Thoughtful Engagement with Twitter

When I was young, my grandfather would clip articles from The Baltimore Sun and mail them to me at our family’s home in Southeastern Virginia. I remember Orioles’ season preview sections, bios of Colts’ draft picks, and – as I grew older – stories about government, current affairs, and Judaica… each offered its own sweet little reminder that Pop-Pop was thinking about me and wanted to engage in an on-going conversation about ideas and events.

I imagine that many of us have people in our lives who clip newspaper and magazine articles for us – heck, one of my wife’s colleagues sent along a story about our school’s football team just last week!

Within my professional learning network, Twitter has become my on-line home for reading and sharing clips with colleagues and friends. My appreciation for Twitter has evolved in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined a year ago: I’ve come to view Twitter as a key place to ask and answer a pair of powerful essential questions:

“What are you reading?” and “What are you thinking about?”

Twitter is my favorite place to choose the clippings, in the form of links to on-line sources, I’d like to read today – from leading thinkers and colleagues in education whom I’ve added to my professional learning network. Their work is inspiring, and I feel challenged to join the dialogue and participate.

And I still choose to mix in commentary about the Orioles, too.


About Dr. Ostroff

Head of Upper School at The Emery/Weiner School in Houston, TX
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3 Responses to Thoughtful Engagement with Twitter

  1. David Parks says:

    Dave’s right…start small and choose carefully who you follow. I’ve been on Twitter for a few months now and have enjoyed how it keeps me current in the conversation. I follow a few education people and some religious commentators/leaders and have found both extreme helpful.

    At Parish we seem to want to talk about Collaboration, and yet I feel like we often end up doing our own thing and rarely do we talk about our profession with others. I think that’s unfortunate. Twitter is a good way to keep current on research, ideas, or creative ways to bring new ideas to the class.

    Sure it can be overwhelming, but I think it’s worth it.

  2. DaveOstroff says:

    Thanks for your comment, Adam – I hear your reluctance to add “one more thing” to your day…

    … if you are open to it, I’d suggest starting slowly: 1) add a Twitter app to your phone and Twitter to your favorites; 2) develop a list of people to follow (start small and choose carefully!!); and 3) sort folks you follow into lists.

    Also – and this has been IMPORTANT to me – it’s okay to ‘lurk’ on Twitter at first. I read and followed the dialogue at Twitter for several months before I felt as though I was ready to contribute and actually write meaningful tweets myself. I started by re-tweeting stuff that I agreed with, and then, gradually, began to develop a voice: it’s still an on-going process. Checking twitter has become routine: I spend a few minutes each day…

  3. A. Cohen says:

    I like that idea – that Twitter can be a idea exchange of massive proportions. But to be honest, while I seem to adopt new tech rather quickly, I seem somewhat mystified by Twitter. I feel as though the effective learning curve is too steep for me to attempt, and that to try to would only be that “one more thing” that I would do in my day…

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