There are tons of innovative ways of using Twitter but I am only going to touch on two ways. First is the use of hashtags. Whenever I am in a webinar talking about hashtags, I am always asked what to explain what a hashtag was. A hashtag on Twitter is a word or phrase with the # symbol in front of it. It is like a keyword to help filter Tweets. We use ‘liveclass20′ when referencing our Classroom 2.0 LIVE webinar series on Saturday mornings. If a conference is happening, people use a term to represent that conference like ‘ASCD11′ that referred to the recent ASCD conference.
I was reading a blog post by Meg Wilson about educators using Twitter. She shared this about Twitter,
If you are a new teacher, I highly recommend that you be a part of the Twitter community. If you aren’t comfortable tweeting just yet, you can still make great use of Twitter searches. You can locate some excellent resources just by searching hashtags like#EdReach, #EdChat, #EdTech, #IEAR, or #SpEdChat (just to name a few, but there really is a search for almost every topic out there… Jerry Blumengarten has a fabulous list here). Once you experience the wealth of resources that are available on Twitter, I am positive that you too will want to be a part of the conversation.
On certain days of the week, you can participate in a group chat using the specified hashtag. #edchat occurs on Tuesdays at 12pm EST and 7pm EST. This is a great article discussing ways you can participate in a group chat on Twitter. You can use any of the desktop Twitter applications, like Tweetdeck, to follow a group chat. Tweetdeck is great because you set up different columns and follow group chats on designated days of the week.
The second use of Twitter that I think is so innovative is when teachers or students have a Twitter where they portray a fictional character, famous historical person, or trending topic from current events. Lots of people set up fake Twitter accounts trying to be celebrities so Twitter resorted to putting the label of verified informing other Tweeters that the Twitter account is actually who the bio says they are.
Civil War Sallie is actually Jim Beeghley’s daughter, Sara, who blogs and posts Tweets from the viewpoint as a traveling bear that visits classrooms. The classrooms take the bear on a variety of field trips and then mail back to the bear Civil War Sallie. The bear shares her travels with everyone via a website at Civil War Sallie. Sara was our guest on Classroom 2.0 LIVE and she shared the wonderful adventures Sallie Ann had been on that month. You can view the archived session on #liveclass20.
There is a website, and I can’t think of the name right now, where someone acts as a historical figure and answers questions from students as the historical figure is still alive around the time the person died – kind of like freezing time for the figure or someone turning ’29’ for the 12th time. Seriously though, you can do the same with Twitter. I have come across Twitter accounts that do just this and it is really interesting to see the content posted from the Tweeter.
fdfYou can follow Shakespeare and see what he has to say about the plays he wrote way back when. One really hysterical Tweeter is @BronxZoosSnake. If you just came out from under a rock, or been away from your TV for awhile, you may have just learned that a Cobra snake from the Bronx Zoo escaped from his cage in the reptile house and is loose in the Bronx Zoo. In a few days’ time, the snake has over 111,000 followers and increases every hour – especially since the snake’s Twitter account has been shared on several television shows and newscasts. The @BronxZoosSnake has not been found I am loving the adventures the snake has experienced and the people he/she has encountered.