Archive for the 'Twitter' Category

Nov 10 2011

Day 7: Creating a classroom hashtag

<—Back to main twitter un-workshop page
When you use twitter in the classroom or for an event /conference, you will have to create a hashtag for it. I do not necessarily follow my students by opt rather  to unite our classroom activities around a hashtag. This way I only see their interaction around our classroom activities. Following your students can be a harrowing experience for you and an inhibiting one for them- so rather create a hashstag.  How do you go about doing that?

Easy- You suck it out of your thumb :-) Really. The only criteria is that it must be unique for your topic / event / discussion /class /year.  Bearing in mind that you would ONLY like people interested or involved in your topic to become part of your hashtag stream, you  must choose something that is not being used yet. For instance #mathsclass will not be a good choice for your Grade 11 mathematics class as other students from all over the world might be using this  hashtag to keep track of what is happening in a #mathsclass. Your stream can then become “contaminated” with discussions that are not specifically intended for your class/event (see example below)

The first step in creating a hashtag is to check if it is being used already. Just insert it in the search window at the top of your twitter page and see if you get any results. If not- you can use it for your class or event. For instance- a hashtag for a biology teacher at Heronbridge school for 2011 can look like this:


Try to keep the length of the hashtag as short as possible as it takes away discussion space. For as long as the hashtag is being used, it says “alive”. This means that if you do not use your class hashtag any more (e.g. it is a new year and a new class) it will just disappear from the twitter timeline. Remember – tweets do not stay around forever- we will deal with how to backup your class/event tweets later.

Once you have created the hashtag, you have to make sure that your students use it every time they tweet about or in the classroom. If they don’t include it you will not be able to see it in the classroom stream. It is also important to make sure that you have a twitter screen up in your classroom. This means that you show it on the whiteboard or data projector so that they can see their participation up live! I will deal with how to use the twitter stream in the classroom at a later stage as well- very powerful!

So now it is time to create a hashtag that you would like to track a topic with. Your very own hashtag.


  • Create a hashtag for your hobby or class and send a tweet with it included. Tell us what it is about. E.g
  • Respond to others teachers’ hashtags by Replying to their tweets
  • Reflect on how you can use hashtags in your classroom in a tweet
  • Don’t forget to add the hashtag #ict4champions to all your tweets!!

<—Back to main twitter un-worksho page

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Nov 08 2011

Day 6: What are hashtags?

<—Back to main twitter un-workshop page

Hashtags (#)are those seemingly inconspicuous symbols in front of (sometimes nonsensical) words that you find included in some tweets.

Right from the start of this unworkshop we have asked you to include the hashtag #ict4champions in all of your tweets relating to this workshop. If you want to make sure that we know that you are a South African teacher or if you want other South African teachers to see your tweet, you can include the hashtag #sateachers.

Hashtags are basically keywords that you can search for on twitter which unites people around a topic, discussion , event or trend. They appear as linked keywords in a tweet and if you click on them or search for them at the top of your twitter window,  you will see all tweets with that specific hashtag in it.

Event or training hashtags

By inserting the hashtag #ict4champions (our training event) into your tweet, you become part of the unworkshop stream and we can track everybody who are participating or mentoring within this unworkshop. If you do not include this hashtag we will not see your tweets unless we are already following you, so it is important to always include it. During conferences participants are given a hashtag to use which then enable them to have discussions with one another or create searchable summaries while the conference is on. The hashtag makes  it possible for others, not at the conference, to follow what is happening and to “hear” through the tweets of the particpants what is being said at the event. For instance, next week the Global Education Conference is happening online, it is free, it is big and you can follow all the learning excitement by searching for the hashtag #GlobalEd11. People are already starting to share stuff around the conference. We also have a local edtech conference here in South Africa called #edtechconf which has ongoing discussions before, during and after the face to face conferences.

How do you save a hashtag?

If you need to get to a hashtag stream quickly and often, you can save it as a search. You do this by clicking on a hashtag in a tweet or searching for it. Once you see the hashtag results you can click on the “Save this search” button. To get to your saved search again go to Home–>Searches and click on your saved search.

Some educational hashtags to follow:

There are a few generic hashtags that track educational topics for you. For instance, we have a weekly educational (#edchat) discussion where we vote on a topic for the week and then talk about it on a global level.


