Pre Sue Waters

If that doesn’t get Sue to read my blog, I don’t know what will!  Hi Sue.

Yesterday, Sue posted this:  “Helping Educators Get Started With Twitter”.  If you’re looking for a resource tailored specifically for educators, this is the one.  Share it in your school’s collaboration space, link to it via your Twitter account, put it on your wiki, do whatever you can to promote her work.  This really is a good document and I use many of the techniques when I introduce educators to Twitter.

I’ve added another part to my presentation that I’ve found works very well for some folks.  Most of the material in the guide presupposes that people actually want to get involved.

How do you convince them in the first place?  Here’s what I’ve started to do and it’s worked very nicely for me.

Go anonymous.

Before we get into the logistics of registering for an account, I try to show the value before we reach that step.

It works very well in a community like mine where there’s just a weekly newspaper and a daily newspaper in the big city to the north.  Both are examples of journalism that are familiar to people but their downfall is that the story may be old news by the time their printing timeline allows.

How do we get that information “right now”?  There isn’t a teacher alive who doesn’t want to bring into her classroom the news of the day or do some instant research before engaging in conversation.

So, I’ve begun to start my sessions using Twitter Search.

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Or, if you know me, rather than a simple search, an advanced search.

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It does require that you, as presenter, know what’s happening in the world right now but that’s easy enough if you just click a topic that’s trending.  Once we establish something of interest, we’ll dig into the Twitter messages surrounding the topic.  From there, we’ll discover what clicking on a hashtag or a Twitter name actually does.  If you’re lucky, there will be at least one question from the learners – “how do I tell this person something?”  In fishing terms, set the hook and reel them in.  Of course, the next step is to create an account and talk about engaging with the author both publically and privately.  Toss it back to Sue’s wonderful resource.

When you do a few of these examples, the inevitable question comes up – “What’s the best way to do a Twitter search?”  We’ll talk about bookmarking the link to Twitter search which is good enough for most people and easily done in any web browser.  But then we’ll move to a Level 4 activity.  Everyone’s familiar with the concept of a Google or Bing or Yahoo! as a default search engine.  But, what about making Twitter the default or at least one of the options.  New web browsers have you covered there as well.

Google Chrome

Right click in the Omnibar and select “Edit Search Engines”.  At the bottom of your currently defined search engines, look for the edit box and enter your new search engine.  In this case, Twitter…

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Be prepared for the question – if I can do it with Twitter, can I do it with others?  (Sure, Doug never does anything in moderation – here’s a partial listing of what I’ve configured as search engines…)

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Mozilla Firefox

Click on the down arrow in the Search Box and “Manage Search Engines”.  You’ll be able to add/remove search engines at will and easily switch on the fly.

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Once configured, Twitter just becomes part of your search engine suite of options.  It’s quick and easy and so productive for the “right now” type of search.  As we know, newspaper and news sources have their own particular take on things.  Very quickly, (particularly in a one newspaper town) you have access to diverse views and opinions.

Hopefully, for the reluctant, this would serve to inspire a first look into the use of this very powerful educational resource.  Once the value is seen, everyone wants to be a part of it.  Sue’s resource should serve to put them over the top.

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