The Little Blue Bird

Twitter seems to be the latest greatest fad in education: administrators have their “usernames” at the end of their emails and ask you to follow them so you can keep up to date about what is going on at your school; every conference you go to wants you to “Tweet” about what you are learning and asks you to include something called a “hashtag” If you have found yourself thinking “What is the big deal about Twitter?” then you have come to the right place.

Twitter is “one-stop-shopping” for teachers. On one website or app, a teacher can find community and world connections, meet other educators who teach the same topics, watch videos of exemplar lessons, and participate in quality professional development with educational experts.

This self-paced class will teach you to set up your own Twitter account, build your Professional Learning Network, participate in professional development on your own time via Twitter Chats, and begin “Tweeting” for yourself, your classes and your school.

About Twitter

Why Twitter

Why Twitter? Ask 20 different teachers and you will get 20 different answers. Watch the following videos below to see some of the reasons educators are turning to Twitter to make their lives easier.

Lesson 1 - Setting up your own Twitter account

What is Twitter?

What IS Twitter?  Technically speaking, it is a micro-blogging website where anyone can share pictures, quotes, videos, or their own thoughts using 140 characters. Once you have set up your own account and begin to follow other people, their Tweets will show up on your page in your feed. Twitter is different every time you log in so there is no pressure to “catch up” on what you missed.

The following video provides an explanation about Twitter and how it can benefit you as a teacher.

Signing up for Twitter Task List

  • On a computer, go to the website at
  • Go to the sign up form and enter your full name, email address and password.
  • Twitter will create a username for you based on the name you entered and availability. You can change to a different name if you want. Twitter will post a green check mark at the end of each field if it is approved. If a red X appears, then you must change the entry.
  • When you have finished entering all of your information, click Create my Account.
  • Twitter will take you through a short tutorial, and will suggest who to follow.
  • Twitter will also send you an email for you to validate your account.

Twitter Images

Images of the Twitter set up pages

Twitter Sign in Screen

Choosing a username

Checking In

Once you have created your Twitter account you will need to the following:

  • Follow your instructor on Twitter @shannongpetty
  • Take a screenshot of your home page and email it to your instructor, indicating that you have finished Lesson 1 and how comfortable you were with the sign up process.
  • Email to [email protected]
  • Wait until you hear from your instructor before beginning the next lesson.

Lesson 2 - Twitter Vocabulary

Words you need to know

For beginners, the world of Twitter can be very confusing. Being familiar with the commonly used vocabulary makes Twitter use easier and more beneficial. The following terms are some of the more frequently used terms and will help you navigate the “Twitterverse” with ease.

Tweet – (n) a Tweet may contain photos, videos, links and up to 140 characters of text.

            (v) the act of sending a Tweet

Retweet (RT) – the act of sharing another account’s Tweet to all of your followers.

Follow – subscribing to another user’s Twitter account is called “following.”

Mention (@) – Use the @ sign to call out usernames in Tweets

Feed – a feed is a list of updates of Tweets that are constantly being updated. Your homepage, for instance, is a feed of Tweets of accounts you follow

Handle – Your identity or username on Twitter

Direct Message (DM) – Private messages sent from one Twitter account to another

Hashtag (#) – a word or phrase proceeded by the # symbol. When you click or tap on a #, you see other Tweets containing the same keyword or topic

Like (n) – liking a Tweet indicates that you appreciate it. You can find all of your likes by clicking or tapping the likes tab in your profile.

(v)  Tap the heart icon to like a Tweet

Twitter Vocabulary Quiz

Quick the following link to take your Twitter Vocabulary Quiz

Vocabulary Quiz

Checking In

  • After completing the assessment, please email your instructor to inform her that you have completed the practice quiz.
  • Then you will need to write a letter to someone who has never seen Twitter and explain to them how it works. Please be sure to include all of the vocabulary words.
  • Email this letter to your instructor. At the end of your email, please include any questions or concerns you have about using Twitter at this point.
  • Wait until you hear from your instructor before beginning the next lesson.

