Saturday, May 21, 2011

3 Quick Reasons Why Administrators and Educators Need Twitter

The other day, someone asked me to explain to him why I thought it was so important for administrators specifically, and educators generally to become Twitter users. He had a Twitter account, but still did not see much use for it. He knew I used it regularly, so I really think he was looking for an argument. He really wanted to make sure I knew of his belief that "Twitter is a waste of time." I might not have convinced him entirely, but here's the 3-Point argument I made as to why educators need Twitter.

  1. Twitter provides me with a regular flow of educational ideas and resources. My Diigo bookmarks collection is a testament to this. By following so many educators, the level of access to educational resources has exploded, and it continues to grow as my connections in Twitter grows.
  2. Twitter has provided me with a network of educators that spans the globe. When I started teaching 20 years ago, I would not have dreamed of being able to exchange ideas with a teacher in Australia or an IT director in Saudi Arabia. Twitter has made this possible. I have a level of global connection not possible without it.
  3. Twitter allows me to be part of the global conversation about education. This is one of my favorite aspects of using Twitter. I can contribute to world-wide discussions on the nature of education. Again, this was not possible when I started in education.
In the end, I'm not sure he believed that Twitter could do all these things for him, and perhaps he's right. I suppose microblogging is like any technology: we often limit its possibilities when we let ourselves be guided by doubt rather than exploration.


  1. John,

    The night that Osama bin Ladan was killed by American forces, I followed the events on CNN and a live stream of Twitter--something I hadn't really done before. The conversations about this historic event were amazing! At one point, someone I followed sent a link to a Pakistani man who had been live-tweeting from the town where bin Ladan had been staying. I followed the link and read that guy's tweets--again, amazing!

    Then I got the bright idea to screencast his tweets that pertained to hearing the helicopters, hearing the crash, and then when he realized what had happened. I also screencaptured some of the tweets on my end of what some people I follow were saying--as well as how I had entered the conversation as well. And I changed my lesson plan for the next day in my sophomore English class. They were totally engaged with this historic event, and then we had to watch the President's we were talking, it hit me that these students were only in first grade when September 11 happened--but I was able to bring this history alive for them--they could trace the train of thought of some of the people I follow, as well as talk about mood, tone, propaganda (on the Pakistani side) and leadership. This was probably one of the best lessons I've had all year in terms of engagement and understanding "real" literary terms! All thanks to Twitter!

  2. Stephanie, that's a fantastic story about the use of Twitter. It is having an impact on world events, and some school districts seem still think it necessary to keep it out, but as your story indicates, it's an exercise in futility. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you won't mind if I share it with others.