However, convincing others to give it a try isn't always easy. Teachers new to Twitter often find it overwhelming. The sheer amount of information can be quite daunting, and many won't take the time regularly to flip through what others have posted, let alone find time to contribute themselves.
Educators who have been active in the Twitterverse for several years, however, are starting to experience a bit of Twitter-fatigue. Once-exciting Twitter chats seem to just be asking different spins on the same old questions, and while Twitter is still a great resource bank for ideas, the connection and collaboration aspects seem to be waning.
This got me thinking about why I use Twitter as an educator. The most powerful uses of social media, for me, have been the connections I've been able to make with other people and/or classes around the world:
- My grade 9 math class connected with Pat Grew's math class in Kingston to swap ratio questions.
- A grade 12 biology class at our school connected with Sharon Moskovitz's grade 3 class in Toronto to answer questions about life in northern Ontario.
- One of the Mars One top 100 candidates answered questions for some of my students working on a Genius Hour project.
- My grade 9s were able to receive survey responses from all over the world on their Comparing Electricity Usage project.
- Those same grade 9s were then able to share the data from the survey and connect with a grade 6 class from Ottawa and a grade 10 math class from Midland.
- Most recently, my grade 11 physics students read and commented on the work being done in Daniel Welty's grade 11 physics class in Northborough, Massachusetts.
- Collaborating with another teacher currently teaching the same course;
- Extending literary circles outside your classroom walls;
- Getting a class survey answered by students across the province;
- Connecting your students with an older/younger class in Ontario to teach or mentor;
- Gathering data (à la Pumpkin Time Bomb);
- Having your students collaborate with other students on mutual or cross-curricular projects;
- Learning about, through first-hand resources, different aspects of our vast province;
Update - Thank you to everyone who has been spreading the word about #OntarioClassMatch! Now that the hashtag is out there, what can you do with it?
- Use it! Include #OntarioClassMatch in your tweets to help find a class you'd like to connect with.
- Create a column in Tweetdeck and follow the hashtag - you never know when someone else might be looking to connect with your class!
- Keep spreading the word! You may not teach grade 3, but you might be able to connect a grade 3 #OntarioClassMatch request with someone in your school. We can all help make those connections and break down classroom walls :)