Monday, October 27, 2014

Why Educators Must Tweet

Twitter chats.

That's really all I need to say.  I could have hit the publish button after that first line.  If you are a serious Twitter user, then read the questions at the end, share your thoughts in the comments, and get back to tweeting.  If you are thinking, "Twitter?  What do bird sounds have to do with education?", then read on.

Twitter has become my primary source of education news and articles, and much other news as well.  On my main account, @intoy2014, I follow only serious news and educational outlets.  I use a separate account for Indiana University basketball and the world of hair metal.  Through my @intoy2014 account, I get links to excellent articles from @DianeRavitch, @YongZhaoUO, @PhiBetaKappa, @jesslahey@TalksWTeachers, @UtahTOY2014, @Mr_Abud, @Mr_McComb, @ Perapiteticus, and many, many more.  Simply put, links from education leaders on Twitter are how I stay on top of my profession.

Yes there is, folks!  A Twitter chat is usually an hour-long conversation on a particular topic.  Those interested in the topic can follow along by looking for a hashtag, which is a #.  If you want to reply to the topic, just include the hashtag in your tweet.

One of my favorites is #aplitchat, which takes place every Sunday night from 9:00-10:00 EST.  Hosted by Brian Sztabnik of Talks With Teachers,  Over the course of the hour, he throws out six questions, and teachers from across North America join the conversation.  Last night I had the privilege of co-hosting with Brian, and our topic was the value of the liberal arts.  Teachers from California, North Carolina, Indiana, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, and Canada engaged in passionate, meaningful discussion of the role the humanities play alongside STEM, the trouble for society when the humanities are ignored, and the best ways to help students, parents, and administrators understand the value of the liberal arts for a complete education.  When it was all said and done, the chat was preserved via Storify so anyone can go back and explore more than 300 comments.

Yes, that's right.  More than 300 comments were offered in a one-hour discussion by some of the finest minds across North America, and those comments are available to anyone.  While there is no equal to and no replacement for personal interaction, a Twitter chat provides opportunities like no other for multiple voices to speak on a common topic and for their words to be available for future thought.

What are the great Twitter chats that you know?  Anna Baldwin, 2014 Montana Teacher of the Year, recommends #mtedchat, Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m., MST.  That chat has even included the governor, lieutenant governor, state superintendent along with other teacher leaders.  Gary Abud, 2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year, recommends #SATchat (Saturdays, 7:30 a.m., EST) and #miched (Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m., EST).  Josh Stumpenhorst, 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year, is a fan of #sschat (Mondays, 7:00 p.m., EST), #ntchat (Wednesdays, 8:00-9:00, EST), and #iledchat (Mondays, 9:00 p.m., CST).

Share in the comments your favorite Twitter chats!  We would love to know about more opportunities to engage with passionate educators about the important issues and topics in our field.


  1. I'm thrilled you posted this! Just a couple of weeks ago, my Content Area Literacy class students participated in a Twitter chat role-play with our class as I explained how it worked. Then I had invited several Twitter pros to participate with us for about 30 minutes, so my students (who are preservice teachers) could get the feel of a real chat. Their homework for the week was to participate in a scheduled Twitter chat focused on their content major with other tweeps and then write a blog post about it. It was fabulous! Most had never thought of using Twitter for anything other than following celebrities and posting what they had for dinner or a picture from a vacation spot. I was so happy to open up the Twitterverse for them, so they can start building their PLNs while still in college.
    Sorry to go on, but I just had to share!
    My favorite Twitter chats are: #edtechchat at 7pm central on Monday nights (starting in 5 minutes), #moedchat at 9pm central on Thursdays (because I'm from MO and now have met many from the chat at conferences!), and #teacheredchat on Mondays at 8pm central (this is the chat I started because there weren't really any for Teacher Education professors who prepare future teachers).
    By the way, my Twitter handle is @JenniferFox13 if anyone wants to follow-up or just follow!

  2. Jennifer, thank you for your comment! I love what you did with your preservice students! I will share this with others.


While I welcome thoughts relevant to discussions of education, comments that are vulgar, insulting, or in any way inappropriate will be deleted.