Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

Twitter to Enhance Learning & Performance

Twitter provides the opportunity to have micro-conversations in 140 characters or less. This social media platform has been repurposed by a number of educators for workplace learning. Twitter is not the only form of professional development available and you do not have to tweet to learn.  That being said, an increasing number of educators have repurposed and remixed Twitter for work learning and performance. You would be surprised what 140 characters can do to create community and interaction online. A number of grassroots initiatives have developed for educators to consider Twitter as part of their professional development plans for informal learning, scholarly development, and shared practices. For me, the last seven years spent on Twitter has been invaluable. This platform continues to provide an open, informal learning space to collaborate and banter with a community of educators. Thanks for that, Larry.

Twitter Bird in the Lattice

Flickr photo c/o Brian Kopp

Twitter is really the “water-cooler” for educators to share news, post reports/trends, read the news, review research, ask questions, gather information, and curate knowledge. Educators are increasingly expressing ideas and links to relevant websites, videos, articles, images, etc. related the workforce.  This commentary and resources were shared for my own learners and other training participants who want to “get started” with workplace learning and performance – so I welcome your shared suggestions for helpful Twitter resources and tips in the comments below.

The Twitter Basics:

Hashtags & Backchannels

GotHashtag

Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a Tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter. Besides a current event or pop culture reference, Twitter has been an essential part of the conference tool kit to support sharing on the backchannel. You no longer have to be in-person to engage in the workshops, presented talks, or round table discussions via the live experience. There’s now a full stream of activity created around single hashtags for professional development and workplace learning events.

Here are just a few Hashtags to SEARCH and Follow:  

  • #AcWri (academic writing)
  • #highered
  • #digped
  • #edtech and #onlinelearning
  • #phdchat and #gradchat and #SAdoc
  • #Open and #OER and #openaccess
  • #acadv (academic advising)
  • #StudentAffairs and #sachat
  • And MORE!
  • P.D. hashtags related to your field and conferences, e.g. 2015 Education and Ed Tech Conferences [Psssst… you can add to it if  I’m missing any!]

What Is a Twitter Chat and How to Make the Most of ItTwitter chats are threaded discussions using a hashtag to dialogue about a specific subject.Twitter chats are linked conversations via a single hashtag that participants can search, follow, and include in their own Tweet as they respond during the Twitter chat time. Twitter chats are similar to online chats, forums, or discussion boards; however, they are often synchronous and active during a designated date and time. The hashtag for many chats continues past the “live” event on Twitter for others who want to share and engage. Some Twitter chats guide the discussion or have open topics central theme, while others Twitter chats are moderated in a structured question-response format. E.g. Edu Chat Calendar http://bit.ly/educhatcalendar and the Twitter Directory from IHE. 

Other Twitter Tips & Resources:

Learning Community, Micro-Blogs

Teaching with Twitter

Some college students may be introduced to instructors & courses that ENCOURAGE micro blogging with Twitter.

Twitter is becoming a fast buzz in both media and celebrity circles, however, I think that more teachers are beginning to realize the power this social media tool for learning.

Here are a few benefits for professors who experiment with Twitter as a teaching tool:

  • source of news
  • opinions of peers
  • gain knowledge from experts
  • live & archived tweeting in class
  • capture lecture content
  • add depth to lecture material
  • build a learning community inside & beyond the classroom

For those faculty/instructors who might consider tweeting in class, I might recommend that you start up your own Twitter account and play with it. Also, be sure to read up about strategies &tools that to optimize learning with Twitter.

I personally like TweetDeck (an Adobe Air-based app) to organize & categorize my tweets. I can clearly see my messages, replies and content areas I am interested in at a quick glance.  Some categories I use for tweets include Higher Ed, Web Tools, Career Research, T.O., Students, etc.

Are YOU tweeting with your students? If so, please share!

Micro-Blogs, Social Media

What the Tweet?

There’s a whole lot of buzz in the news, on the political scene and elsewhere about micro-blogging with Twitter.  As an educator, you decided to join to see what the tweet it was all about.

The good news is that educators CAN use this social media tool to connect with resources & individuals in their profession.  Be sure to check out The Top 100 Edu Tweeters who share great resources, information & news about education.

Here are a few that I have been following on Twitter [and I am sure that a few more will be added shortly]:

  • @OpenUniversity: The Open University offers university education to everyone, and shares tips, news, and developments through this Twitter stream.
  • @utpress: This Tweeter offers news from Canada’s oldest and largest scholarly publisher.
  • @Librarian: This tweeter works to “reach the parts other libraries have yet to reach.”
  • @edventures: John Martin is a technology architect for higher education.
  • @eduguru: Follow edguru to learn about Internet marketing and web development for higher education.
  • @higheredu: Higher Edu works to get colleges and universities on Twitter.