Twitter and Participatory Learning - How Relevant is this to Teachers and Students? Print
By Tania Sheko   

The internet has changed the learning environment dramatically. As a result we have changed the way we think about information – how we locate it, how we organise it or remix it, and how we share it. Wherever we are, whenever we want to, we can use our smartphones to find information because the internet has transformed our phones into powerful and mobile information devices.

Technology does not merely add to existing ways of functioning – it changes our social practices.

Furthermore, technological tools have changed how we think and how we interact. An example of this is the texting facility on mobile phones which has been adopted by young people as a dominant way of communicating, frequently replacing the speaking option. Technology does not merely add to existing ways of functioning – it changes our social practices.

Through social media we can go a step further connecting in a new culture of communicating and learning. Our learning environment may be in a constant state of change but one factor is constant – the fact that learning is now participatory.

As educators, we should be constantly evaluating our teaching methods by asking ourselves what constitutes effective learning in the changing environment of our students and their futures – an environment driven by digital technologies and social media. We have the opportunity to think about innovative approaches to learning and teaching especially when our students’ learning can extend beyond the textbook and classroom.

. . . learning is now participatory.

How motivated we are, as educators, to find new and innovative approaches to teaching will depend on a range of factors – one of which is whether we realise, and appreciate, the potential of digital technologies for relational learning, for example, when we see opportunities in our daily lives for the connective potential of social media. When we understand the value of social networks in our own lives, we will be able to translate this potential into the educational environment.

In a recent blog post, What’s in a selfie, Tom Whitby (2014) discusses the recent news about Ellen DeGeneres’ massively retweeted photo of a group of actors at the Oscars to highlight the power of social media, and to urge educators to harness this connective potential:

Well, if you watched the Academy Awards last week, you witnessed the global impact that social media has in the world. Ellen DeGeneres was able to take a picture of a group of actors that, in the first half hour of it being posted, was re-tweeted 700,000 times, which temporarily knocked Twitter off the Internet. It has now become the number one tweet of all time (Whitby, 2014).

Whitby identifies the hashtag as a connective device used extensively by the entertainment and news industries. The hashtag is a simple way to connect users online to a person, event or information, providing an interactive experience for hashtag users. Whitby explains that social media affords a new opportunity for actors and fans to connect with each other in real life. He goes on to say that the news and entertainment industries are taking advantage of this new connection with the public by bombarding them with hashtags for interactive involvement. Finally, he questions why educators have not realised the potential of social media in the educational context:

What does any of this have to do with education? The idea that social media gives us a platform to send out information and have people interact with it, or just digest it, would seem to be an idea that would be snapped up and embraced by educators. They are the very people who make a living trying to get folks to get information and interact with it, or just digest it (Whitby, 2014).

According to Whitby, educators could potentially blow DeGeneres’ Twitter statistics right out of the water when you consider the wealth of resources they have to share:

Imagine if every teacher shared just one of their best sources with other educators, who in turn could tweet them out to the tune of 700,000 tweets in a half hour. Everyone would benefit. The idea here is to get educators familiar with the concept of connectedness and its possibilities, so that getting comfortable with social media itself becomes less of an obstacle (Whitby, 2014).

Sharing information and resources is second nature to teacher-librarians. Perhaps this is the reason why many of us have been early adopters of social bookmarking and social media, since our roles centre on curating and disseminating information in all its forms across the curriculum, and because these tools provide us with effective ways to connect to other educators and extend our networks. The new connective possibilities make collaborative practice amongst teachers easier than ever before. Whitby is clear about the urgency of educators moving to a culture of sharing information using social media tools:

Social Media is here to stay. Its form may change, and certainly the applications we use will not remain the same, but the idea of openly exchanging information in whatever forms it is produced is not going away. As educators we can use it or lose it. If we don’t start to understand and use this technology soon, we will lose the opportunity to harness it, because we will be irrelevant. We don’t need social media to teach, as much as we need it to learn (Whitby, 2014).

It is concerning when educators who do not use connective technologies in their private or professional lives turn their backs on innovative educational practices made possible using new technologies. We should not determine our professional practice according to our personal preferences; we must remember that we are educating our students for their future, and we owe it to them to be well versed in the participatory culture of social networks.

