Social media has earned a pretty negative reputation in schools, and elsewhere, for being a place that people constantly brag about their kids, their cars, or that cute thing their cat just did. Those are all pretty common occurrences, but they’re not the only things happening on services like Twitter. Indeed, Twitter is actually home to some great information that teachers can really use. It might not be as fun as cats doing cute things, but it’s definitely more useful and it might even help redeem Twitter from its bad image. Of the millions of people tweeting, there are five that teachers should follow right now.
1. @ArneDuncan – The Secretary of Education
Teachers have to start somewhere when following important figures on Twitter, and they may as well start with the current United States Secretary of Education. Arne Duncan is the mastermind behind programs like Race to the Top, and his latest travels should be of particular interest to teachers at any level. With a number of key education reforms being developed during President Obama’s second term, this will be an interesting Twitter account to watch. It might even be fun at times!
2. @TeachersNet – The Teachers.Net Webzine
Teachers need websites, too. Luckily, at least one of those websites has its own Twitter account full of useful links to things like worksheets, critical thinking activities, and editorial pieces about the latest developments in the education profession. Teachers.Net operates a really great Twitter account that is updated frequently with the latest information that teachers need most. With nearly 23,000 followers, this Twitter account also seems to have garnered the interest of fellow teachers worldwide.
3. Your High School’s Twitter Account
Aside from the big political names in education, and the major web publications about teaching, there is another key account to follow: The one belonging to your local high school, elementary school, or even school athletic team. Most schools in 2012 have opened up their own Twitter accounts to announce things like sports scores, snow days, charity events, contests, and even pep rallies.
These school-owned Twitter accounts should be a top concern among teachers, not only because of how informative they are, but also because they’re a great way to show a little school spirit on social media websites.
4. @NEAToday – The National Education Association’s Magazine
Virtually every teacher in the country is somehow connected to the National Education Association, so it makes sense to follow this looming teacher’s union on Twitter from the first moment any educator signs up for the service. Far from being a mouthpiece of the union itself, the @NEAToday Twitter account is actually the home of the NEA’s regularly published magazine on teacher issues and educational opportunities.
Because of the unique issues that it chronicles, and its regular updates to content and messages, the National Education Association’s Twitter account should become a staple for American teachers at all levels. It’s a valuable resource throughout the year.
5. The Local Department of Education
Most state Departments of Education do operate their own Twitter profiles, full of information about new state programs, local referendums, and a whole host of other topics that are even more relevant to many teachers than the Twitter account belonging to Arne Duncan. It’s easy to search Google for these local Twitter accounts and, with the click of a single button, it’s easy to make them a key part of the Twitter updates feed.
Great Twitter Accounts for Education Professionals
It would be easy, but not a good idea, to dismiss Twitter a source of wasted time and lost opportunities. With information from major educational sources, however, the site is actually a great way for teachers to develop their skills, enrich their lesson plans, and pursue better strategies for their students. These five accounts are proof of that.
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Tara Booker is a school administrator and guest author at www.besteducationdegrees.com, where she has written about top-rated online education degree programs.