San Diego State University • Spring 2012

Using Twitter to Learn from Others

Twitter LogoReading RSS feeds is a great way to keep up with what's happening. But there's another technology that provides a different, more spontaneous window into the minds of other people. It's called Twitter and it's one of the fastest growing Web 2.0 technologies.

  1. Watch a video explaining what Twitter is.

  2. video about Twitter

  3. Get yourself an account on Twitter.
  4. Download a Twitter client for your home computer. Tweetdeck is one of the best. If you're already comfortable with adding plug-ins to Firefox, Echofon comes highly recommended. For iPhone users, Twitter is the official app.
  5. Add a few of your classmates as twitter pals (or tweeps) and post a few tweets of your own.
  6. Read Liz Davis's advice for teachers new to Twitter.
  7. Look for people and institutions tweeting about a hobby or other interest you have by looking them up on Twellow.
  8. Find some fellow teachers who you think might be interesting to follow from the Just Tweet It or the Twitter for Teachers lists.
  9. Add some well known educational technologists from the list below to your list of people you follow.

and perhaps some news bots and celebrities:

CA Quake | SDSU News Team | NBC San Diego | Rachel Maddow | Wil Wheaton | Martha Stewart | Emeril

And then watch Jon Stewart shake his fist at Twitter. And see what people are saying about EDTEC 470

If the shoe fits, read David Wetzel's How to Use Twitter to Stay Informed About Math and Science. And if you're a lover of books, look at this list of authors who tweet.

Finally, consider adding some twitter lists. A list a set of tweeps maintained by one twitter user. That user keeps the list pruned so that it's useful to him or her, and it might be useful to you, too. Here are some lists in content areas relevant to some of you in this class. If you add a list to your list of followers, you're adding dozens of other (ideally) well-chosen minds all at once

History | Literature | NYT Book Reviews | Biology | Physics | Music |

How This Fits Into Your Personal Learning System

Google Reader
iGoogle serves as a place to store links you use frequently, your top feeds, and gadgets showing information imporant to you. You might want to make it your start page. Google Reader keeps you on top of changes in sites that are important to you. Most appropriate for news sites and blogs, but you can also store an ongoing search as an RSS feed. Interesting things you read could be stored away in an Evernote note, and useful links should go into Delicious. Twitter's role is to help you tune in to individuals who are sharing useful information. It allows almost instant access to their tweets. The key is to find the right people to pay attention to. Keep a special eye out for useful links that you could store in Delicious or ideas to put away into Evernote. Delicious is a way to store bookmarks to useful online resources and to quickly find other resources using the same tags. You'll use it to keep links that you get via Twitter and Google Reader. Evernote allows you to capture bits of web sites, sounds or voice notes, images, and text and to retrieve it again when needed. Use it selectively to distill what you glean from Google Reader and Twitter. It's also a great place to draft ideas for lessons and presentations, or preliminary responses for school assignments.


To document your use of Twitter, we'll ask you to share the link to your Twitter page and describe what you've learned from it. The details of the assignment are spelled out on the assignment page.

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