Twitter: Trivial pursuit or powerful research tool?

Last week, one of our curriculum designers ran into a problem. She needed more information on using blogs in elementary school classrooms, but wasn’t quite sure where to go for resources on this relatively new topic.

So where did she turn for help? Not Google. Not her trusty resource guides. Nope—she turned to Twitter. “Need help!” @Stacy_Learning wrote. “Anyone use/know how to use blogs in elementary classrooms?”

Within minutes, members of her Twitter network responded with links, resources, and research. Five hours later, she’d heard from numerous Twitter users and been pointed to a plethora of resources. “People just started responding to me,” she said. “In fact, one user said, ‘I can help you. Here’s where to go, here’s who you can follow, here’s who you can contact.’”

Like many educators and administrators, Stacy was initially skeptical of Twitter. “I thought it would be really trivial,” she confessed. But her experience with Twitter taught her that the website is anything but a trivial timewaster. Now, instead of seeing Twitter as superficial social networking site, she sees it as one of her most powerful research and professional development tools.

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Your step-by-step guide to getting started on Twitter

Watch on YouTube

Need help getting started on Twitter? We’ll have you signed up, tweeting, and building a network of users who share your interests in no time. Follow the steps outlined in the getting started video above. Or, if you’d rather read along than watch a video, just use the steps listed below:

1. Sign up: Go to Twitter and click the large, yellow sign up button. Enter your information (the shorter your username, the bettermost people use iterations of their real names) and sign up. You’ll have the opportunity to browse interests, find friends, and search for friends who are already using Twitter.

Next, create a profile. When you finish signing up, you’ll land on your Twitter home page. At the top of the screen, click Settings. Then click Profile to edit your profile—the information displayed in the right sidebar on your Twitter page. Be sure to fill out the Bio section and list your primary research and professional development interests. This will help other Twitter users identify you as someone who shares their interests. When you’re done, click Save.

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