Some lists of educational hashtags


Here is a little video for you to watch:

Today’s activities:

  • Consult this list of educational hashtags and save 3 hashtags of topics that you would like to follow on an ongoing basis (remember to make #ict4champions 1 of your saved hashtags)
  • Send 3 tweets on any topic and include the hashtags #ict4champions and #day6
  • Answer this question in a tweet: How can I use hashtags in my classroom? Remember to include the hashtag #ict4champions!

If you have created 4 tweets and have saved 3 hashtags as searches, you have completed the activity for today!

Additional reading:

<—Back to main twitter un-worksho page




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Nov 07 2011

Day 5: Having discussions on twitter

<—Back to main twitter un-workshop page       One of the main attractions about twitter is the informal educational discussions that can flare up! Sometimes it starts with an innocent question or it can be sparked by a topical issue that someone is experiencing. Sometimes we try to orchestrate a topic of discussion (this could be a good thing to do in a classroom situation). Most of the time, however, it happens organically as I found this morning when I was just about to conjure up a topic for  discussion for our unworkshop!

@Lohann asked the question:  How do you overcome restrictions on the use of cellphones in schools?” Which of course got me going (and please get stuck into this discussion as well, using the context that you find ourself in). This is a relevant barrier if we are thinking of implementing twitter as a classroom tool and I would love to hear what the situation is in classrooms around our country and globally!

How do you become part of a twitter discussion?

To be part of a discussion, or to just talk to someone, you will need to REPLY to the tweet that inspires you to become involved. You do this by hovering your cursor over the tweet, which will then display the reply option below the tweet (see picture above). If you click on this, it will open a little window with the person’s name to who you want to reply, already inserted. You will notice that it has @thepersonsname inserted. You can now just type in your reply.

To reply to someone specific, you use the @ symbol. This has to be placed directly in front of their twitter name. E.g if you want to talk to me, you will start your tweet with @maggiev. If you put @ maggiev, I will not see your tweet directed at me due to the space between the @ and maggiev. You will find the discussion directed at you under the Home–> Mentions tab.  This means that you should check this REGULARLY! Ignoring the Mentions tab means that you are in effect ignoring people talking to you!

Your Mentions do not only include reply’s to your discussions, it also shows what people are saying about you! In addition you will see when people retweet what you have said (in other words passing on one of your tweets). Even if you do not follow your timeline’s tweets, you should always keep an eye on the Mentions stream. I have set up my mobile phone in such a way that it gives a beep similar to my SMS sound every time a receive a “Mention”. Twitter Replies can therefore substitute using sms’s which is far more expensive, to contact people and have discussions with them! As we have pointed out in day 4 you will be able to read twitter discussions in a chronological  way by clicking on the discussion call-out icon to the right of a tweet. The discussion will show up on the right of your twitter page.

Classroom, workshop or event discussions 

Apart from informal discussions, we can group discussions together by using hashtags (e.g ict4champions) . We will discuss hashtags in more detail tomorrow, but I just need to mention how important it is to keep track of discussions taking place in the same space (not necessarily a physical space). By inserting a hashtag you can keep track of various little discussions around the same topic or interest. In the case of this unworkshop we are using #ict4champions to bring everything together. So if you do not insert this tag and I am not following you, I will miss out on what you are saying.

Replying to other people’s tweets is a good way to build learning relationships. By talking to others, they will get to know you and may even start following you!

So in summary:

  • Look at your Mentions to see if someone is talking to you. (Home–>Mentions)
  • Hover over tweet–> click on Reply to answer (you can reply to anyone’ s tweet in your main timeline stream as well)
  • Type in your reply in presented window next to the @theotherpersonsname
  • Dont forget to add #ict4champions in your tweet before you send it

Activity for today: 

  • Respond to the question posed by @lohann  (click on the question to remind you what she has asked)
  • Check your timeline and reply to anyone of the tweets that interest you. (Home–>timeline)
  • Check the #ict4champions stream and reply to any of the tweets there.
  • Don’t forget to add #ict4champions  to every one of your tweets so that we can track you!
Previous days:

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Nov 01 2011

Day 1: Twitter un-workshop

<—Back to main twitter un-workshop page

Welcome to day 1 of our twitter un-workshop!! My hope for us is to, by the end of November, have at least 500 enthusiastic teachers twittering about how to use this powerful tool for professional development and in their classrooms.

