Tag Archives: twitter

Recording: Twitter for Professional learning

Lucy Gray recorded the session for her NLU class. There were two presenters – myself and Mike Muir, Maine Learning Through Technology Policy Director. Mike gave an overview of MLTI and his state’s work on proficiency-based professional development. Follow me on twitter @murcha You can see the recording on youtube at

Conversations in 140 characters

twitterA recent presentation to “Broadband for Seniors” tutors on “What you need to know about Twitter” brought forth the question

How can we possibly keep a tweet to 140 characters? Why cant twitter increase the number of characters?

and some of the responses from participants:

  • putting your message in so few words is tricky
  • putting yourself across succinctly takes practice but is good for your English!  (Rasa)
  • If you have to do all this to get beyond the 140 limit, why dont twitter just expand the 140 limit?
  • then it will become toooo much – the treat of it is its only 140 – short and sharp !!!140 characters – sweet and short (Megan)

Here are some tips for keeping within the 140 character limit:

  • Consider a short username/id/twitter handle if people reply to you or retweet one of your tweets it will not use up too many characters
  • Keep your sentence short, concise and to the poin
  • Use recognized abbreviations eg Ss and Ts for students and teachers. Rasa suggested searching online for twitter and facebook abbreviations
  • Use pictures to show what the tweet is about
  • Add short videos for depth See


  • Use a url shortener like bitly, moourl, tinyurl, google etc (although twitter seems  to shortern the url and not include all of it in the character count)
  • Create a poster in canva, a powerpoint slide converted to a jpg to portray a lot of information or other image generator for sharing  eg the 6 or 7 questions to be posed in a twitter chat. They can be displayed on a poster converted to jpg and then attached as an image so that the complete content can be displayed or see tweet below for another example:


Another question was “what happens if you exceed the 140 characters?” It highlights the characters that over the 140 mark and states how many characters you are over!

What tips and hints do you have to keep conversations within 140 characters?

140 characters

The Potential Power of Social Media

One of our school’s exciting connections this year was with Livingstone Kegode in Kenya, Africa. We met and spoke with some of his students as part of our parent information evening session for potential year 7 students in 2016. Michael Soskil from the USA was also visiting him.

Video call snapshot 61

Livingstone is a truly inspirational teacher who has connected his students from the biggest slum in Africa to the world with his laptop. In recognition of his amazing work, he was awarded a Microsoft Innovative Educator but was denied a visa to enter the USA for the conference earlier this year. Further ground work was made this year to ensure as far as humanly possible his visa would be accepted to attend ISTE 2015 – the big Technology Teachers Conference.  He would only know the success of this application today….. and again it was denied! He informed us of this circumstance via our skype group chat.

letting us know

To show the incredible spirit displayed by Livingstone, here is a follow up comment from him.

what doesnt kill hi

He received many messages of disappointment and sympathy from other members of the group. But then, the potential of proactiveness set in. Mike Soskil suggested that:-


but note that the twitter handle should be @rec54. Several of us tweeted out and almost immediately we got a response tweet back.

Richard Culatta is the head of the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology.

Although we can only hope that there is still some hope in getting Livingstone to ISTE, this scenario shows that power of a global community in supporting its own. Let’s hope that the visa can be reversed! If not we will use other means of ensuring Livingstone is part of the conference.

All Things Twitter!

The Australian Computer Educators Conference is currently underway. The first of my presentations was “All Things Twitter”.

As an active member of twitter for the last 6 years, I have found it to be one of the best ways to build both a personal and global professional learning network to keep up with the current trends in education and to enable conversations about learning and technology. My session was aimed at all users of twitter from beginner to advanced but will tend to be skewed towards the regular and advanced users. After attending this session participants will be able to

  • Recognize strong profiles
  • Understand the use of hashtags and how to find them
  • Participate in twitter chats for professional development
  • Schedule tweets using hootsuite or buffer
  • Understand the effective use of lists in twitter
  • Recognize the tools and platforms that can enhance their twitter experience eg tweetchat, hootsuite, tweetdeck, tweetgrid etc
  • Appreciate the advanced functionality of link shorteners
  • learn of popular mobile apps
  • Know how to use quality searches to find quality people to follow

A backchannel was set up, in Todays Meet   for participants to connect/converse and an online document All Things Twitter of resources was compiled. Below is the actual presentation:-

What else could you add?

Tech Talk Tuesdays: Best Practise of Twitter

When: Tuesday, 10th September 4-5pm Melbourne Australia time (gmt+10) See timeanddate in your location or time zone

About this session: Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting, sharing and searching. This session will investigate some of the new features introduced over the last 12 months in regard to both mobile and desktop versions, some best practise of using twitter and the sharing of successful stories in using twitter.

Click on this link to listen to the recording

Come along and join in the conversations, share your stories or simply learn how to get even more powerful use out of twitter for learning.

What questions do you have re the use of twitter? Do you have some stories to share as a comment back on this post, that could be used in the session?

