I know that many of you who read this blog will be well-versed in the not-so-mysterious mysteries of twitter, but I also know that some of you have never been on it. Or been interested in being on it. Until now, hopefully.
Twitter really is a great way to get ideas and inspiration for your teaching, and often links to good, solid resources. Links to professional reading are presented in an easy-to-access format, and there is the opportunity to connect with other professionals with the same educational interests as you worldwide. I say “opportunity” because you are in no way obliged to connect with people – you can simply consume others ideas without ever contributing yourself. Some people may frown upon this approach, but twitter is not an egalitarian society, and there are a great many twitter accounts that have never posted a single tweet.
If you are thinking of signing up, this guide highlighted by the Digital Learning Team (on twitter!) earlier this week is excellent. City of Edinburgh Council employees should also make sure that they read the information on social media on the Council’s website. If you do decide to tweet, you don’t need to be scared – but do be aware that what you say is considered a public broadcast, so just use your common sense. By the same token, there is no need to worry about being bored to death by tweets about what someone had for breakfast – of course, these people exist, but you don’t have to follow them!
Who to follow
You can customise your twitter experience by “following” people. The great thing about this is that you can choose people that reflect your interests so that you could have tweets relating to education, gardening and Harry Styles all on one page – if that’s what floats your boat. Below are a few accounts that I think it would be worth Edinburgh teachers (especially those interested in additional support for learning) following – of course there are countless more that you could find of interest.
@Edinburgh_CC – City of Edinburgh Council
@BrightEdinburgh – News from City of Edinburgh Council’s Children & Families services
@DigitalCEC – The Digital Learning Team
@TalesOfOneCity – Edinburgh Libraries
@CALLScotland – Specialist expertise in technology for children who have speech, communication and/or writing difficulties, covering all of Scotland.
@EducationScot – The official twitter account of Education Scotland
@tes_SEN – The TES have many twitter feeds, this one focusses on Special Educational Needs – or those who require additional support for learning, as we would say in Scotland.
@Pedagoo.org – A community of teachers sharing classroom practice
@bevevans22 – adviser to TES, Bev has an interest in ICT and additional support for learning
@RosBIGWRITING – personal account of Ros Wilson, of Big Writing fame. Good retweets and followed by many teachers so a good place to seek out other professionals – look at who follows her.
@TeacherSuze – (ahem) Yes, a shameless plug for my own twitter account.
Hashtags are a way of finding all the tweets relating to a certain topic without having to follow the person that posted the tweet. Simply put the hashtag in twitter’s search box – you can then choose if you want to see “top” tweets (the most popular recent tweets with this hashtag) or “all” tweets (a real-time feed). Below are the hashtags that I think are most useful for Edinburgh teachers, and/or those interested in additional support for learning – if you want a totally comprehensive list, have a look at this post from teachthought.com.
#ukedchat – Tweets about UK education. LOTS of good stuff on here; a very popular hashtag.
#edchat – Tweets about education worldwide. Not always so relevant to us, but a good way of finding people to follow/connect with around the world. Quite USA-heavy.
#TeacherTuesday – a hashtag where teachers suggest good twitter accounts to follow. Sometimes #TT is used, but that is also used for a number of unrelated things.
#PedagooFriday – on a Friday, many teachers use this hashtag to share good practice from the week
#edtech – technology in education
#flipclass – for those interested in the flipped classroom
#literacy – quite wide-ranging, so not just young people’s literacy, but a lot of useful and interesting stuff
#esl – seems to be the most-used hastags for all things to do with pupils learning English as an additional language.
#dyslexia – unsurprisingly, this is used for posts about dyslexia
#dyspraxia – as you would expect, about dyspraxia!
#AAC – about Augmentative and Alternative Communication
#spedchat – general “special education” tweets
I’d be more than happy to answer any queries about how to get the most out of twitter – please just contact me. Also, if you have a good person to follow or a hashtag to add to this list, please do get in touch.