Thursday, July 11, 2013

Build Your PLN on Twitter

Twitter is now considered an important tool for many educators, but this wasn't always the case. Several years ago, faculty started exploring possible uses in the classroom and educators of all sorts began to find each other and to share information. Twitter quickly became a core component of the emerging Web 2.0 Personal Learning Network (PLN).

“Prevail-Whale” by John Lemasney on Flickr
 Twitter has continued to grow in size (170+ million active users) and  popular and political influence.  For many, Twitter has become an incredibly important tool in their PLN and for  professional development.

How to Get Started
Find & follow
---Search hash tags (a hash tag is a way to designate a topic in Twitter using the # sign) and to find people posting valuable links and information. Some education hash tags: #Edtech, #SAChat (student affairs), #elearning, #STEM.
---Check out this post for more on hash tags and education.
---There is also a Google doc Index to Educational Twitter Hash tags.

Use lists to network
---Find lists of relevant people by topic (and add yourself to lists) at Listorious or WeFollow.
---When you find relevant people, see who they follow. This is the network effect.

Try Twitter chats
---Twitter chats
are live chats that occur at a regularly specified time and use a has hash tag to filter the Twitter stream. A tool like Tweetchat can help make these chats easier to follow and for adding your own contributions to the discussion. This post provides a list of some popular education-related chats. There is also a Google calendar of Educational Twitter Chats.
---Want more? A quick Google search will give you a lot to explore.

Twitter provides an excellent opportunity to make connections and collaborate with others.
 Try a couple of these suggestions and add your voice to the conversation.

Mark Gammon is an Academic Technology Researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder and a 2012-2013 TSMRI Research Fellow. You can find him on Twitter at @markgammon.

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