When an amazing network responds NOW!

wordle on needs and wants

Volunteering to be a participant in  the Economics and Business Intensive Engagement phase of the Australian Curriculum, I was required to create artefacts. I chose to write up units of work for year 5 on “Choices – Where do people shop and why?” and another on Crowdfunding for year 10. As usual I procrastinated and left it until the last few days to complete them.

Here is how an amazing, amazing online global network helped me create these units of work:-

  • Tapping into the wonderful world of technology, a brief shopping survey was created using google forms. Twitter and skype groups were used to share the link and within 36 hours, more than 40 people have responded to this survey from 9 different countries sharing a rich picture of similarities and differences on where people shop and what they buy there. My teaching friend Katherine from Austria shared the link on the HLW Little Skypers facebook group and students also filled in the survey.
  • Endang Palupi was online in skype when the survey link was shared. She text chatted  to say that she was about to go to a special market in her home town of Indonesia

” “ok :).. this market only for special moment as we will celebrate idul fitri , poor people could celebrate it wit cheap price on this market.” and offered to take photos for me.

  • An amazing collection of photos is now shared with me over facebook to use! Thanks so much, Endang. One of the foci of the new Australian curriculum is our engagement with Asia. These images fit in perfectly with that and will trigger much classroom discussion.
  • I wanted to create a collage of pictures to start a discussion on shopping destination options. However, I could not find a shopping centre in my albums, copyright free ones were hard to find and I live at least 40 minutes from the closest shopping centre. A tweet request went out. Immediately, @mgraffin offered to share some pics he had recently taken of the luxurious ultra modern Qatar shopping centres. However, an Australian shopping centre was preferable and to my delight, @craff2008 offered to stop at Eastlands and take some for me before school. How fantastic! A wonderful collection of inside/outside images were share with me via twitter immediately. Thanks Clare and Michael so much.
  • I made the google sheet public in case others would like to use the results in their classes. As soon as I did this, responses stopped ‘falling’ into the sheet. I turned to my oz emailing list for help and within half an hour had the answer. I had to change the response direction. Thanks Damien Kee, @betchaboy and @mgraffin for helping me solve this annoying issue.
  • @megsamanda became my critical friend on the crowdsourcing unit. This was shared with google document. Thanks Amanda for your suggestions.

As the units of work are due in tomorrow, I have an amazing set of resources, images etc within 36 hours to enrich learning, thanks to an incredible global network. Thanks everyone!

collage on where to shop

Twitter 201: Build Your PLN with Advanced Tips and Tools with Susan Bearden

This was the title of one of the Spotlight sessions at #iste13 twitter  This blog post is part of a series of posts sharing some of my favourite learning at the ISTE conference.

Why chosen? Twitter has played a huge role in developing a professional network. As I use twitter extensively and effectively, I wondered what more could be learnt about twitter and  this is one session I nearly dismissed. However, Susan Bearden @s_bearden kept tweeting her session, encouraging us to attend  and shared a great blog post on Thinking Before You Tweet prior to iste.

The outcome! – this was a great session in a theatre that was packed with tweeters, from which I learnt even more about twitter. Susan created a hashtag  for the session #twtr201 See Susan’s presentation and on slideshare or read some of my notes below:-

  • Twitter Lists for categorizing – can be private or public, can follow lists or use other people’s lists
  • Twitter chats – great PD, use columns in hootsuite, tweetdeck or tweetchat and add hashtags followed
  • Schedule the tweets to avoid tweet overload with hootsuite, tweetdeck or buffer
  • Use buffer app as it picks the best time to send the tweets out based on your followers.
  • Link shorteners when sharing website links eg tinyurl, google shortener, bitly Bit.ly allows you to customize the name to suit the topic and can create qr code.  Create the shortened url in bitly, copy it to your browser and add .qrcode to the url and it provides the qr code image.
  • Twitter clients for mobiles  – tweetings echofon tweetlist hootsuite native twitter app
  • Twitter as a search engine:- search for hashtags, words (might give more focussed content)
  • Twitter has an advanced search – key in a number of people in the advanced search, then key them in to tweetdeck and add them into a list
  • Geeky twitter stuff! Twitter analytics  Favstar twubs (follow twitter chat hashtags)
  • Hootsuite University – study all about twitter – get a pro account for 1 month and attend hootsuite university for 1 month free

Thanks Susan for sharing this great session.

The power of backchannels!

A week or so ago, I got a request to explain the backchannel and wrote a post Using a Backchannel. However the response came back that there was still confusion.In fact twitter is actually being used as a backchannel for this discussion.

As a teacher, students can tell me when they are confused at the very point of confusion if they can txt me in a backchannel or discussion space, but they rarely put their hand up and tell me. I can then re-explain, re-teach until they do understand.