Examples of new participatory learning environments include social bookmarking tools such as Diigo and Delicious; online communities such as Facebook groups, Google+ groups and wikis; image based platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr; magazine-like RSS tools such as Feedly and Flipboard; book-based online communities such as Goodreads, and many more. One of the most powerful social networks used in the field of education is Twitter.

Feeling at home in Twitter

Twitter is not the easiest of social media to understand – in fact it takes time and perseverance to reach the stage where you are convinced of its value.

While trawling back through my blog posts to ascertain how long it took me to feel at home in the Twitter network, I was surprised by how long I had indeed been a Twitter user, and realised that, while it was now second nature for me to tweet daily, it was some time before it began to make sense to me. My archived posts have captured my reactions and reflections which may otherwise have been forgotten.

On 7th November 2008 I wrote about my first impressions of Twitter:

Twitter I’ve only recently added to my online life (told you I was a latecomer), and I still feel like an outsider there, posting the odd tweet in the hope of being heard, of being accepted into a conversation. Mobile computing is not part of my diet yet, and that may change in the future if I reinvent my commitment to the latest technology (Sheko, 2008).

Whereas prior to joining Twitter, my main form of communication and self expression was blogging, things were about to change:

I don’t have that mania for a daily post as perhaps I did in the past. I’ve allowed various social networking and microblogging outlets to soak up a range of smaller spontaneous thoughts (Sheko).

The hardest part, for me, was to connect to a meaningful network, and that always requires initial hard work and staying power. A little like developing readership and comments for blogs. Once you do that, the rewards are apparent. Previously, I subscribed to a teacher-librarian network, ‘oztl_net’, and that worked well for a time, but the advantages of Twitter are the global connection, the updated status which connects to the person in real time, the fantastic stream of links, the fluid conversation.

On 22 December 2008 I discovered the immediacy of Twitter for communicating breaking news:

The first thing Mike Wilson did after surviving the Continental Airlines 737 crash when his plane slid off the runway in Denver was use his mobile phone to update his Twitter community.

A dedicated microblogger or . . .? Whatever he is, he has now made history as the first person to tweet a plane crash directly after an accident. Twitter might be the up and coming way to communicate after trauma. I think psychologists may eventually decide that sharing directly after a traumatic experience decreases shock or at least somehow alleviates stress. (Sheko, 2008).

On 6 March 2009 I recorded my discovery of live tweeting:

Earthquake in Melbourne: Twitter beats breaking news

Sitting on the couch earlier this evening, I felt a strange sensation of moving with the couch, as the bookshelf behind me creaked. Melbourne had experienced a light earthquake. Did it happen or did I imagine it? After a while I tweeted it in the form of a question, hoping to ascertain whether it really happened or not. Sure enough, Twitter exploded with tweets registering similar experiences.

Meanwhile, the TV was on, but no news about an earthquake. Look at ABC newsonline – nothing. Channel 7 Breaking News remained unbroken – just a repeat of the stories that had been broadcast several times already this evening.

Gradually, traditional news providers came on board. Channel 7 finally acknowledged the quake at 10.27 pm. Very slow, considering John Connell had already completed a post about the Melbourne quake from Scotland.
Here it is, and he has an image of the first 18 twitterers – I’m there on the right. I would have been quicker but my laptop was doing its usual slow-loading
(Sheko, 2009).

So what does all this have to do with education?

Where Twitter sits in education

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008):

supports the focus on digital learning and identifies the creative and productive use of technology as an indicator of a successful learner (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008).

The Digital Learning Statement – Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development (2010):

The world of digital learning beckons, with opportunities for teachers and students alike to benefit from the opportunities and capabilities a digital world offers. Embracing digital learning is not a choice for students or teachers to consider and adopt – it is the modus operandi; the way we do business.

International research shows that integrating digital technology into the learning environment can: improve students’ confidence levels, attitudes towards their own learning, behaviour and attendance, promote improved opportunities for students to learn through collaboration and conversation improve connections with the real world and provide access to global communities with expertise and perspectives that can enrich learning (Digital Learning Statement – Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development, page 9).

