Day 8: Retweeting: The magic of passing along great stuff

<—Back to main twitter un-workshop page

When we participate in our learning community in twitter we become human filters of information for our followers. This makes twitter even more powerful than Google when it comes to disseminating valuable bits of knowledge. Every piece of information that you pass on in a tweet can act as a catalyst for a learning network partner (the people in your twitter personal learning network) to act on and use. If they find the “knowledge titbit” useful, they will pass it on to their followers, who in turn pass it on to their followers, which set in motion a possible exponential knowledge chain of information sharing. This is where retweeting comes in.

Retweeting creates an echo of knowledge or information sharing. It is an effortless way to pass on information quickly. You can use it to……

  • Pass on current information like events
  • Pass on great resource links:
  • Share tips and tools:
  • Pass on requests for help:

To retweet, all you have to do is to hover your cursor over a tweet and click on the Retweet link. It will post the tweet into your stream for your followers to see.

Twitter unfortunately does not allow you to edit the tweet before you retweet. This means that you pass on a tweet exactly as it was posted. If you see a new face in your timeline, it’s because someone you follow retweeted something they thought you should see. In the message, you’ll see the picture and username of the original user, who was retweeted by someone you follow.

If you want to add to a retweet e.g. a hashtag, you will have to copy and paste the tweet contents  into the status window and add the additional info. Remember to add RT in front of the person who you are reteetings name.

We will see how third party twitter clients allow you to do this effortlessly in a future day! Mobile twitter apps gives you the choice to quote (were you can add to the tweet) or just retweet directly.

A the end of this activity you should have send  at least 5 tweets

  • Retweet each of the following:
    A  tool being shared
    A request for help
    A current event
    An educational resource link
  • Retweet anything you find interesting that you feel we will find interesting and add the hashtag #ict4champions to the tweet.

<—Back to main twitter un-worksho page

Day 7: Creating a classroom hashtag

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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

Day 2:The importance of your twitter profile

<—Back to main twitter un-workshop page

One of the most important things you have to do is to create a professional twitter profile if you want to use your twitter for teaching and learning. When you join twitter you are allocated an egghead. I don’t follow eggheads. I follow people who I can learn from and who share valuable learning resources with me. You will, during the course of this un-workshop, get to follow amazing people. Your first introduction to them is their profile. Creating  a good profile will tell others what you are about, what you like and where you “teach”,  information that will help them to make up their minds if they have common ground with you. We will look at the concept of “following” in more detail tomorrow, but first we need to get your profile up to date and ready for following!!

You will find your profile information by going to Settings–>Profile

For todays activity, go and revise your profile and make sure that it is up to date, relevant and enhance your professional image as an educator….

  • If you are an old “edu-twit” revise your twitter profile and see if it is still relevant to where you are at at the moment.
  • Ask yourself- Will the people that I want to learn from or my students follow me to learn from me?
  • Have I inserted an up to date website  or blog address for further information?
  • Does my Bio state clearly what my interests are so that only people with similar interests would like to follow me?
  • Look at some of the bios of the following people and decide if you would like to follow them:
    @ict_educator ; @peterdelisle; @rngreener2 ; @artpreston; @clarkformaths

<—back to day one: Getting started or —>Day 3: Who follows Who: the following dilemma


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)

Getting your students to twink

My topic for the Africa Higher-ed in ICT conference is quite a mouthful and I decided to focus on the how instead of the theory by looking at the following in a practical way:
Twitter- A higher order thinking tool to engage and move your students towards innovative learning habits.

Before you arrive for the conference, please set up a twitter account so that you can participate in the back channel. To see a comprehensive overview of twitter for educational purposes and all my twitter4ed resources, click here.

A step  by set instruction of how to set up a basic twitter account

Teacher Twitter workshop @ Edweek 2010

My second workshop at Education week 2010 was of course on twitter and I am glad to report that I have managed to convert some twitter-phobes into realising the tremondous potential it can have in the classroom. I invited my PLN (Personal Learning Network) to join us in sharing the value of twitter and this is what  got back during the session:

Thank you for making the time to join us during the workshop- It is a true reflection of how supportive your network is and demonstrate the value of Twitter in real time!!

I didn’t manage to publish my updated twitter starter e-torial beforehand, so here is the new version according to the #Newtwitter:

Virtual educational bonds

I had the amazing experience this weekend to meet up, for the first time face 2 face,  with one of my foremost gurus and mentors, Bronwyn Stuckey (@bronst).  Up to now, she has just been this person, far away, yet close, who helps me when I am stuck, points me in the right direction when I am stumped by googled multitude knowledge overmation. She has been my filter of “good learning stuff” and my way of keeping on the edge of the latest information in my field of passion, namely educational communities of practice. And all of this via twitter.
What makes this so amazing and special is the fact that she lives all the way down under in another time zone. Yet she is always there for me. She is an essential cog in my Personal Learning Network (PLN). There is just no better way to learn that this. I got to know her way back when I was doing literature research and discovered her devotion and inspirational work and research which provided me with a minefield of juicy stuff to chew on (so to speak- mindfood).
Where I found my own supervisors unavailable, unreachable and always to busy to have time for me, my omnipotent PLN made it possible for me to have access to the top minds globally in my field, including @bronst. And what is more amazing is that my PLN gives me unconditional learning opportunities -on demand. And all of this via twitter.
So if anybody tells me that twitter is an irrelevant silly tool, I present to you @bronst (and all the other amazing people in my twitter PLN). After 3 years of twitter learning and sharing and the occasional Skype sessions, meeting face to face felt like an emotional fusion of what we have already created online virtually. The other amazing thing is that we have created and presented a weeklong online workshop  during a conference, without ever meeting face 2 face. We just had that online learning bond that we created via our online PLN.
As she said, we could have talked for hours (and hours) but the fact that we just had a few hours to touch base F2F did not matter as we knew that our learning pathway is forever there via twitter and any of the other learning platforms that we run into each other across the learning landscape. We had this virtual educational bond and it felt that I have known her F2F forever.
So, teachers, find yourself a few learning partners to sustain you. Learn from them and maybe you will be blessed to meet up with them F2F  (or not) along your learning pathway.


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

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.