Posted on April 13, 2009. Filed under: Elementary School, General, High School, Middle School |

by Tim Van Heule
Coordinator of Distance Learning

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Do you Twitter? Better yet, do you know what Twitter is? Twitter has been a seemingly hot topic as of late – everyone seems to be “twittering,” even Miley Cyrus for those of you who are Hannah Montana fans.

Twitter is a social networking site that allows users to connect with their Personal Learning Network (PLN) – a PLN is a network of people you chose to be involved with. What’s most interesting about Twitter is that it is a “micro-blog,” meaning you are limited to text-based posts of 140 characters. These posts, or “tweets,” are displayed on your profile page, but are also delivered to the profile pages of your “followers” – those people who have subscribed to follow your posts. You can “follow” others who share your common interests.

Tweets are delivered free through the Twitter website on the Internet, or can be delivered through Short Message Service (SMS) on your mobile phone. Please note that if you choose to utilize the SMS service on your mobile phone all standard text-messaging charges apply – be sure to check with your mobile phone providers before choosing this delivery option.

‘Twitter has become a powerful tool for community organizers, marketers, and others who want to share and receive information in a fast, friendly environment. It’s no wonder, then, that teachers have also found success on Twitter, using the tool to connect with students, share information with parents, and find useful resources” . This blog post lists “100 tools that can help twittering teachers make the most out of this helpful microblogging tool” (, April 2009).

Twitter is being used in classrooms worldwide already. “TeachJeffCorwin” is a classroom of sixth graders in  Columbia, SC who want to teach Spanish to TV personality, Jeff Corwin. This classroom provides links and updates about their projects.

Tweets can be sent out to parents, students, and other educators. You, your students, and your parents really have to be clear and concise to get the message out in 140 characters or less! Basically, the importance of the message is delivered, while some of the “fluff” that often fills our communication is left out. One of the challenges with Twitter is sharing URLs in such a limited space. “TinyURLl” is a free site that condenses your URLs into a smaller version. For example, the website for the Upstate Technology Conference is, but with TinyURL the web address is condenced down to

Maybe you want to join Twitter, maybe you don’t. However, you may be surprised to find out who is already Twittering… CNN Breaking News, journalists like Thomas Friedman, and even sporting events like The Masters. All of these have their own followers… these followers have chosen to subscribe to tweets in an effort to make learning more personal – choosing to learn about what interests them most.


Top 100 tools for the twittering teacher. (2009, April 2). Message posted to

Twitter. (n.d.) Retrieved April 13, 2009, from


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[…] Additionally, tweeting affords people to keep messages short and sweet.  From a blog titled, Twitterific, by Tim Van Heule, I read the following: “What’s most interesting about Twitter is that it is a […]

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