I learned about Twitter at NYCATE last year. I have been twittering on and off since. I only follow 20 people selectively but even those 20 are tough to keep up with and rarely offer any great new resources. Or offer too many that aren't even usable by real classrom teachers or is way over their heads (quoting a previous recent discussion here in 2.0) I find this forum the best way to truly learn and be engaged.

I am officailly kicking the Twitter Habit today. Who else has Twitter opinions? Anyone want to join my rebellion?

Tags: 2.0, micro-blogging, twitter, web

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I'd stake out the opposite camp. Not only is it useful, it's important.

It is not a source of detailed content. It's a radar picture of what's happening around me. It's a link into the wider web of resources. It's a community and a social space. It goes beyond being part of my job and links into my life.

I found that I didn't really *get* it until I crossed the 50 people boundary. At that point I seemed to be following - and was followed by - enough people that there was always something going past me in the twitter stream. I keep it open in a side bar in Firefox but I don't read everything that goes by. I check to see if anybody has sent me a tweet when I've been away but I don't try to scroll back thru the hundreds of exchanges. If it's important enough, it'll come around again.

The analogy of "river" is appropriate. You go to the river and watch what's passing by. Occasionally you might dangle a foot in, or throw a stick and watch it float downstream. Mostly you see what the river will bring you and when you leave, you leave. What passes while you're gone, is gone.

It *is* confusing, and sometimes bewildering. It's like walking the hallway of a busy school with the conversations swirling around you, but very very often I meet somebody coming in the opposite direction who has something that I want to hear about, something that helps me stay connected - not just to content that's "usable by real classroom teachers" - but to the world outside.

But your main point, that Classroom 2.0 is "the best way to truly learn and be engaged" for you is certainly valid. It drives *me* crazy, but that's ok. One of the magical ideas in World 2.0 is that we can each find the resources that work best for us and use them the way that serves our needs.
I like your analogy, but to continue on it, the River (or at least MY River) is muddy. I should have been more specific in my opening discussion. Maybe its just the people I am following, and maybe I actually do need to follow more to get over the hump, but when people throw out comments like Just Blogged this...with no reference to what it is and a tinyurl that doesn't allude to the topic, I'm not apt to take the time to check IT out, whatever IT might have been. (How was that for a run on sentence?) I'm an Instructional Technology Coach who spends most of the day working with teachers that, for many, aren't comfortable with the basics. I need real ideas. I guess I find those ideas more easily in this enviroment than I do on twitter.
Hi Stu,
Interesting discussion that seems to have roots that run much deeper than just Twitter. I am probably like some of the teachers you work with. I teach elementary school and have no idea how I would use Twitter in my classroom. As far as using it to find resources, I just don't have the time to sit next to the river and wait for a good resource to float by. Perhaps knowing which of the 50+ folks has valuable information about the topic I am interested in would help, then again why not just look to the toolbar on the right side of this discussion and hit the link that will lead me to a rich discussion about the exact topic I am interested in? Classroom 2.0 works for teachers like me because we can find what we need when we need it. "Just in Time" help or PD is the most powerful in my mind. Tech Coaches and Tech Integration specialists are not always available and, don't we really want teachers to become comfortable solving integration problems independently anyway? So, Twitter may be great for that group that lives on the cutting edge or for those in higher education but practically, from an ordinary classroom teacher, I haven't found a need or the time for it.

As far as keeping in touch with those around me, interestingly I text them. My teenagers live with their thumbs attached to their phones and my friends are either a call or text message away too. When not on the run AIM, Windows Messenger, and Facebook still seem to be the tools of choice. Perhaps when my kids begin to use Twitter I will pick it up too so I can stay connected.

The idea of connecting to the world via Twitter is an interesting one. I don't know if I could handle the volume of information that would be surging down that river! But, as the resident of a small house, in a small town, that probably just reflects the quiet life I choose to live. Wouldn't it be interesting to see Twitter demographics?
That's the point of twitter, Else. You don't sit and wait for the resource you want to come by. If you KNOW what you want, then google it.

Twitter is for those things you don't know exist. It's for finding out that somebody is going live in 20 minutes in Ustream. It's for the notice that in an hour, there's going to be a discussion in SL.

But you're both right (and Sylvia has some great points down below, as well) and twitter is not for everybody. There are no magic bullets. Best practices are not universally generalizable. That doesn't make twitter meaningless. It just means that it's not the right tool for that purpose.
I agree! And I didn't mean to imply that Twitter was meaningless, just look at the number of users! Not knowing what is out there and using Twitter to find out is what makes it such a great tool for folks that want/need to be on the cutting edge. It might also explain why the gap between Twitter use in the blogosphere and Twitter use among classroom teachers is so wide.

It seems there are many uses for Twitter, and I surely don't know the half of them. There may come a day when Twitter is as common in classrooms as Microsoft Word...I just can't picture that right now! Perhaps Twitter is a tool that will create a bridge into Web 3.0, a place where I imagine tools with so many different uses and capabilities that they defy categorization.
That's another thing! Who has a schedule that they can just stop what they are doing in 20 minutes to watch something on ustream, etc.? Do these people who put out all these resources seriously think that real educators just sit around a computer waiting for those things? Real life is you have classes to teach, a quick lunch and maybe an hour of planning time, an hour NOT spent waiting around on Twitter...
and yet, it happens...

I've seen more than a few times where people announce things on Twitter and sure enough, 20 people "show up" in Second Life, or ustream, or Skype. It's not always during school hours, and you have global time zones making things interesting too. There's a whole world going strong 24/7 out there!
Hi Stu,
I don't think you can view Twitter simply as a place to find resources. It's not going to ever be exactly what you need.

Another analogy - it's sort of like standing outside the library and looking at the books people carry in and out. That doesn't tell you much about what's in the library, or help you choose books you might like, but it might help you find some like-minded folks who you can start up a conversation with somewhere else.

I think of Twitter as a piece of my information sorting puzzle, along with the blogs I read, talking to people, magazines, books, delicious, a few email lists, and Classroom 2.0.
"just blogged this" and the tiny url.

I dont know what to say about this. Tiny URL is usually a function of twitter or the particular twitter client. there isn't really any way for the user to change that. People *could* be a bit more descriptive - no doubt - and if you're following the same people on your aggregator, then it doesn't matter what they tweet.

If you're following them because you want to know what they have to say and you're NOT following in your aggregator, then why wouldn't you want to click to see what they blogged about? Typically it's something they think will be of interest to the twitterverse. And if you look but they dont have anything useful, unfollow ...
Adding to nlowell's comments - I find twitter a great resource for links from fellow educators and as a hub for announcements for online events, streamed seminars, meetings in second life, etc. The key to avoiding the kind of data overload that twitter and rss feeds can provide is to know when to step away from the river and just let it flow past (to take that metaphor and stretch it completely out of shape.)
Hi Stu,

I'm sorry we've missed connecting via Twitter and welcome the opportunity to do so here. Please consider downloading and trying the Teacher Toolbar http://professionallearningboard.ourtoolbar.com

A lot of work goes into this tool to make it worthwhile and I'd value your insight, suggestions and feedback. Thanks!
I invite Classroom 2.0 participants using Twitter to follow me @epaxton and introduce yourself. I look forward to tweeting you!



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