Monthly Archives: October 2009

Two Very Useful Twitter Tools for Educators

I have been using two particularly useful Twitter services for a little while now and I thought I would share them with you. Each of these services addresses a unique problem that I was having while using Twitter and makes the experience much better.

The first of these is ReadTwit. ReadTwit is a service that turns your Twitter stream into links and sends them to your RSS fead reader. This is useful because it saves your feed even when you are *gasp* not actually on Twitter. This gives me the ability to go through the feed later at my own pace and bookmark the best stuff. The other great thing that this service does is drill into the shortened link and give you a preview of its destination.

The second very useful tool for educators is called Topify, and it helps with sorting through the frequent follower updates that you get (particularly on #followfriday, or #teachertuesday). Topify sends you a very detailed email message for nearly every action that is performed on your Twitter account, including when you are followed, follow or block someone, or receive a direct message. The most useful thing about these email messages is the detailed information that they provide about the user allowing you to make a better decision about adding them to your PLN. The emails also allow you to take action from within without having to browse to Twitter itself. You can follow, block or even report spammers from right inside the email. Handy! Topify is technically in an invite only beta stage, but I asked for and received one within a few hours. I cannot reccommend these two Twitter tools enough, give them a try.

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Playing With the Cool Kids: My Teaching Twenaissance

twitter-iconThis year I begin my twelfth year as a professional educator. I like to think of myself as energetic and enthusiastic about my profession and I still believe that it is noble, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a little burned out lately. In addition to my teaching role I have been the acting (if not official) technology coordinator for the school, diligently attending workshops and conferences, teaching teachers, and waving pom-poms for integration. But lately I have felt that no one else is cheering.

As is my wont, I adopted Twitter early on, after hearing a buzz about it in nerdy circles. I had a very hard time discovering its usefulness, and abandoned it almost completely for nearly a year. After all, who wanted to hear about the minutia of my daily life…@MrR0g3rs “now I’m in line @ Wal-Mart.”? I’m not sure what it was that brought me back to the bird but I think it was when I decided to click the ubiquitous “follow me” button on the “Free Technology for Teachers” website.  I then decided that I should hit the “follow me” button on all of the websites that I subscribed to.

I sat back and watched the conversation for a while and realized that this was a collection of really cool people who were like me, passionate about education and technology. Beyond just being interesting, I instantly learned that this group was also willing and eager to share everything that they knew or learned. They answered questions ranging from deep philosophical queries to how many cups of coffee they had consumed that day. And they let me play, right away. They answered my questions and thanked me for my input. This group of great professionals newly energizes me and I am telling everyone I see about its usefulness and potential. I heart my PLN (Personal Learning Network), thanks for my teaching twenaissance. Want to follow the cool kids yourself, look who I’m following.

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