Using Twitter to Expand your PLC
Twitter Professional Development: Engaging a Worldwide Professional Learning Network

METC Precon Presentation

February 8, 2010 -- 9 - 12 noon

"Tools don't teach, but they can change the way we teach."
Chris Lehmann from NECC 2009 via Twitter

Resource for Inspirtional Education Quotes Diigo Educational Quotes Group

Evil Twitter image by

Learning Plan

This is intended to be a beginner/intermediate session for people interested in

using Twitter for Professional Development (personally and with colleagues/students).

Overall Goal:Attendees will gain process skills related to using Twitter, connect with other educators, and begin sharing resources.

  1. (8:30 am) "Shout-Out" to Twitterers worldwide to follow our work session via Twitter using the hashtags #metc_csd and #twit4ed
  2. Welcome
    1. Introductions -- at your leisure add personal information to wiki (Attendee Information Table)
    2. Share Twitter Experiences
    3. What each participant hopes to learn from this session?
  3. Discussion: What is Twitter? How can Twitter help me be a better teacher?
  4. Electronic Handout: Setting up Your Twitter Account) via METC Moodle.
  5. Creating a Twitter PD account
    1. Set up your account (use handout #4 above if you needed assistance)
    2. Start following educators and more via Twitter educator lists looking at individuals' "tweets",
      1. Go to websites to find lists of educators to follow:
      2. Educational Twitterers (People to Follow)
      3. Twitter List Example (#educon Twitter LIst)
        1. For more info on Twitter Lists (
      4. Shared Google Spreadsheet List of Educators: Twitter for Professional Development
    3. Search through "Mentions" and "Retweets" (ie. @21stcentskills) to expand yourTwitter PD network. If someone's "Tweets" interest you, follow them.
    4. Search your interests in Twitter Search,
    5. Continue expanding your network.
  6. Mining resources from those you follow.
    1. (Copy and paste resources to our Twitter resource pages--Resources by Content Area and Uncategorized Resources. To post information into this wiki, simply go to the proper page and click on "Edit" in the upper right corner.
  7. Retweet "Tweets" sharing information with your "Followers" If you regularly retweet worthy resources, people will want to follow and retweet your tweets.
  8. Share "Twitterers" to follow in this "Twitter for Education" wiki on the "People to Follow" page.
  9. Feel free to post any thoughts/comments related to this exercise or the general use of Twitter on the Tips & Comments page.
  10. Break
  11. Status Report:
    1. Informal Poll: How many people are you following thus far? How many people are following you?
    2. Questions/Reviewing Twitter set-up, finding people to follow, and effective ways to effectively expand one's Twitter PD account.
    3. Discussion: How can Twitter serve your personal and professional development (PD) needs?
  12. Pause, reflect on the process and your successes/challenges!
  13. Extension Activity:
    1. Discussion Groups: Attendees form small groups and discuss challenges, solutions (what worked for them and what did not work) and sharing tips/comments using the "#twit4ed" hashtag (or posting this information to this "Twitter for Education" wiki on the "Tips & Comments" page).
  14. Break
  15. Hashtags: How to attend conferences and follow virtual events virtually.
    1. Use hashtags to follow conferences and events (See Defining Twitter page for a list of hashtags and links to other lists of hashtags.)
  16. Twitter Search: Using the search engines Twitscoop and Topsy to find more specific to your needs. Share your discovered resources by either retweeting while adding the #twit4ed hashtag (and #METC) or add resources to Resource Page, Twitter Resources page, or Tips & Comments.
  17. Break
  18. Share/discuss other Twitter apps (TweetDeck, Twhirl, Tweetie, Seesmic, Twitterrific, etc.) and mention rival Plurk, FriendFeed, and other microblogging tools.
  19. Share/discuss Twitter Apps & Stuff that enhance Twitter. Long lists on Defining Twitter page (great resource =
  20. Break
  21. "Twitter Experiment--UT Dallas" video.
  22. Discussion/Brainstorming: Using Twitter in the Classroom (add to wiki, tweet comments with "#twit4ed)
  23. Supporting articles, videos, discussion, documenting ideas/learning in this wiki.
  24. Continue work Expanding your PLN finding new people to follow, gaining resources, and learning in the process.
  25. Time Remaining--Option #1: Trying FriendFeed, Plurk, etc. Attendees discuss/write reviews of Twitter apps and tools.
  26. Time Remaining--Option #2: General Web 2.0 discussion (Using and adding to a list on this wiki page!)
  27. Time Remaining--Option #3: Using Google Docs for Teaching and Learning (teachers, students, administrators)
  28. Reflection, Feedback, &/or Comment via Wallwisher -- Click here!
  29. Typewritten Feedback -- click here!


Originally I wanted to combine a session featuring Twitter and Google Docs for professional development. I was planning to demonstrate the collaborative and sharing aspects of Google Docs. Using Twitter skills, teachers can easily establish professional learning networks (PLN's) beyond their school and local school district. School or district-based content area groups (departments) should create a Google document using resources gleaned from Twitter to share readings and information relative to their teaching and personal professional development. Given the readily available resources, teachers can effectively use such tools as "Socratic Circles", think-pair-share to reflect upon their learning. It is very important that teachers begin to work more in teams. It is just as healthy for teachers to work together as it is for students to do the same. Given thousands of education-related wikis, videos, and blogs, there is no shortage of resources in today's world. We don't necessarily need to "reinvent the wheel", but we need to take risk trying new things in our classrooms. If we are going to be innovative, then we must try new things and have our students do things that have never been done before. Once we try this and have some success, all participants will be teaching and learning. Won't that be exciting and relevant to our learners.