Today, and for the next few days,  we are just going to get started by registering for a twitter account and getting as many newbie teachers on board. If you are an experienced teacher twit already, please get as many teachers around you to join in and  help them to feel at home.  Feel free to download the “Getting started” tutorial and pass it on to everybody. Our hashtag for the workshop is #ict4champions. You will learn more about hashtags as we go along.  You can follow the workshop twitter stream by searching for #ict4champions in the search window at the top of your twitter browser page ( or click here to go straight to it.

Activity: In your first tweet (the 140 character status update) please put your school, your subject, your town, your country and the hashtag #ict4champions If you are not a teacher, you are most welcome to lurk with us and support our teachers on this learning pathway!!

Well done! If you have:

  • Downloaded and worked through the tutorial
  • Registered for a twitter account
  • Send a tweet with your school, town, country, subject, and the hashtag #ict4champions
  • Got other teachers to join and do the same…..

then….. you have completed day 1 successfully. Does anyone want to add anything? Tweet it!!!!!!! #ictchampions

<—Back to twitter unworkshop main page

Go to Day2: The importance of your twitter profile –>



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Oct 17 2011

Teachers twitter unworkshop

Twitter has great potential as a creative and collaborative learning and teaching tool in the classroom. It has been chosen as the number 1 learling & teacing tool for the last 4 years globally, which shows that it is tool that has to be taken seriously.

Some of the reasons for using twitter as a teacher and in your classroom:

  • You can create a personal learning network on the fly
  • You can learn from others and get instant support
  • You can use this tool to teach your learners how to use social media responsibly
  • You can share resources, events, thoughts, lesson ideas… quick as lightning!
  • You can have discussions on topical issues in your classroom and in education in general.
  •   You can use it to connect your class to other global classrooms and experts
  • ……………..

Obviously it is just a tool and learning and teaching only takes place if we use a tool effectively! My mission is to get at least 500 South African teachers to do just that! So this online un-workshop will guide newbie twitter teachers or those wanting to learn about how to use twitter for teaching and learning through some of the steps- from getting started, to creating a learning networks- to using the tool more effectively- to using it as a classroom tool- to sharing resources- to embedding it your school website, LMS, or your blog- to managing it -to using it as an on demand assessment and feedback tool-to……

The (…..) parts is where the UN part of the un-workshop comes in. Even though I, and hopefully others, will be providing structure as far as making sure that everybody will be getting some of the basic information and providing learning objects and references along the way, this workshop will be dependent on the input, direction and needs of all who participate. I will also invite my learning network to interact, support and share best practices with you and I am sure we will ALL be able to add value and direction to this unworkshop. So if you are part of  my amazing twitter PLN, please let me know if you will be able to mentor a few new teacher twits and get them to understand why we are a-twitter about twitter!
It will also entail some online ad hoc webinar (which will be hosted by Schoolnet) to help you connect and we even may want to meet face to face and have edu-tweetups all around the country?!!

All that you need to do to be part of this un-workshop is to RSVP to this event and like this page. The whole workshop will be run via Facebook ( and my blog ( for those without faces ;-). So, you can either RSVP as a comment below or on my Facebook events page.

Looking forward to interacting with you all! If you are a South African teacher please add #sateachers to your tweet. Our hashtag for this unworkshop is #ict4champions.

The workshop is now live and ready to rumble, go here to get with the groove (whether you are a newbie or a mentor/facilitator)

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Apr 03 2011

School 2.0 Bookmarks (weekly)

Published by under School 2.0,Twitter

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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May 23 2010

#30 interesting ways to use twitter in the classroom

Published by under Collaborations,Twitter

Tom Barrett (@tombarrett) has innitiated yet another Interesting ways collaborative “in the classroom” slideshow on my favourite learning tool! I have, over the last year, seen wonderful ways that twitter is being used in the classroom and I think this little collaborative project can be built on greatly! So if you have any other ideas, contact @tombarrett (send him a message via twitter) to give you access to add your idea to pool!

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Oct 21 2009

Twitter guide and my favourites

Due to the incredible popularity of twitter globally, more guides are being written every day. I have had to update my teacher twitter learning object twice, due to the twitter interface changing. I also have not began to scratch the surface as far as handy twitter applications are concerned, but then I discovered this comprehensive guide to twitter from Makeuseof which always gives a down to earth perspective and look at tools and gadgets.

