Twitter Testimony

Every chance I get, I tell educators, “You should be on Twitter.”  But how did I find Twitter and, even more important, decide to start using it?

In August 2011, we had a start of the year inservice where pretty much the whole district showed up for a face-to-face kick off.  It was the first year that we were going to use Discovery Education and they brought up Hall Davidson as the special speaker, one of Discovery Ed’s big wigs.

His talk was a lot of showing us fun things we can do with iPads or Discovery Ed which was all a lot of fun but what stuck with me was when he asked the crowd something like….”How many of you have email?” and every hand went up.  “Okay, how about facebook?” and that was a majority of the room, too.  Then he asked, “And how many of you have a Twitter account?” Now, it was less than 10 percent of the room.  And he replies, “Well, you need to be on Twitter.  So here’s what I’m going to do…I’m going to give you all a Twitter account…on ME!  So jump on and log in and start following other educators and you will see why it is the best thing ever.”  And having previously been on Twitter around the 2008 election season, I thought, why not?

I did and he was right.  Twitter has been an amazing resource for me as I’ve built up my Professional Learning Network over the past three-and-a-half years.  These are educators around the globe that post ideas, articles, blog posts, supportive statements, personal challenges and successes, and they post a lot.  An estimated 4.2 million education-related tweets go out on Twitter each day. (

Twitter is where I discovered Genius Hour and Mystery Skype, two of my favorite classroom learning activities.  I also participate in #edchat when I can (it’s on Tuesdays) where educators discuss different topics like the role of grades in classrooms or the future of textbooks.  Perhaps my favorite use of Twitter is to tweet out during conferences;  it is a way for me to take notes as well as get pertinent ideas out to a larger audience.  What’s the point of hearing something amazing and not sharing it?

Seeing how my educational practice has changed because of this particular social media makes me an ambassador for Twitter.  Give it a shot.  It will work for you and you will take collaboration to a different level or it won’t be all that and you’ll let it fade.  The best part, though? It will be there if you need it.


Classrooms are seeking YOU out for Mystery Skype!  This activity is a great way to collaborate across the country or the world and build geographic understanding in students.  I’m on my second year of doing Mystery Skypes with the same group of students and watching their geography grow is reaffirming.  We don’t do a lot of geography otherwise; I’m glad they are picking it up.

How does one do Mystery Skype?  You and another classroom (or individual) will set up a time to skype.  Then your classes take turns asking yes/no questions about the other class’ location.  Are you west of the Mississippi River?  Are you in the Eastern time zone?  It finally narrows down until you guess which state.  It is so much fun.

To find Mystery Skype classrooms, look at

Another way is to search for the #mysteryskype hashtag on Twitter.  There are also various google docs out there to sign up on, like this one:…

Trust me, people will want to skype with you because you’re in Alaska.  Try it out!