Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Twitter-It's Not Just What's For Breakfast...

For some, Twitter is a place where people talk about themselves, show pictures of what they are eating or a platform for celebrities to make sure they are even more a part of our lives. And certainly those tweets and tweeters are out there. A simple search of a few key words will reveal a world of misfits, narcissists and sometimes even worse.

And this is what I am up against everyday. You might be too. Trying to explain to people what Twitter is and more and more what it is not. And in education it is especially hard trying to convince Superintendents, School Boards, administrators and others that Twitter is a viable place for learning about real-time events and a place where educators can take part in some really meaningful professional development.

I get asked all the time how do I show the benefits of Twitter to skeptics. What is my ammo, go-to sites and examples that I point to when talking about all this stuff? So finally I have organized it all into a short list and will give it to you so you can arm your self with Twitter knowledge and head out into the world and start changing some minds.

An Intro To Twitter
This is a video that I noticed just recently and wished I had it since I started. While it looks cute and cuddly (which it is) the way these 2 really break down what Twitter is helps me explain it even better when I talk to people.

Twitter In 60 Seconds
This is another one of my "go-to" videos when I talk to educators about Twitter. I like the analogies and how it focuses on the conversation aspect of Twitter. And it is only 60 seconds. Can't beat that!

Twitter Misconceptions
On this site are the Top 10 Misconceptions about Twitter. Things like people only tweet about what they eat for breakfast, or to Tweet means you have to give up massive amounts of time. 

There are lots of services that will copy what Twitter does. This one is a little different. What do you think George Washington would have tweeted as he lead the army across the Potomac? Or what would Mubarak had tweeted as he watched Egyptian empire crumble around him? Using Twister, kids and teachers can use a simple form to create tweets, even full profile pages around historical figures. There are several examples to look at and lots of possibilities. 

Twitter Chats
I have written a lot about this before but being able to show that there are lots of educators with similar curricular areas talking on a regular basis is huge for changing minds. Many don't think there is a chat for their area but when I show them Cybrary Man's page for chats, the lightbulb goes off.

7 Things You Should Know About Twitter
This 2 page PDF from Educase really breaks down what you need to know before dipping your toes into the Twitter water and explains how educators can get the most out of it.

How Twitter Makes You A Better Writer
This is one I use all the time because this was me. I was a horrible writer and had an awful time getting my thoughts down properly and in a concise way. Twitter has really helped me improve both of those things and more. (Although I do have a very long way to go...)

Twitter Can Save You Time
Another one I have found recently, this simple example from a good friend of mine about how he went to Twitter out of frustration and found exactly what he was looking for when no one else could provide it for him really helps to show one of the daily benefits many of us get when using Twitter.

Of course if I have more time I show lots more examples about how Twitter is used in the classroom (like the UT Dallas Twitter Experiment), or have some special guests talk about how they are using Twitter to do some really cool things with learning (like my good friends Shannon and Nick and their Epic Romeo and Juliet project that all evolved out of Twitter.).

I always point people to my Twitter Livebinder (below) that has tons and tons of all my Twitter info that I keep so they can read up on all this and more.

How do you explain Twitter to people? What are you resources? Leave some comments below.

Image From Geekandpoke-FlickrCC
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