My current twitter tools that I am using are:


As I have various alter ego’s (@maggiev @schoollibrary @hogsback @mathslitteacher- The last 3 are collaborative), this web based tool is really very handy. You do not have to install a programme on your computer as it sits in your browser. You can keep track of all your personas and create separate streams which helps if you are following a great deal of interesting people. You can create a stream group by adding followers or hashtags. For instance, you can create a stream to follow the learners in your class. Another advantage is that you can keep track of your tweet stats with detailed graphs and stats (always very interesting from a maths point of view)

My Diigo auto- bookmarkmarklet to twitter

Where twitter is the mouth  of my online learning, Diigo is the heart and as it has an auto twitter tickbox, I can automatically post my bookmarks to twitter on the fly by just ticking the box. All you have to do is to install the diigo toolbar and click on bookmark. The rest is seamless. Very handy.

Twibes (

Is a grouping tool and comes in quite handy when you have meetings or workshops. Previously I swamped my poor following with workshop/meeting tweets. I am sure not all my social media and edtech followers are interested in mathematical literacy and the hassles we are having with assessment, so twibes makes it possible to create an interest group around a specific hashtag and use it as a seperate backchannel.

Backing up tweets (

Tweets are only visible for a period of time and it is therefore very important to back it up/print it. I do this once a month and also back up my favourite tweople’s tweets! This makes for some great bedtime reading!

But let me introduce you to this great guide for a few more (very comprehensive) step by step pointers……..

The Complete Guide to Twitter

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May 18 2009

Twitter = On demand learning and support

I am busy putting the finishing touches to my chapter on how social media tools help us to not to only communicate but become lifelong learners, when I was passed (via my twitter network) a link to a new platform that allows you to create blog communities called I went to investigate it as I am planning to start another one of my blogging drives for teachers. I also immediately bookmarked my “find”  for future reference using my  Diigo button, which also passed it on to my twitter network.

After a quick investigation (after all I have to finish my chapter by Wednesday) I discovered that it was run using a WordPress engine and it reminded me a lot of my Edublog system (A blogging platform for teachers). I twittered this as I thought that it would give people more info on my “find”. As always, my network is listening in the background, and Sue Waters, who has always supported me on Edublogs, asked me if she could give me a live walkthrough (tutorial) on the spot, using Elluminate. Now how is that for on demand learning?

So using Twitter, we quickly organised a time and a place (6 hours time difference) to have an impromptu online workshop about blogging, and the difference between Edublogs Campus and the new tool So basically, learning has become boundary-less and instantaneous on a global scale in a flat world! And then people still say that Twitter is a silly little hyped tool….Eaash!

So everybody is invited! Sue will be running it in Elluminate on thursday at 2pm South African time (8pm her time: GMT+8)  Mark your calenders and remember to tune in. If you will be joining us from your school, remember to check that you have access and that Elluminate is not blocked by school firewalls.

Here is a quick walk through on how to get in:

  • Go to
  • Enter your name and click on Login
  • Tick “Open with Java…”  –> OK
  • It will download and install the Elluminate application (Make sure that your school tech support is on standby or test it before the time)
  • A security message will ask you if you want to run the application- choose RUN
  • A little window will come up asking you about your connection speed
  • Thee meeting room will apear with a little helpscreen on how to use the meeting room. But we will be there to guide and help you as well!!!
  • You are welcome to log in before the time to give it a spin.

So see you there!!! And spread the news. Don’t forget to twitter it to your networks as well.

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Jan 17 2009

Twitter straight from your Gmail

Using this ‘Twitter for Gmail’ gadget, you can easily tweet from your Gmail inbox without having the hassle to log into Twitter each and every time. The best part is that, unlike some other Twitter applications and gadgets, apart from having the ability to send messages (tweets) a user can also view the tweets by his friends and followers from within Gmail inbox itself. (Source)

How to:

  • Go to your gmail account (
  • Click on Settings (top right)
  • Click on the Labs tab
  • Scroll down to the bottom and enable “Add any gadget by URL
  • Save changes
  • Now click on Setting–>Gadgets in your Gmail window
  • Paste in the following url:
  • Your Gmail page will reload and you will see a blue widget on the left- fill in your twitter username and password
  • Voila- now you can twitter straight from your gmail account!

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