And, teachers must keep learning:

However, it is not just students that need support in this age of digital learning. Some teachers are comfortable in the digital learning space while others are still working to integrate the use of technology into their daily language and behaviours. In an environment where the digital space moves rapidly, teachers are also learners (Digital Learning Statement – Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development).

Educators who participate in Twitter networks are well placed to support students in the use of relevant digital technologies because the Twitter community shares knowledge, resources and expert advice. Twitter bios often lead to professional blogs, wikis and other online platforms which openly share ideas and units of work.

Over the years, as an active member of Twitter communities, I have wondered whether Twitter could also be relevant to students, and if we should try to convince them of the value of becoming Twitter users. I had tried to ‘convert’ my son, Alexander, during his senior high school years, but he didn’t see the point. How interesting to note, however, that recently, during his undergraduate degree, he started to use Twitter, and now, in his Masters degree, he has fully realised the potential of Twitter to share information, connect to fellow students, lecturers and tutors, politicians and experts in his field of study. I’ve included a section of a recent blog post (2014) in which he explains the reason for his use of Twitter for his academic and personal pursuits. I include my introduction to his post:

I asked my son, Alexander Sheko, to write a post about how he uses social media for his academic and personal pursuits. He is currently in his second year of a Masters of Urban Planning at The University of Melbourne, and at the stage where his interests in mindful and pro-active involvement in urban and environmental issues have blended his studies, personal life and work. I have recommended the use of social media to him since his later years in secondary school, so it’s interesting for me to note that his use of Twitter and Facebook have taken off at a time when they could serve a real purpose in connecting him with experts/like-minded people and enabling him to organise and promote forums and events. As a teacher-librarian with an interest in social media in education, this observation has confirmed for me that students will appreciate and use social media platforms when there is real world significance – and this is often problematic in schools where the agenda is more about practising for life rather than experiencing life. If nothing else, I hope this post will help educators reflect on possibilities for real life connections made possible for our students using social media.

(Alexander) Social media – especially popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – are often characterised as frivolous time-wasters, manifestations of first-world banality and ennui. They are platforms on which to post cat pictures and selfies, the means of production by which we broadcast the minutiae of our lives to nobody in particular, craving likes, follows and other reassurances.

Certainly, they are often seen as counter to productivity, tools of procrastination. We might switch to another tab when a manager or (not so long ago, for me) a parent enters the room. Of course, there is more than a grain of truth in this perception. When attempting to focus on a set task or meet a deadline, it can be unhelpful to have the ping of a Facebook notification providing an excuse for distraction. And unless one is an academic in the field of communication analysing memes as ‘nuggets of cultural currency’, it is probably less than productive to spend hours looking at Doge, Dolan, Insanity Wolf and the such.

However, as with all tools, the utility of social media is determined by the user and the manner in which they are used. Contrary to the prejudices discussed above, tools such as Facebook and Twitter can be invaluable in finding information (and new sources thereof), sharing and discussing opinions, and making useful connections with others. Over the past year, having begun studying a postgraduate degree and exploring career opportunities, I have been able to use these tools to considerable benefit.

Finding information is perhaps the most basic way that these tools can be used. I often recommend Twitter to those reluctant to use it as a quick way to receive updates and notifications on topics of interest. For example, following a variety of news sources is a good way to get a large number of headlines and snippets of information that can be followed up (perhaps using a service such as Pocket to save articles for future reading), while following cafes and restaurants in the local area can provide updates on changes to menus or opening hours, special events, etc.

Of course, this one-way communication does not fully utilise the interactive nature of social media; however, it often does make use of social media’s networking effects. By following a particular journalist, politician, musician or writer, you are likely to see who they interact with and what information sources they use. You may also get useful recommendations from the social media platform along the lines of ‘people who liked X may also like Y’. This is a great way to expand your pool of information sources, providing a greater variety of perspectives.

