Monday, April 14, 2008

tt4t_033 Twittering and Free Technology

It’s Monday, April 14th, 2008 and welcome to episode 33 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. Last week I introduced you to twitter. If you have not yet visited my twitter site I invite you to take a look to see how this service is working out for me. My account can be found at and a link is provided in the show notes. After two weeks of using Twitter I have been encouraged by my new extended family. The twitter postings are offering me a different perspective than my usual circuit of friends. I am still working out how many followers I want to follow as you can quickly become overwhelmed by this service. I am also working out the balance of meeting new friends versus gaining valuable information from fellow twitter-ers, if that is a word.

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I have offered my students the chance to follow my twitter account now that class is over to see what I am up to. If they so choose to get a twitter account we can keep up with each other and we can help each other out in the future. Another nice thing about Twitter is that you do not need an account if you do not want to make postings, you can simply type in the twitter address of a person and see what they are up to. I am always looking for new ways to extend the walls of the classroom and having practicing teachers and administrators as fellow twitter followers should help keep our classroom teachings real and practical.

Finding a balance is going to the hardest part of using twitter. I am not really into how many people follow me but rather the quality of the postings I get from the people I follow. My goal is that the people I follow share a common interest of improving the teaching and learning process via the use of technology. Having real world contacts will be helpful as part of my twitter network. I already find myself wanting to have multiple twitter accounts to keep my personal life separate from my professional life but in practice this is not really an option for me as I barely have time to manage one account. I am trying to use my twitter account for professional use and trying to keep out the noise that this service can quickly degenerate into if you are not careful. I see others commenting that they are getting addicted to twitter, some seem to share every aspect of their lives, while others are more selective in their postings.

I am sure that my twitter account will ebb and flow as I incorporate it into the different classes I teach. I would like to ask the audience if there is anyone out there using twitter with their classes? If so how much success are you finding with this approach? I work in both the K-12 and higher education worlds so there are differences in how teachers are using twitter. I invite you to leave a comment in the TechTalk4Teachers blog to share your experiences with twitter so that others can learn more about valuable uses for this service.

Tom's Technology Pick of the Week
My Technology Pick of the Week this week has to do with free technologies that are available to teachers. My pick this week comes from my twitter network. Many schools are facing hard times and budgets are being cut to the bone. School funding for technology is getting more scarce but that is no excuse for creative teachers that have learned how to take advantage of free tools. My Technology Pick of the Week this week is a blog site called freetech4teachers and a link is available in the show notes. This site is maintained by a high school teacher from Maine and features many free technologies useful to teachers. I encourage you to check it out at:

a link is available in the show notes.

That wraps it up for episode 33 of TechTalk4Teachers. Show notes for this episode along with archived versions of previous shows are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at just click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you would like to send your comments or suggestions to improve this podcast please send an email to Until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.


Mr. Byrne said...

Thanks for mentioning Free Tech 4 Teachers. I'm glad you've found it useful.

Richard Byrne

TechTalk4Teachers said...

Mr. Byrne,

You are welcome and keep up the good work on the freetech4teachers website. So many tools out there and so little time to investigate them all. Did you checkout the Web 2.0 directory mentioned in Episode 16 of TechTalk4Teachers? That will keep everyone busy for a while ;)