Aug 03

SPREAD YOUR KNOWLEDGE! (Part V) ‘Join Twitter’ by Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell)

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Stage 1: Newbie

I believe Twitter works in stages that interlock, which is shown in the above image. I joined Twitter in April 2009 when my little sister asked me if Twitter was useful for educators. I had to investigate, so I joined and added some educators I knew and all the educators in my field on the Twitter for Teachers wiki.

Stage 2: Reporter

However, my Twitter adventure actually began on May 17, 2009. I was at a poetry reading hosted by my colleague and friend, Karenne Sylvester, who pointed out that she never saw me on Twitter. At the time, I did not understand how to use Twitter and posting updates about my life made me feel silly!

However, at this point a light bulb went off in my head as I realized I could tweet about the fascinating projects other educators were doing. Immediately, I went home and tweeted about the poetry event. Additionally, I began clicking the links of the people I was following, leaving comments on blogs, and tweeting their blogs. These helped me establish relationships and make connections with other progressive minded educators.

Stage 3: Subject Matter Expert

So what do you tweet about if you are not tweeting about others?

We cannot always tweet about others. Part of the Twitter experience is also establishing your self within the educational community. For me, this question really helped me to make connections on Twitter. I began to reflect on what I could offer my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and what impression I wanted them to have of me. I changed my Twitter profile background and began tweeting links I collected over the years that helped me plan lessons or helped me with my Master’s thesis on closing the achievement gap of English Language Learners through Web 2.0 technology.

Immediately, I started a blog, because I wanted to investigate the various educational tools provided by my PLN. Moreover, I felt I had put several hours into gaining experience and researching these two fields that I did consider myself a subject matter expert in these fields. What does your education and experience make you a subject matter expert in? Tweet links or ideas related to this subject that you find through your Google reader or through Google alerts.

Stage 4: Involvement

This stage is the most important and must be the foundation of the other stages. Involve yourself with the people you connect with by retweeting their links, answering their questions, starting discussions with them, creating links to their blogs from your blog, joining their projects, or joining their networks. If an educator is rude enough not to respond to your conversation attempts, please try again with another educator who will respond. I apologize for their bad Twitter manners.

Below is a graph of the projects I have been involved in since I began really using Twitter three months ago. Moreover, this graph shows the possibilities that await you if you join Twitter and really use this social forum to establish relationships with progressive minded educators.

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I recommend the following links for getting started on Twitter:

Get a free Twitter mentor

This slide show will help you with the basics

Review my Youtube Channel with several Twitter tutorials,

Visit my previous Twitter posts by clicking here.

shellymitierraphotoShelly, a native Texan, is an English language instructor and curriculum writer in Germany. Additionally, she has taught the Twitter for Beginners and Managing Twitter online courses series for Edufire.

Visit her blog at http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/


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  1. Shelly Terrell

    Thank you Burcu for allowing me to be part of this great project! You have some wonderful educators contributing to this series that I have learned a lot from.

    I would also like to add another post to my recommended list, which is Jason’s (English Raven) post, Twitter for Teachers!

  2. Peter Travis

    Hi Shelly & Burcu

    Thanks for this personal insight into how you became involved with Twitter. Like you Shelly, I’ve only been on Twitter a short while and again like you, it quickly became apparent that Twitter is unlike anything else I ‘ve used on the web. My only concern with Twitter is how addictive it can become and I do have to control the amount of time I spend twittering.

    In terms of blogging, I really like the way several people I’ve come acroos through twitter host other people’s posts like here for example: a concrete example of the benefits of the shared, collaborative relationships.

    Best wishes

    Peter Travis

  3. ozge

    Thanks for sharing your experience about Twitter with us =) Once more it’s a great post and I liked reading it!!
    I haven’t been tweeting for a long time but I’m an addict now! I can honestly confess that I have spent my whole summer on Twitter and every day I enjoy it more because I learn a lot and make some great connections by following all those great people! I like seeing news on Twitter before it shows up anywhere else and I can stay on top of what is going on ELT.
    Great to connect with you all via twitter!!

    @burcu your blog ROCKS!!! =)

    1. burcuakyol

      I thank you for this great article Shelly! Guest writing is like visiting a neighbor for a cup of coffee and taking her a piece of cake:-) Your cake is delicious! Thanks for sharing!


  4. burcuakyol

    Thank you Ozge! I should say that you are a great tweeter! I really like the links you’re sharing with us.

    Have you ordered your twitter T-shirt yet?:-)

  5. Heike Philp

    Hi Shelly,

    Is this really true that you started using Twitter 3 months ago? You started blogging 3 months ago too?

    Now you are teaching twitter webinars. Wow, I have not seen such a steep learning curve in a long time.

    And what a great blog this is about using Twitter!
    I am blown away.

    Please tell me, did you learn all of this by yourself using Twitter?

    Rgds Heike

    1. shellterrell


      I agree with Burcu, you provide great links and I think your young students are fortunate to have such a teacher dedicated to using technology to improving learning outcomes. How did you find out about Twitter? Are the teachers in your school open to professional development through social media like Twitter or Nings?

  6. marisaconstantinides

    Great post, Shelly and good to see you in Burcu’s front parlour, a great place to be!

    I am impressed by your article and have put it up on my Facebook page hoping it will generate interest and more involvement from other educator/FB friends.

    Here is the comment left by a friend:

    “Very cool. At first, I was unsure how Twitter worked with its word limits, but now I get it. There’s breadth of exposure, quick updates, and linking. I can use this. Yes.”

    So I say, Shelly, mission accomplished. If you can get even one educator engaged, that is a great thing to do.

  7. [Blocked by CFC] cathy ~Tadpoles and Teacups

    Nice article! It’s fun being a part of the Tweet-generation.


  8. Aniya

    Great post, I found it via Facebook, although I had seen it before and actually tweeted it via my best friend BlackBerry 😉 Keep up the good work girlies 😉 Let me add, Twitter is great for professional involvement and in our case educational, and for making new friends like we all have, once you understand how it all works and stay ‘tuned in’ it’s a must, it does need quite a lot of your time so you need the right tools to handle it to keep up with the pace, all in all a must for tech savvy people/educators.

  9. MrArakaki

    This is a great overview of the Twitter experience. I’m going to send this to a few of my team teachers. I’ve been telling them of what I’ve been getting out of PLN’s and networking and they seem pretty interested.

    This seems like a good way to show them what it could be like. Thanks for this!

  10. Candan

    Dear Burcu,

    Do u know the song "Because of u…" Now I remembered it at once. And I've changed the words a little bit:
    Because of you I got addicted to twitter..Because of you I'm thinking of having a blog.. Because of you I met Shelly and wonderful PLN world,
    ..And you opened a new door before me, i entered in, dazzled by the richness of this world:) Wow, these are all bec. of u ! It's 3 a.m. and i'm writing this post! :) Thank u:)

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