For example, rather than only reading about sustainable transport (an interest and potential career path of mine) through local mainstream media sources such as The Age, Twitter has helped me find sources providing information and opinion from around the world, covering a more diverse range of topics and a broader set of perspectives. (For those interested, I often read The Atlantic Cities, Sustainable Cities Collective, Next City and Co.Exist, as well as blogs such as those of Mikael Colville-Andersen and Brent Toderian). Of course, whatever your interest or profession, finding and following a few key sources and active individuals will start a cascading network effect that will expose you to an increasing array of information and opinion sources (Alexander Sheko, guest post, tsheko.wordpress.com/2014/02/).

Students of all ages can learn how to learn in online learning environments such as blogs and wikis, for example, but Twitter is probably more suited to older students. Alexander’s post testifies that Twitter is a powerful tool that can be used by more senior students to create and customise their learning network. This tool can connect learning to a broad network people, as well as individuals who share specific interests. In a fast changing world, we should be aware of how important it is for our students to learn how to learn, so that they are confident players in a changing world. Unlike the passive consumption of information in the traditional teacher-centred classroom, students using Twitter become proactive in setting up and interacting with their customised networks.

Helen Haste, visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education (Fusaro, 2009), claims that ‘new technology tools are altering the ways students interact with the world’. In a series of video segments, building on her four decades of research, Haste describes the 21st century student as a ‘collaborative tool user who needs a new brand of competences to thrive within a changing environment.’

Two of the competences described by Haste are agency and responsibility, and finding and sustaining community. She points out that if students are encouraged to function as active agents interacting with their world, they will have to take responsibility for things, thus developing the confidence to deal with whatever comes their way.

She also talks about the competency of finding and sustaining community – managing friends, developing social skills, and managing online communities. The young encountering a multiplicity of people, dealing with strangers, and being involved in the multi-tasking of connecting and interacting. They then recognise that they are part of a larger community, beyond their private world.

But how does the idea of students in charge of their learning and learning networks make us feel as educators? Are we also learning how to use social media to connect with a broad community, or do we feel uncomfortable with something which is foreign to us? How should we, as educators, react to evidence that our students are confident players in an arena we may not have stepped into, or in which we feel some uncertainty.

In a time of rapid and constant change, it is my opinion that there is one overriding prerequisite for an educator to thrive, and that is, to possess the mindset of a learner. But do we really need to be connected as educators? Couldn’t we leave that to our students – after all, they have been born into a world where technology is embedded into almost everything they do. Can’t they work it out without us, while we go on with the business of teaching?

I don’t think we can justify ignoring technologies we would rather not engage with. How can we justify turning our backs on the world outside the school walls? As Howard Rheingold (2014) says in his Social Media Literacies Syllabus: High School Level:

Today’s personal, social, political, economic worlds are all affected by digital media and networked publics. Viral videos, uprisings from Tahrir to #OWS, free search engines, abundant inaccuracy and sophisticated disinformation online, indelible and searchable digital footprints, laptops in lecture halls and smartphones at the dinner table, twenty-something social media billionaires, massive online university courses – it’s hard to find an aspect of daily life around the world that is not being transformed by the tweets, blogs, wikis, apps, movements, likes and plusses, tags, text messages, and comments two billion Internet users and six billion mobile phone users emit. New individual and collaborative skills are emerging.

There is no doubt that ‘new individual and collaborative skills are emerging’ thanks to new connective technologies. As educators we should practise the use of these and assist students and other teachers to do the same (Howard Rheingold).

The nuts and bolts of Twitter

For the uninitiated Twitter can seem confusing. It comes with its own language, functions, rules and etiquette.

How does Twitter work?

The following introduction can be found on Twitter’s website:

Twitter helps you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

Twitter is the best way to connect with people, express yourself and discover what's happening.

  • Twitter statistics: 241 million monthly active users
  • 500 million Tweets are sent per day
  • 76% of Twitter active users are on mobile
  • 77% of accounts are outside the U.S.
  • Twitter supports 35+ languages

Mashable provides further information:

Twitter is a free microblogging service founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone. At its heart are 140-character bursts of information called tweets. Users can include links to other content in their tweets, and broadcasts can be public or private. Celebrities, journalists, politicians and other public figures have established significant followings on Twitter. Media outlets in particular use Twitter as a way to broadcast breaking news.

