Jane Hart has come out with her 9th Annual survey of over 2,000 educators and the technology they use. The Top 100 Tools for Learning is lead, again, for the 7th year in a row, with Twitter. Teachers use Twitter in the classroom, but more often use it to develop their PLN, or Personal Learning Network.
Twitter is the most popular microblog, where people post about what they are doing, or what is interesting for them. Teachers often post about good articles they find, or teaching techniques they are using. To follow these people, to read their short 140-character posts, is to learn. You can shape your Network, and make it more Personal, focused on Learning, by selecting which people you follow.
You can add this to Facebook, and RSS feeds for your daily information “grazing”. Save the posts you find the most interesting for later referral. Use the Educator’s Ultimate Twitter Guide to get started. It may seem silly at first, but after a month, you will find it very useful. You can even post a question, and people that follow you might have an answer. But you have to post your own ideas first, so other follow you.
As an example, we see here my twitter feed. I don’t post very much, only 900 times, but it seems when I do post, people find it interesting, because I have 300 followers. I only follow 90 people, but they are people that know a lot about what I am interested in. So when I get home in the evening, or when I have a few minutes on the train, I can “dip into the stream” of messages and maybe catch an interesting idea or two.
People are not shy about posting here in Japan either. There was a summer a couple of years ago when Japan was posting more than the US. The trick is to manage who you follow and post interesting information so others follow you. Once you learn the system, a few minutes a day can be very beneficial.
If anyone is interested in using Twitter with their students, let me know. That could be another tool in your belt.