Dear Teacher who wasn’t on Twitter…

Partially inspired by Scott McLeod’s post  If You Were on Twitter.

Dear Teacher,

I know you don’t see the point of Twitter. I know you think people should have a balanced life and not be online too much. I know you think a great deal of time is required to find resources and create connections.

Last Sunday was a lovely, sunny day. Among other things, I went for a walk in the city, spent time with family, went out for breakfast with friends, cooked a pot of lentil soup, finished Seth Godin’s Poke the Box and read several chapters of A Man of Parts by David Lodge.

I also spent 30 minutes on Twitter participating in #elemchat, where primary school teachers around the world exchange ideas and share their challenges. Here’s some of what I got out of that half hour:

  • A variety of new web 2.0 story book creators to explore and share with my colleagues.
  • Inspiration and ideas from @dogtrax, like his environment project.
  • The idea of using Edmodo for reading discussions.
  • A promising collaboration with Tania Ash  in Morocco to start a world reading group for primary school students!
  • The start of a connection with @plnaugle who shares my interest in inquiry learning.
  • Discovery of another PYP educator @ctrlaltdeliver to add to my contact list.
  • Potential collaborators for our unit about cultural beliefs.
  • A comforting sense that educators worldwide encounter the same challenges that we do at our school.
  • New contacts in several countries for future global collaborations.
  • A reminder that there is no professional learning quite like half an hour on Twitter!
You should give it a try. I’ll help you get started if you like.
PS. There was a great #edchat session today on the role of blogging in 21st century learning, it’s value and the challenges, both for students and teachers. But that’s another story…


31 thoughts on “Dear Teacher who wasn’t on Twitter…

  1. Great post! Very timely, just about to talk to teachers about Twitter and PLN. I just wrote a post about Twitter myself, but yours really brings it to life. Thankyou.


  2. This is is how I feel too Edna, I tend to catch Twitter in odd moments. Sometimes on my phone while waiting to pick up my son from the train, or while on the sofa at night while semi watching tv. I refuse to view that as work or effort as I always get more from my dips than I put back in. In fact right now I am inspired to read, to comment and to learn while relaxing in the evening with my family. Why some other teachers cannot see this is something I still fail to understand. My teaching has improved so much in my time on Twitter, thus making my classroom and my life more fun, more engaging and more worthwhile.


  3. Hi Edna – a fantastic post that every teacher should read – of we could just get some of them reading blogs, let alone Twitter!

    I can honestly agree with you – it’s the best PD I’ve been involved in during my teaching career and I’m now using it in my study too. It’s been a great source of information and links to research, as well as teaching ideas.

    Apart from anything else, it’s just been fantastic to connect with like minds all over the world. 🙂


  4. Hi Edna, loved reading this, thank you! Will def pass on to teachers in my school. Very well written, great job!


  5. I love the way in this post you outlined what you learned in thirty minutes of twitter.Within those thirty minutes you had accessed new ideas , people, and culture that you may have never been exposed to you without twitter. I think that teachers are afraid of twitter because they do not know how to use it properly. I believe it is all about who you follow. If you don’t mind me asking, who are a couple of people you follow that are inspirational to you?


    1. I can’t pin it down to a couple! it depends what you are interested in. The easiest way is to use tweetdeck and have a column for different hashtags like #edchat, #elemchat, #edtech, depending on your interests. Then you can follow whole lists eg I have one for educators (it’s old though!) and a PYP list. Then it doesn’t matter so much about what individuals you follow.Mae connections with people you like from here and start your own list.Look for ideas here too


      1. Would you consider allowing me to use this (with credit given, of course) or pieces of it with my staff in the fall? I am just unleashing the power of Twitter on them (I’m the principal) and starting my own staff development around how to use it for own PLN and in your classroom. Thanks!


  6. I leave a chat with so many new ideas and feeling both revived and validated. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank you, Edna, for being part of my PLN.


  7. This is my first time using Twitter! I honestly didn’t know where to start but having this sent to me has kick started my journey. Thank you!

    So my main concern is where to start and then how to stop. There is just so much. It feels a bit like exploring outer space – I don’t know which direction to go in and wherever I look there are no limits.

    Any suggestions?


  8. Hi Sarah! Welcome to Twitter. There is lots of advice to be had here on our school wiki set up the fabulous @lindawollan (you can follow her) Our teachers don’t use Twitter yet, but she set this up in advance of our session today!
    Quick advice: 1. Use Tweetdeck 2. Follow hashtags like #edchat and #elemchat and #edtech 3. Don’t even think of trying to keep up. You just dip in and out and and see what’s there at the time. 4. It takes quite a while to establish yourself.5. Talk directly to people in order to make it work eg say: @whatedsaid can you suggest some people i can follow?!
    If you have more questions, ask them right there on twitter, but add a hashtag like #edtech, then everyone can see it not just the people who follow you. Or add @lindawollan or @kathleeen_morris or @clivesir or @mgraffin….


    1. You replied so quickly. Thank you!

      I am ashamed to say that I understand very little of what you say but I am determined to learn. It is all out there, isn’t it, and everyone is so helpful.

      This is real communication. I have excluded myself and then became disinterested because I completely misunderstood the whole community/communication possibilities.

      It is very exciting – like discovering a lost city! Sorry – I have a tendency to be a bit dramatic…..



    2. Just staring as well… question.. how do you join edchat? and not clear on the hashtags.. how to use them or where to put them…


  9. Great post. Oh the places you go with Twitter! I am a new blogger and have been working on building a following by doing blog hops and the such. I have come across some really great blogs created by teachers who aren’t on Twitter and it’s a shame because I probably won’t visit them very much. I have created a separate list for teaching/education on Twitter so I can filter out the rest of the world when I want to and visit teacher blogs via their tweets. I happened upon you by way of “Teacher in Me” whom I met on a Tweet Chat with Really Good Stuff last week! Twitter is amazing!


    1. I am still not sure what to do.

      Help! I truly do not know what to do next.

      I have followed some links from this blog and it really is very exciting and positive. Are there any foolproof steps I could take to get started?


  10. Only a month late, but very much worth reading. I truly value the concrete examples of abstract ideas. They make the abstractions real.


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