The beginner’s guide to Twitter on Mashable is a helpful document with definitions of the main features of Twitter:

  • Tweet: A 140-character message.
  • Retweet (RT): Re-sharing or giving credit to someone else's tweet.
  • Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It's comprised of updates from users you follow.
  • Handle: Your username.
  • Mention (@): A way to reference another user by his username in a tweet (e.g. @mashable). Users are notified when @mentioned. It's a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.
  • Direct Message (DM): A private, 140-character message between two people. You can decide whether to accept a Direct Message from any Twitter user, or only from users you are following.
  • You may only DM a user who follows you.
  • Hashtag (#): A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #AmericanIdol, #Obama). A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don't follow.

Apart from the definitions mentioned above, I would recommend that the Twitter initiate be familiarised with the following (selected from the Twitter glossary):

Bio

A short personal description of 160 characters or fewer used to define who you are on Twitter. Read about how to change your bio.

Connect

The Connect tab lets you view interactions, mentions, recent follows and Retweets. Using the Connect tab you're able to view who has favorited or retweeted your Tweets, who has recently followed you, and all of your @replies and @mentions.

Favourite

To favourite a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favourites by clicking the yellow star next to the message. You can also favorite via SMS. .

FF

#FF stands for ‘Follow Friday'. Twitter users often suggest who others should follow on Fridays by tweeting with the hashtag #FF.

Follow

To follow someone on Twitter is to subscribe to their Tweets or updates on the site. Find out more about following, or learn how to follow others.

Follower

A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you. Find out more about following, or learn how to follow others.

Following

Your following number reflects the quantity of other Twitter users you have chosen to follow on the site. Find out more about following.

Geolocation/Geotagging

The use of location data in Tweets to tell us where you are in real time. Is also called ‘Tweet With Your Location'. Learn how to safely Tweet with your location.

Home

A real-time list of Tweets from those you follow. It appears on your Twitter home page. Find out more about your timeline.

HT or h/t

Usually means ‘hat tip'. A way of acknowledging the person who originally shared the content being tweeted, such as a link to an article or video.

Listed

To be included in another Twitter user's list. Listed numbers and details appear in the statistics section of your profile. Learn more about lists.

Lists

Curated groups of other Twitter users. Used to tie specific individuals into a group on your Twitter account. Learn more about lists.

MT

Similar to RT, an abbreviation for "Modified Tweet." Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet.

Profile

A Twitter page displaying information about a user, as well as all the Tweets they have posted from their account. Learn how to change your profile information.

Profile photo

The personal image uploaded to your Twitter profile in the Settings tab of your account.

Signing up and introducing yourself

Once you sign up to Twitter and create your Twitter handle (username), there’s work to be done. Despite its brevity, your Twitter handle and bio are your calling card through which you will interact with other Twitter users. Think about what you will include in your bio – this will be the first thing people read about you to decide whether you are worth following. Think of it as a summary with character. Of course you should include your profession and qualifications but a little about your passion will make you sound human. If you have a blog or website, this would be the place to include it. People checking out your bio want to do a little more research on you before they decide whether to follow you or not. A bio without a link to more of your online identity is like a closed door. In this way, Twitter is an advertisement for your blog or website.

Even if you don’t use your full name for your Twitter handle – I use my first and maiden name because I accidentally deleted my Twitter account a long time ago (long story) – your full name will appear next to your handle. Think about the accompanying photo and whether you want to show your face or not. If you are using Twitter with the intention of connecting with others, I would suggest you use a clear photo of your face so that people can identify you. At professional events, it helps when you are looking for Twitter friends with whose face you are familiar. If you are feeling unsure of sharing basic things about yourself on Twitter, examine your purpose for being there: if you are there to connect to people you have selected as part of your network, your behaviour should be the same as if you were meeting them in person. Without giving too much away, it’s more sensible to be honest and open about yourself.

It’s normal to feel confused after you’ve created your Twitter account and bio. Whom should you follow? Where should you start? It is possible to search people you know - if they are Twitter users - and follow them. It’s much faster to follow someone you know well, and who shares your profession or interests, and consider following their followers - or some of them. You can also have a look at who they are interacting with, whom they retweet, or whose tweets they favourite.

