"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Twitter and Watermelon?

What do Twitter and Watermelon have in common?  They are both two things that you can and SHOULD enjoy during your summer break!  A little background before I go much further.....

About three years ago one of my former colleagues Mr. Boelhower (@jdog90) told me that "I should really be on Twitter."  I really didn't understand Twitter and I really didn't care to know what certain celebrities were having for breakfast, who they were dating or any of that information that I thought Twitter was all about.  Boy was I wrong!  Once I sat down and signed up for my account, I began to see the power of having an awesome Professional Learning Network (PLN).  I started developing my PLN based on recommendations by others, then began to seek out others that were in my content area.

I started finding passionate and great educators like @bethtstill, @j_allen, @michellek107, @kylepace, @Mrskmpeters, @catlett1 just to name a few.   These were people in my "comfort zone," people that I knew were in Nebraska.  I decided to step outside of my "comfort zone" and started adding/following people like @NMHS_Principal, @jessievaz12, @mcleod, @gcouros.  I know I am leaving several people out, I apologize for that, but you get the picture.  I could list hundreds of people, but know that you would quit reading if I did.   There are tons of people out there for you to follow.  I would give this wiki a look as you start building your PLN. 

Twitter is the best professional development I have experienced in my twelve years in education.  I remember the days that I really enjoyed watching and getting ideas from some of my fellow educators in my building. You can continue to do that but expand your horizons by learning from educators around the world, not just in your own backyard.  I will admit that it took me awhile to post my first "tweet."  I was what you would call a "lurker" for awhile, reading all of the relevant material that people I was following were posting.  Don't think that you have to "tweet" several times a day.  Twitter is professional development on your own time. 

The past couple of weeks I have been "favoriting" a lot of really neat ideas when it comes to Twitter.   @courosa posted an awesome video about using Twitter in the classroom, while @JudaArzt posted a link with an informative video that will help those of you that are new to Twitter , and lastly @TheConsultantsE posted a link to some  Twitter resources when teaching teachers about Twitter.

In closing, I would love for you to have lots of delicious watermelon this summer, but more importantly I would like for you to give Twitter a shot. 

Do the following before school starts:

1.  Develop a profile using your REAL name.

2.  Build a solid PLN.  Look at who others are following.  Look at the quality of their tweets.  If you like what they are posting, add them.  Use the wiki link that I posted above to find other educators in your area. 

3.  Start posting articles that you find interesting OR lesson ideas that have worked out well for you.

4.  Give Twitter six weeks. 

I guarantee it will be one of the best decisions you will have made as an educator!

Good luck!


  1. Now I am craving watermelon! Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much for including me on your list! It was so great to meet you at NETA. I'd like to visit more at ISTE!

    I find it fitting that your first post is about your PLN and Twitter. It seems to be one topic that I cannot write enough about. It seems to be the topic I write about when I need a reminder of how lucky I am to be part of such a great group educators. Amanda Dykes refers to this group as the smart kids I have to agree.

    If you don't mind I would add just a couple of things. I could not agree more that using your real name is important. Using your real name across all social networks helps establish a positive digital footprint. Using a real image is important as well. Maybe not everyone feels this way, but I find it easier to trust someone if they use a real photo as opposed to an cartoon avatar. It helps me to establish a true connection with them not to mention it makes it easier to identify them at conferences!

    Figuring out who to follow is the most important part of Twitter and it is also the most difficult. I value everyone who I follow on Twitter but there are some that I would recommend as "must-follows." These people will vary depending on who is looking for people. The top people I recommend to administrators is different than the group I recommend to social studies teachers. I have not-so-gently pointed out on my blog that one of the pieces that is left out in many so called Twitter training sessions is a list of people to follow. The list does not need to be long. Just a dozen people or so who fit the needs of the audience. If it is a mixed audience then several lists need to be provided. From there I would say your #2 recommendation would kick in. Look at who those people are interacting with on a regular basis. Those are the people who are active on Twitter and will be valuable to your PLN.
    The top three people I always recommend are @rmbyrne @shannonmmiller and @NMHS_Principal

    Thank you for allowing me to post a novel on here. Twitter was the best decisions I ever made, too! (My 3rd b-day on here was yesterday!)



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