearning website to find your assignments now that you have had an introduction to Twitter. 





Finally, if you are craving more resources for Twitter, you need to visit Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything.  Kathy was a digital education pioneer and she has created a guide to EVERYTHING.

This time, we need to find what she has to share about Twitter.   We need to visit Twitter for Teachers.  It is filled with resources, applications, fun, tools and teaching ideas.  Review it and apply it in your classroom and your life.

Participate.com is a resource that I learned about at ISTE 2017. This isa rich website that curates collections of resources for teachers and offers various courses (some free, some for a fee). Most importantly, participate.com has a never-ending calendar of International Twitter Chats for you to search. 


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