Bring a teacher to Twitter

This week is Bring a Teacher to Twitter week – a week to show non-tweeting teachers how fantastic Twitter is as a professional development opportunity.

So what is Twitter? Twitter allows you to publish 140 character long “tweets”, in essence micro blog posts that are shared with whoever chooses to follow you. You are free to choose whether your tweets are available for anyone to follow, or published privately – only available to the people you wish to see them. Paul Gillan explains here more about Twitter.

I created my @MrMathsTeacher twitter account on the 16th of November 2011 (WhenDidYouJoinTwitter.com) and started following people who tweet about maths teaching and education. Very quickly I realised how fantastic twitter is to learn more about teaching, to find new resources and to have your thinking challenged. As the NEA say:

Twitter won’t change your life, but it might make your job more fun and a little easier

 My top 5 reasons for using Twitter

  1. Teaching is about sharing – not reinventing the wheel. Nine times out of ten if you’re thinking about making a resource, the chances are that someone somewhere has made something very similar already – something that you can borrow or adapt and so save you time. The internet is full of websites containing resources – the only trouble being the variation in quality between them. Over the last week I’ve been made aware of some great websites containing brilliant resources – all because someone has found them, tested them, and then tweeted about how successful they have been in their classroom.
  2. As you develop your PLN you will be able to use it as a source of information. I’m in the process of making a display designed to inspire pupils about maths (blog post to follow!). As part of this I tweeted this question:

This was retweeted by 23 people and answered by many more. A related tweet even prompted a 5 minute discussion on Chris Evan’s breakfast show on Radio 2! I now have masses of quotes and ideas to use to create a fantastic display.

  1. Regular webchats take place on Twitter using hashtags to identify themselves. They are basically hour or half hour long CPD sessions on a given topic. Ian Addison explains more about #ukedchat in his blog article. I usually read and take part in #mathchat and sometimes #sltchat. Most webchats are archived on the internet to enable you to look back at them.
  2. Sometimes, despite the number of years of teaching experience you have, you can struggle with teaching a particular topic. You might lack ideas for making a dull topic interesting, or find it difficult to convey a concept to a group of pupils. Twitter is great for collaborative planning – particularly in conjunction with tools such as Dropbox or Google Documents. One great example of this is #UMFac – the Ultimate Maths Faculty, set up by Dave Gale – where maths teachers from across Twitter have contributed their ideas on teaching particular topics.
  3. Twitter allows you to keep up with the newest things in education and allows you to find out what is happening and seek advise and assistance. When the English results dropped in the Summer I saw teachers using Twitter to find out if it was just their school or whether others had been affected. I’ve seen teachers asking for advice on the latest technology they’ve been given to use in their classrooms; teachers seeking support on exam board changes and syllabus changes.

 Read more:

Getting started on Twitter

Registering an account on Twitter is very straightforward. Once registered though, you might find yourself asking where is all this wonderful CPD everyone has told me about? Who do I follow? How can I get started?

Hundreds of people have written about this so rather than me repeating what has already been said, have a look at some of these:

I will give two pieces of advise though:

  1. Make sure you fill in your profile information – people rarely follow accounts where there is no information about the person tweeting.
  2. Keep your tweets professional. I see my Twitter account and blog as being part of me as a teacher, and something that I would reference on a job application. Even if you don’t think you would do that, you want to be memorable for the right reasons to future colleagues or employers who might choose to follow you.
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One Response to “Bring a teacher to Twitter”

  1. Ginny Felix says:

    Thank you Mr Maths Teacher, I am always looking for ideas to make my maths lessons fun for my class. I teach in a Kura Kaupapa Maori – Total immersion in Te Reo Maori. Maths was always my worst subject, hated it at school, and had many sleepless nights and stressful days before exams. Because of teachers like yourself who share the knowlege, and the many wonderful Math sites online, my first year teaching (year 1 and 2) was an exciting and enjoyable one. I can honestly say that Math is now my favourite subject to teach, my kids love Math.

    I’ve just joined twitter, and although your site targets secondary school, everything you wrote was a great help. Thank you for today’s lesson.

    Maa te Atua koutou ko to whaanau e utaina ki ngaa manaakitanga i ngaa waa katoa. Mauri Ora – Blessings and Good health to you always.

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