Re-explaining a backchannel:-

Imagine if when you are writing for an assignment or assessment piece, that would allow every student to simultaneously:-

  •  ask questions that come to them, immediately.
  • ask for the word  or terms, to describe something (as it wont come immediately into your head)
  • resolve confusion immediately
  • share  opinion ‘silently’ with others who are also writing
  • seek feedback on an argument  to be used etc.
  • share resources
  •  input feelings, thoughts etc
  • teacher could add ‘silently’ ask questions to ensure students understand topic
  • retain a written record of all of the above

Imagine if….when listening to a presenter at a conference,or to speakers in a debate or a public speech or to a teacher, listeners or participants could:-

  • offer feedback (constructive) on the quality of the presentation
  • ask questions at any stage
  • share their knowledge with each other
  • share resources to support the speaker
  • poll on the success of the speech

Below are some screen grabs of a backchannel used in a classroom. Students in grades 2 to 10 were listening to a geologist talk virtually (online) about the animals that lived in Kanawinka, Australia’s GeoPark. Each student was logged on individually and could use the chat area as a backchannel. When Ian, the geologist talked about the bats, the students put questions and comments into the chat area (backchannel) of the virtual classroom, Blackboard Collaborate. Ian  stopped his presentation and answered the questions.

Backchannel chat from students whilst listening to a virtual guest speaker

The screengrab below is from an online accounting class where students shared their confusion in the chat. They would not have normally interrupted me, the online teacher, but as they had a chat area to comment in, they were happy to admit what they did not understand. I had to rephrase my teaching and teach to their confusion.

The backchannel from virtual students in Blackboard Collaborate during online accounting class

Some backchannel tools to use:- twitter, chatzy, todaysmeet, blackboard collaborate, msn, skype group chat, coveritlive  etc

Setting up the backchannel-

  • Choose a backchannel tool
  • The organiser or teacher creates a backchannel using one of the tools above.
  • The link is shared with the class or participants. These participants  click on the link, login (if required), enter their name and proceed to use it as an educational chat room.
  • It twitter is to be shared as a backchannel, then a hashtag would be created eg for the recent ACEC2012 conference, participants shared what they learnt, asked questions, talked about experiences through a tweet that included the hashtag #acec2012. This hashtag can be entered into tweetchat and the conversation followed there.

Further resources

How would you explain a backchannel? Have you used one? What is your opinion of a backchannel? What tool did you use? What resources could you add to this post? Can you please help this young university student?

What is a tweetchat?

Chats using twitter to deliver conversations are becoming increasingly popular. A great variety of chats have sprung up over the last 12 months. Some are held weekly, some monthly, usually for one hour. They are aimed at people with a common interest or passion eg edchat, globalclassroom chat, kinderchat etc. It is a group chat in real time using twitter. To get involved, you need to know the hashtag or #. A number of people may moderate the chat and lead the discussion, keeping participants on task and allowing the chat to formally start and finish.

Tonight we have the globalclassroom chat. Here are suggestions for being involved.

  1.  Set aside dedicated time to be part of the chat (usually one hour)
  2. Goto tweetchat, and enter globalclassroom (or the hashtag you want to follow) into the search bar (at the top, in the middle). Some twitter browsers allow a dedicated column to be setup with the hashtag eg tweetdeck
  3. End any tweets with #globalclassroom. This will bring the tweet to the attention of all who are interested in sharing information about Global Classrooms.
  4. Register for tweetchat, if you would like control over various elements of the chat eg speed, saving ability etc.
  5. Tweets will usually be sent out prior to the time so that the topic is promoted etc
  6. Look for the archives of the chat. The link will be shared at some stage after the official chat time. eg Globalclassroom chats are archived on the Global Classroom Chat wiki. You can read through all conversations should you miss the live session.
  7. The chat will often continue on a less intense pace once the dedicated time has passed.

globalclassroom inserted into search window

Why get involved?

  • Each participant has a voice!
  • great opportunity to meet other partipants from across the world who share similar passion
  • access the latest in thinking in a particular area
  • access some great resources, blog posts, spaces etc that are shared by participants
  • ability to hone in a particular subject
  • chance to share your knowledge and help others
  • txt chat is not daunting, everyone can type in something
  • find many new people to follow on twitter
  • help develop a networked brain!

Where can you find hashtags and chats?

Won’t you join me and Tasha Cowdy as we co-moderate global classroom chat this evening, Sunday, Setp 16th at 7pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+10)

What have I left out? What else would you like to know about tweetchats?

eT@lking: What the #####? The all important hashtag and Twitter!

When: Wednesday, 12th September, 2012, 8-9pm

About this session: This will be a presentation and exploration of how to set up, manage and promote and get involved in an online community using twitter #hashtags. This presentation, by Jason Graham, will share experiences of how to create or join an online community using Twitter.

About our presenter: Jason Graham, a Canadian, who calls Melbourne home, currently working in Indonesia. Jason is the Learning Technologies Coordinator and Grade 1 teacher at Bandung International School, PYP Workshop Leader. He classifies himself as a “Disruptivist since 1971”. You can read posts on Jason’s blog.

Please join us and share in the conversations or should that be #tags! Here is a link to the recording. Thanks to Jess McCulloch for organising this session.

What questions would you have? What are your favourite hashtags? Why do you use them? When do you use them?