The iPad and Twitter

We are all learning together. If you have a problem, your PLN (Personal Learning Network) may be able to solve it. If you are struggling for ideas, there are people to ask. The iPad and twitter make the process easier.

Learning has always been based on exposure to new stimuli, research and communication. Ideas are formulated through external opinion, reflection and conclusion. The availability of these components lead to increased productivity and informed decisions. The iPad and twitter make the process easier.

Some applications for the iPad are dedicated to productivity and have challenged existing working practice. Evernote now acts as a mobile filing cabinet, Dropbox is an always available store of resources and WordPress a site for reflection and feedback. There are many blogs referencing the use of these apps and their widespread appeal points to their effectiveness. However, on their own, they would not be as useful without the aid of twitter.

I, like many others, signed up to twitter as it seemed the pertinent thing to do. I followed a few people, read some tweets and decided it didn’t hold much for me.
Problem number one, I was following the wrong people.
I posted a couple of tweets and had no response.
Problem number two, I had no followers. So I left it.

If I’m honest, I didn’t understand and didn’t make the effort to try. Twitter was for celebrity and of no use. Then, last Christmas with iPad in hand, I decided to tweet to a fellow PE teacher (@MrWickensPE) to ask if there was something I was missing. He suggested I followed the hashtag #ukedchat and see what people were tweeting about. Epiphany time!

For twitter to work you need to follow the right people. As an educator I needed to follow those who contributed to #ukedchat and there I found items of interest (@ICTEvangelist). Not only was it interesting to read the 140 character snippets but also the links that were posted. I was introduced to a range of teaching discussion that stimulated thought. There were blogposts that led to conversations in the staff room and links that could be passed on to colleagues.

As I became more comfortable with the etiquette of twitter I became more involved. Replying to the occasional tweet and posting a link prompted communication and the decision to blog. This is where the iPad came into its own. A mobile interface that allowed access to my resources, with an excellent view of posted links and interactions, meant twitter became part of the daily routine. It happened to coincide with the start of an iPad trial in school and increased confidence that the device should be introduced into the classroom. Sure the research could have been conducted on my desktop, the iPad and twitter simply made it easier and more productive.

Only yesterday a twitter conversation between myself and David Didau, about his superb blog, led to Andy Knill suggesting some tips to help me coupled with a link to his blog. This led to a conversation this morning with a colleague that led to us both feeling much more comfortable with an iPad idea we have been mulling over.

There is no doubt that twitter has changed my approach to learning and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for new ideas and conversation. The iPad has simply made the use of twitter and subsequent workflow manageable.

All thoughts welcome.

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About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK (stephenperse.com). Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

19 Responses to The iPad and Twitter

  1. I too was a reluctant Twitter user and have gone through periods of time where I ignore it. One app that really helped me to stick with it was Flipboard for the iPad. I hate to sound like an advertisement (I have nothing to to do with the company at all), but Flipboard really makes following Twitter easy. We have used it as a tool to encourage some of our more reluctant teachers to at least start following topics and people inTwitter and it has really helped.

    Great blog, by the way. I have enjoyed reading your posts.

    • syded says:

      Much appreciated. I completely agree with Flipboard and the following of twitter lists in particular. I’ll pop it on the app list again. Cheers

  2. True. Twitter has rocked my teaching world. Having a network of colleagues who are as geeky as I am about teaching & learning is a marvellous thing. God bless you Twitter.

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  4. Being a new Twitter user – I thought I would give it a try at a tech conference in Hong Kong earlier this year. My first attempt was to get on the twitter stream during a keynote and seeing the tweets – had found great people to follow – and got a following, all in that hour! It is all in who you follow!

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  12. Corinne says:

    I had a similar journey and I agree with you about the iPad. There is no way I would want to sit at my computer, behind a desk and browse my twitter feed, but having a mobile device where I can browse on the couch in front of the telly, or at the kitchen table while I’m eating my breakfast makes it accessible. Much like reading a newspaper or magazine.

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