Lesson 3 - Using Twitter a a Professional Learning Network

Twitter as a PLN

Imagine doing Professional Development while sitting on your couch wearing your pajamas! Or sitting on the beach watching the sunset with a refreshing beverage in your hand! If you use Twitter to enhance your professional development then these situations are real possibilities. Increase the people you learn from by simply following them on Twitter. You can follow educators, researchers, or educational blogs and journals. It is up to you to determine who will help you become a better teacher.

Watch the following videos about using Twitter to develop or build your Professional Learning Network.

Twitter Images

This screenshot of a "following" page lists some of the people that this user is following. All of these people are educators, as can be seen by their short biographies. 

Twitter as a PLN Task List

After watching the videos:

  • Log into your Twitter account.
  • In the search bar across the top, type @edutopia. When their page opens, tap the “Follow” button.
  • You can search for specific people or blogs, or just search for keywords.
  • Go to a search engine and search for “top educators on Twitter” or other topics that interest you that will help you build your PLN
  • You need to find five educators or education-related users to follow.
  • Once you have followed at least five educators, you need to retweet at least five of their Tweets.

Checking In

  • Email your instructor and share with her the five educators you have chosen to follow and retweet.
  • Choose one of those educators and convince your instructor to follow that educator based on what you have found on their Twitter account.
  • Pick one educator or education blog you have followed that you were excited to find and explain why.
  • Be honest and explain how your feelings about Twitter have changed or why they have not changed.
  • Wait until you hear from your instructor before beginning the next lesson.

Lesson 4 - Twitter Chats

What is a Twitter Chat

Now that you are following some great educators and educational resources, it’s time to get involved and participate. Twitter chats are a great way to participate in Twitter, gain some new ideas, share your thoughts, and engage in some thoughtful professional development on a subject that matters to you.  Watch the following videos that explain what a Twitter chat really is and how to participate.

Twitter Chat Images

This is a screenshot of a question and answer on a Twitter Chat.

Twitter Chat Task List

  • On the internet, search for “Twitter chats education” and check the results. You should get many options for Twitter chats you can participate in.
  • Find a chat or two that interest you and see if you can find an archived chat. Most past Twitter chats are archived and are available for anyone to read. This will help you decide if the chat is about content in which you are interested.
  • Check the schedules and find a chat in which you want to participate. It’s perfectly fine to “lurk” during your first chat and just read what everyone else says. Hopefully, someone else will spark an idea for you and you will want to jump right in.
  • Find a chat you want to do and go!

Checking In

  • Once you decide which chat you are going to join, email your instructor with that information.
  • Participate in your chosen chat, making sure to answer at least three questions or respond to at least three people during the chat. Make sure you mention your instructor as often as you can during your chat.
  • Email you instructor and discuss your thoughts about Twitter chats: Did you enjoy it? Do you feel as if you learned something valuable? Do you have any complaints about Twitter chats? How does a Twitter chat compare to sitting in a conference? Did it meet your expectations? Other thoughts?

Lesson 5 - Posting on your Own

How to post to Twitter

Congratulations! You are almost finished. Hopefully, by this point you are more comfortable using Twitter and find that it is helping you as a teacher. Now it is time to begin creating your own Twitter presence. You will need to decide if you want to focus on your classroom, your own professional development, or something else entirely. You may also want to set up different Twitter accounts so that you can use different accounts for different purposes. You might have a handle for your classroom where you post the great things going on with your students and school. You might also have a professional handle where you do all of your professional development and networking. The choice is yours.

Watch the following videos about things you need to know to make your Twitter presence effective.

Posting on your Own Task List

  • Make sure you have shared your username with your instructor. If you are creating your own hashtag, please share that with your instructor also.
  • You will need to post once a day on your feed, and mention your instructor at least once each day.

Checking In

  • Post daily for at least five days, remembering that you are creating your personal or classroom brand and you want people to want to follow you. Do not forget to mention your instructor at least once a day.
  • Email your instructor after posting for five days straight. In this email you will need to include specific things you have learned that you will use in your classroom or in your professional development; your current attitude about Twitter; what changes could be made to this course to make it better; and if you would recommend this course to a friend.


Congratulations!!! You have finished this basic Twitter course on how to use Twitter to become a better teacher. Please be sure to recommend this course to a friend if you found it helpful.

Tweet on!