Let me start of by saying I am an educator who loves using twitter. I have participated and moderated many twitter chats (too many to count) over the past 3 years. I have presented at conferences and Edcamps on how to use twitter. I vividly remember presenting at MACUL two years ago and Nick Provenzano asked be what my presentation was on, after hearing my answer “Just Twitter” he replied: “Just the most powerful educational tool out there.” Yes, Twitter is a powerful tool. In my presentations I call twitter, “The Entry Drug” to being a connected educator.
Lately I have seen a rash of blog posts and tweets proclaiming that ALL teachers/educators should be on Twitter. I want to say not so fast. The focus for all educators should not be getting on twitter, because twitter is just a tool and there are so many great tools that are similar to twitter. Twitter is a tool for connecting educators. Educators can also connect by using Voxer, Facebook, Google +, and e-mail to name a few others.
It scares me when the focus is on the tool not the product that the tool produces. Twitter is just one vehicle getting educators connected. Would we want every person driving a Ford? (Well maybe if you are from Detroit) ALL educators need to find a way to connect to others. Teachers need to see what is happening outside of their classroom, district, state and country. Twitter does allow this to happen very rapidly, but it takes work and effort through connections.
SO frequently educators hear the Twitter message, sign up and expect great things with little effort. At a recent conference, I over heard two teachers talking: ” Are you on twitter?” asks the first, “Yeah, but I only use my account at conferences!” replied the second. “Yeah, me too!!” Obviously the message of get on twitter is getting to teachers. Using Twitter to foster connections is lost in the message. Getting on twitter does little for educators if they don’t build connections.
This message needs to change from being about Twitter to being about CONNECTIONS. ALL EDUCATORS need to be connected in what ever means works for them.