Twitter as a Tool for Building Community

As education professionals, building community with parents and others is so important.

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Canadian Education Association:

We need to go where people are if we want to share with them.  As well, we (as a school or district) need to consider how we are creating and building our positive digital footprint in the online environment

How do we use social media sites such as Twitter to help us share with community?

We have collected stories to help you consider how you might use these tools in your context.

  1. Canadian Education Association – Parent Engagement

This article outlines what some school districts are doing in Canada, and it provides a list of resources for further exploration.

2. #TLDSBLearnsScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.47.20 AM

Follow this hashtag and observe how an entire school board is working together to create a very positive digital footprint on Twitter.

3. Aviva Dunsiger – HWDSB (@avivaloca)

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.42 AMAviva is a model in engaging parents through the use of Twitter.  Check out how she Tweets student learning throughout the day, then “Storifies” it for parents and adds her comments.

4. Digital LeadershipEric Sheninger

Follow Eric for endless tips and conversations about the importance of Digital Leadership in schools today.

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Activities for Learning

  1. What further examples of engaging parents and community through social media can you share?  Please add your ideas using the comments section of this blog.

Further Resources:

Eric Sheninger’s Blog

International Centre for Leadership in Education: Pillars of Digital Leadership

People for Education: Resources for Twitter

Five Ways for Schools to Engage with Parents on Social Media

Five Ways School Leaders Can Make the Most of Twitter

The Guardian: Talking to Parents in 140 Characters

Twitter Protocols for Education Professionals

No matter what environment you are in, there are social protocols to figure out and abide by.  The same goes for our online communities.

Twitter for education has protocols (or “norms”) that are not normally stated overtly, but that are important for maintaining professional relationships on the platform.  In the list below, we have shared some of those protocols.  Do you have more to add?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

In general, it is important to remember that when education professionals are using Twitter to self-direct their personal professional learning, they want to find value in the time they are able to spend online.

  1. Should I have different accounts for personal and professional tweeting?

This is a question that has been pondered on social media in the past.

Consider the purpose of your Twitter account.  If you are tweeting with your class or school, you may want to consider an account for that role.  If you are tweeting as an education professional separate from a specific group of students, you might think about it differently.

Here is some further thinking on this topic.

I don’t want two Twitter accounts

An example of a personal/professional account and a classroom teacher account (tweeting with young students) by the same person.


2. What should I tweet about?

Again, many educators have considered this question.

Here are some fun resources that will help you to consider this question.

What should Educators Tweet About?

Twitter as a Creative Outlet


3. Avoid self-promotion on Twitter

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If you were at a social event with your peers, would you be the loud and obnoxious one in the room, constantly talking about yourself and how wonderful you are?

Don’t be that person on Twitter!

Of course everyone wants you to share, particularly on Twitter chats as you are answering the questions.  However, something YOU have written on your blog is NOT the answer to every question!  And while we are using capitals, capital letters mean “shouting” online, so you do not need to use them in all of your tweets!

It’s more important to think of Twitter as a place where you can add value rather than a place where you need to be noticed.


Shared by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano on
Shared by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano on


4. Respect the filters!

There is a massive amount of information flowing on Twitter.  Learning to set up filters so that you can sort through that information and find things that are valuable to your practice is an important skill.  Please respect the filters people are using and avoid tagging people on your photos and on your posts unless they have specifically asked for the information.


5. Self-proclaimed “Twitter Pros” usually are not – Pros that is!

Be a critical thinker about advice.  Lurk on Twitter and watch.  Just because someone claims to be a “pro” and know it all, doesn’t mean they actually do.  Anyone can pretend to be anything on Twitter.  Have a critical eye to what is true, and teach your students to do the same.


6. Relax and Be Yourself

You will connect with many wonderful people on Twitter.  Many of these people will become your friends as you learn together, and you will meet many of them face-to-face.  Authentic relationships do thrive online, for many of the same reasons they thrive in f2f environments.

Be who you are, share generously, give more than you receive.

Learning Activities

  1. What suggestions can you add to this list?  We welcome your suggestions in the blog comments.



Image Credit: marc falardeau via Compfight cc


Further Resources:

Twitter Tips for Educators (from Twitter)

Kathy Schrock’s Twitter for Teachers

Twitter in 60 Seconds

Beyond Twitter: Connecting Virtually at Conferences

Twitter: PD How and When You Want it! (Lori Armstrong)

Twitter infographics

Twitter eBooks

Anatomy of a Tweet






What Can I Learn On Twitter?

This week, we asked folks in the @OSSEMOOC PLN to share a few examples of what they learn on Twitter.

Educators are very busy people.  We think it is important to demonstrate the types of connections you can make very quickly, and the just-in time learning you can experience by leveraging your Twitter PLN.

Here are a few examples.

  1. From our #OSSEMOOC group last week

2. Some learning shared by our colleague @kbbeutler from the #CE15L Twitter chat.

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3. What are you reading? From our colleague @WallwinS (& follow the author on Twitter, exceptional educator @Lpahomov)


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4. How can we enable classes and students to learn with others?  Connect first on Twitter.

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5. Using Twitter to connect through inquiry-based learning.

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6. Using Twitter to bust down language barriers.  Check out our bilingual sharing on #ontedleaders for learning and sharing from our French-language colleagues.  Use Google translate to participate!


What have you learned through Twitter this week?

Consider your answers to this question as we prepare for next week’s #OSSEMOOC Twitter chat.


Tools for Managing Twitter: Mobile Devices

How can we manage our Tweets on a mobile device? Here is an outline of how to use Hootsuite.


Today we are modelling the idea of using new tools for our work.  All of our previous screencasts have been recorded using a free online tool – ScreenCast-O-Matic (in the professional version that currently costs $15.00 per year).

Today’s screencast was recorded on a mobile device using Explain Everything, a tool that is popular for student use.  It is our first video made with this tool, so it isn’t perfect!  But this is how we all learn!

Tools for Managing Twitter

So far in this course, we have been looking at Twitter tools through the website.

As we become interested in several different online conversations, and as we learn about quite a few different hashtags, we need better ways to organize our various Twitter streams.

Today we will look at one tool to help us do that on a laptop/desktop computer.

Tweetdeck can be accessed through the site or as a Chrome App.

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Brandon Zoras continues his series of Twitter screencasts with a look at how Tweetdeck can be used to organize your Twitter feed on your laptop.