Apart from following experts within your field, it is advisable to broaden your network so that you do not operate in an echo chamber. Expand your network to include people with different viewpoints (to challenge your thinking), and people from different fields or in different roles (eg teachers could include principals, ICT experts, educators from all levels of schooling, academics, thought leaders, etc.).

In her blog post, Why teachers love Twitter, Maralyn Parker (2013) talks about the extraordinary reach of Twitter, and how it empowers educators who build strong networks:

Australian teachers I follow on Twitter are saying the same thing. It is now getting to the stage where tweeter principals tell me they are beginning to be able to tell the difference between teachers who tweet and those who don’t.

This is because teachers are using Twitter to constantly talk to each other about what they are doing in their classrooms and schools. They are growing their own personal network on Twitter of like-minded teachers, educational thinkers and leaders from all over the world – and from just down the road - that they can tap into anytime (Parker, 2013).

Maralyn goes on to identify this global network as a PLN, a Personal Learning Network. Many educators are realising the power of their PLN in bringing them information, answering their questions, connecting them to an endless repository of news, ideas and events. This PLN is a giant step up from the smaller, local network of colleagues which would otherwise be the extent of teachers’ professional community. Geographical limitations dissolve when global connections are made possible through social media such as Twitter.

As Maralyn points out:

the retweet is a powerful communication device. Think about the power of one tweet which reaches your followers and is then retweeted to their followers, with the reach of the retweet expanding exponentially (Parker, 2013).

As noted in the glossary above, the hashtag is another powerful device. There is an overwhelming number of educational hashtags and uses for them. One example is the use of a hashtag during a conference or online chat. If everyone agrees to use a certain hashtag to tweet about a topic or conference, it is easy to search and find associated tweets, and more likely these will appear in Twitter's Trending Topics. Through hashtags a Twitter search yields all tweets using the hashtag, and is therefore a summary of everything shared. Larry Ferlazzo has published a very comprehensive hashtag listing which covers most subject areas in education.

Ferlazzo also has a general, comprehensive, collection of Twitter resources.

Teachthought has written a useful post entitled ‘The complete guide to Twitter hashtags for education’.

The comments at the end of the post provide further information about educational uses of the Twitter hashtag.

The live aspect of tweeting is one of the most exciting. Twitter shares information, events and news faster than mainstream media. As I have already mentioned, this is a good opportunity to teach students to evaluate information. There is a danger of retweeting incorrect information especially in the heat of the moment when you are trying to spread the news fast.

Liz Neely has written a helpful post about live-tweeting during a conference.

New behaviours – backchannel

Is it rude to tweet while you are listening to a speaker? New behaviours have evolved with the use of mobile technologies and social media, and there are differing opinions on the associated etiquette.

Tweeting during a lecture or conference is a way of sharing the information in real-time with people who are not attending, but is it distracting? Is it helpful for listening and focusing? Yes for some, and no for others. Not only does it result in a synopsis of notes taken and links but it is also interactive – you are involved so you don’t zone out – a far cry from passive listening. And once it’s finished, you can create and share a Storify – a timeline of collected tweets which reads like a story.

A Twitter love story: cautionary tale

(from a blog post 22/11/2009)

So, if you read my previous post, you know that I was stupid enough to delete my Twitter account in a fatal moment of confusion. You also know how devastating it was for me to realise I’d lost the community I’d grown to depend on every day.

Let me tell you how something devastating turned into something heart-warming.

My first reaction was to tweet out my loss and ask everyone to follow me again. But, hang on a minute; I couldn’t do that because I no longer had a community. Well, not on Twitter. I still had Facebook, and some of my Twitter contacts were also on Facebook.

The response to my status was immediate. One of the first people to respond was Jo McLeay aka @jomcleay who reassured me with the simple but powerful message, ‘We’re still here for you’.

After finally admitting my account wasn’t going to be reinstated, I decided to start a new account from scratch. It was no fun thinking about how long it would take to rebuild. I wrote a blog post about the experience, but couldn’t tweet it out as I usually would. I could, however, throw it up on Facebook and ask my FB people to tweet it out. Would that work?

The response was swift and very touching.

