Getting Started With Twitter and ThingLink

As our faculty work through the PLC’s at Marian Catholic, I will be posting our lessons and resources for the Apps and/or Technology we are learning about.  We will start on September 9 with Notability.  However, I wrote this blog post about Twitter and ThingLink over the summer and never got around to posting it.

Never thought of Twitter as a tool for Educator? Don’t really care what Justin Bieber Tweets?
Click here for an Educators Introduction to Twitter.  This video debunks many misconceptions teachers have about Twitter. It also explains how Twitter can be useful to us as educators.

What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called “tweets”. Your Twitter handle starts with @ (@polonerd). Since this is Social Media, the idea is to “follow” other people, and to gain “followers”. Your Tweet can include images, and links to websites or online videos.

When you include a # (Hashtag) in your tweet it allows other people to find your post by searching for similar #’s. You can also search by a person’s Twitter handle (@).

How complicated is Twitter?
It is easy to post messages on Twitter, but can be overwhelming at first. The easiest way to use Twitter is to use an App like Hootsuite on your iPad, or an App like Tweetdeck on your computer. These apps allow you to search for certain #’s or Twitter handles, and keep your searches organized in columns.

What App(s) do I need to use Twitter?
Twitter, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck (Tweetdeck can only be used on a computer not an iPad)

Why would I want to Tweet?
Most conferences now use a specific # (hashtag) for people to follow. These are used:

  • Before you arrive – to give updates on schedule changes or special events
  • While you are at the conference to respond during sessions, or to post comments about a session you are attending.
  • After the conference it is used as a follow up to topics discussed at the conference.
  • This also gives you an opportunity to connect with other professionals who are either at the conference or whose work is referenced in a session.

How do I use this in the classroom?

  • Twitter can be used to get information out to students by using a school Twitter account, but remember that it is NOT ok to follow students on Twitter.
  • You can Tweet a question or topic, and require students to respond to your Tweet with their own thoughts. You can see all these responses in one place by using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or by searching for a particular hashtag (#).
  • You can receive feedback through retweets, favorite, and replies.
  • This can be EXTREMELY useful to you as a professional by developing your PLN.

Create your PLN – Personal Learning Network
There are literally 100’s of educational “chats” on Twitter every week. These usually last for 1 hour and in many cases the conversations are archived in a Google Doc or Storified. The number of resources and ideas being shared amongst educators on Twitter is almost immeasurable. By following a certain hashtag (# on Twitter) or participating in one of these Twitter Chats, you can gain some great insight and resources for your own classroom.

By “following” other educators and professionals on Twitter, you can access the information they share through their tweets and see what others have to say about these same topics.

Willing to get started?
Click here and learn how to sign up for a Twitter Account
This is no longer something just for our students. This is a very powerful tool we can use as educators to connect and learn from each other.

Click on the links below for articles and other blogposts about Twitter.

How Twitter is Reinventing Collaboration Among Educators

60 Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom

Using Twitter on your iPhone or iPad

Learn How to Participate in Twitter Chats for Education

What is ThingLink?
ThingLink interactive images help students develop 21st century skills and enrich their enthusiasm for learning. Be creative! Make your images come alive with video, text, images, shops, music and more! Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories. ThingLink works on all modern web browsers as well as iPad and iPhone. (Thinglink Example – Amazon Rainforest)

Click here for Richard Byrne’s video on “How to Create Interactive Images Using Thinglink”.

Examples of Thinglink
This example can be used to clarify iPad icons.   Click Here to see the iPad hieroglyphics from Greg Kulowiec @gregkulowiec

Use this as an interactive map of Marian Catholic for new students or visitors to the school.  Click Here to see the ThingLink of Marian Catholic.

My next post will cover Keynote and Socrative


About Sean Scanlon

Director of Instructional Technology Marian Catholic High School Google Certified Trainer
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