My final year of teaching was my first year using Twitter at school. I had stumbled across another educator using Twitter in her classroom and I was all in! I thought this was awesome! Problem ~ I discovered Twitter was blocked at school. Disappointment. I remember emailing someone in IT asking if it might be unblocked. And at some point during that year, it actually was!
I had already decided that we (my students and I) were going to tweet regularly about our learning and so I decided to make a big poster with the Twitter logo on it and an even bigger title called “Daily Tweeter”. I laminated that thing so I could write the name of the daily tweeter on it with an erasable marker and off we’d go into the Twitterverse! I was so excited! I didn’t really know what was going to happen or who would read our tweets, if we’d have any followers, but that was ok. I always liked taking risks and trying new things. We were the Awesome 8s.
I created the account, presented my pretty poster to the class, got them excited, drew the first name of the daily tweeter and we were off! Except we weren’t. Twitter wasn’t really unblocked at school ~ at least it didn’t work consistently. For whatever reason, it was super fussy and we couldn’t always post our tweets. I don’t know if the fact that we only had access to Internet Explorer was a factor, but it was super disappointing. Students were frustrated, and so was I. But we didnt give up.
We took to tweeting from my personal cell phone (when cell phones weren’t really allowed at school). Remember this was long before wifi in schools and so I was using my own data plan. My students and I were secretly tweeting from my cellphone when we couldn’t access Twitter on the school network. They soon lost interest in this, and our Twitter adventure kind of fizzled out. I was disappointed to say the least because even then, I could see the power of Twitter in the classroom. I felt very isolated and wanted to connect my students to the larger, more global classroom.
I was still using my personal Twitter account though and so decided to pursue it for my own professional development ~ even if I couldn’t tweet from our school account at school. I’m so glad I decided to stick with Twitter.
Fast forward 4 years and I’m now an administrator who regularly tweets from both my personal account and my school account and I’m witnessing most of the teachers at my school tweeting from their own classrooms. They’re doing the most amazing things with Twitter and I was reminded today of my own frustrating experience trying to do the same 4 years ago. I almost wish I could have a Teaching with Twitter “do-over”.
Teachers of today ~ you’re soooo lucky to have access to Twitter in your classrooms. Harness its power! Connect with other educators! Connect with other classrooms! Bring the world to your students! Share what you’re doing with others! Join a global project! Tweet questions out to your followers! Answer questions from other classrooms! Collaborate! Connect! Take a Risk!
You’re so lucky.