Soon my message and blog post were being retweeted all over the place. I started following people again, and in less than 24 hours I had a community of people again, over 200 of them, and only a couple of days later, over 300.

My personal learning network had rebuilt one of the most important platforms I had for communication and professional interaction.

I was back in business!

What is my concluding message about Twitter?

Never underestimate the power of 140 characters. If you haven’t already joined Twitter, create an account and then say hi to me @taniatorikova. I promise to introduce you to the most helpful, knowledgeable network which will change the way you learn and, consequently, teach.

References

Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development (2010) Digital Learning Statement State of Victoria, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Accessed at:
https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/teachlearn/innovation/digitallearning/dls.pdf.

Fusaro, M. (2009) ‘Technology and Youth: A Remix that is Changing the Education Landscape in Usable Knowledge’ in Harvard Graduate School of Education, Accessed 17 March 2014 at:
<http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news-impact/2009/06/technology-and-youth-a-remix-that-is-changing-the-education-landscape/>.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008, The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, Melbourne, Accessed 17 March 2014 at:
<http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf>.

Neeley, L. (2012) ‘Wading into a Conference Tweet-Stream’ in Compassblogs, web log post, Accessed 17 March 2014 at:
<http://compassblogs.org/blog/2012/12/10/wading-into-a-conference-tweet-stream/>.

Parker, M. (2013) ‘Why Teachers Love Twitter’ in The Telegraph, Accessed 17 March 2014 at:
<http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/maralynparker/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/why_teachers_love_twitter/>.

Patches, M. (2014) ‘Ellen's Selfie for the Win: The Oscars are Must-Meme TV and Hollywood Knows It’ in The Guardian, Accessed 17 March 2014 at: <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/03/ellen-degeneres-selfie-for-the-win-oscars-memes>.

Rheingold, H. (2014) ‘Syllabus: Social Media Literacies High School Level’, Accessed 17 March 2014 at:
<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uEXrZAHJ9WHKGmt9YsjywtfIcWJMvBfGE0tJj4GGj4w/edit>.

Sheko, T. (2008) ‘Blogs, Twitter and the Read-Write revolution’ in Brave New World, web log post, 7 November, Accessed 16 March 2014 at: <http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/blogs-twitter-and-the-readwrite-evolution/>.

Sheko, T. (2008) ‘Microblogging America’s History: Twitter Responses to Obama’s Win’ in Brave New World, web log post, 5 November, Accessed 16 March 2014 at:
<http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/microblogging-american-history-twitter-responses-to-obamas-win/>.

Sheko, T. (2008) ‘Still Trying to Explain Twitter’ in Brave New World, web log post, 10 December, Accessed 16 March 2014 at:
<http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/still-trying-to-explain-twitter/>.

Sheko, T. (2009) ‘What I Discovered About my PLN after I Told Them I Deleted my Twitter Account’ in Brave New World, web log post, 22 November, Accessed 16 March at:
<http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/what-i-discovered-about-my-pln-after-i-told-them-id-deleted-my-twitter-account/>.

Sheko, T. (2009) ‘Earthquake in Melbourne: Twitter Beats Breaking News’ in Brave New World, web log post, 6 March, Accessed 16 March 2014 at:
<http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/earthquake-in-melbourne-twitter-beats-breaking-news/>.

Sheko, T. (2014) ‘How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media (Part 1) – Guest Post by Alexander Sheko’ in Brave New World, web log post, 9 February, Accessed 16 March at: <http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-social-media-part-1-guest-post-by-alexander-sheko/>.

Whitby, T. (2014) ‘What’s in a Selfie?’ in My Island View, web log post, 4 March, Accessed 16 March 2014 at: <http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/whats-in-a-selfie/>.

Tania Sheko is a teacher-librarian at Melbourne High School. She previously taught English, German, French, Russian and English as a Second Language. Tania enjoys the teacher-librarian's holistic approach to education, supporting teachers and students to enhance teaching and learning, and taking learning out of the confines of the classroom through social networks and connected classrooms.
Tania Blogs at:
Brave New World
http://tsheko.wordpress.com
Art does matter
http://artdoesmatter.tumblr.com/
on Twitter: @taniatorikova