#FollowFriday: Build your PLN

As we move into learning about creating our online presence on Twitter, let’s take some time to see who other educators are recommending as great people to follow as you build your Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Below are some examples of Ontario Educator Twitter Profiles.

What might you want to include in your profile?

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Designing Your Twitter Feed Part 2: Hashtags

At this point, we hope you have had the opportunity to:

  • search Twitter anonymously for topics, hashtags, dates, individuals
  • create your own Twitter account and profile
  • follow others who have similar professional interests
  • follow others who will provide you with rich learning

Please see the list of posts on the right side of this page, or scroll down for the posts if you need to update any of your learning.

Today we are looking at the power of following hashtags on Twitter, a skill that is becoming more important across a number of different social media.

Hashtags allow you to take part in conversations, aggregate groups, follow learning at conferences, follow topics that interest you, and follow/participate in live chats that interest you.

Twitter explains hashtags here if the concept is new to you.

For new Twitter users, #ff or #followfriday is one of the best hashtags to watch for.  Each Friday, Twitter users use this hashtags to suggest people to follow.  This will help you build your online PLN.

From Tom Whitby: My Island View
From Tom Whitby: My Island View

If you are in Ontario, watch for the work done by Doug Peterson.

Click on the image for more explanation of #followfriday #ff
Click on the image for more explanation of #followfriday #ff

You can search for #ff or #followfriday on any day.


Suggested Learning Activities

  1. Together, we have been building a list of favourite hashtags here. Please continue to share hashtags you find that are of interest to you professionally.
  2. Ask your colleagues about the hashtags they follow, or the hashtags being used at learning events that they are attending.  What can you learn by following the hashtag?
  3. For our courses, we use the #OSSEMOOC hashtag.  Are you ready to share a favourite resource or link from your account using this hashtag? Next week we are learning about the anatomy of a Twitter Tweet, so if you feel that you need more support before Tweeting – that is coming!



Creating an Account on Twitter

Today, we are beginning to use Twitter with our own account.

What do we need to think about when creating our online profile?  Luckily, Doug Peterson has already thought about it, and he has shared his thinking with us!

More Than Fixing The Egg

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As well, Tom Whitby has shared on his blog a very simple look at what is important for educators in starting to learn through Twitter.

Thank you to these wonderful educators for making their thinking visible and helping us to learn from their experience.

Last November, OSSEMOOC created some resources to help you learn to sign up for Twitter.  Using this as a guide, please take a few minutes to get your own Twitter account.

Enjoy some further profiles as suggested by @dougpete. What can you learn from these models?

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Using Twitter Anonymously: The Advanced Search

Yesterday we had the opportunity to look at how we can access Twitter anonymously and search for tweets that might interest us, using hashtags or simple searches.  This is very helpful, for example, if you want to follow the learning from a particular conference or learning event.

As you might suspect, the Twitter Search can be much more functional and complex.

By choosing “Advanced Search”, you can really tweak the kind of information you gather on Twitter.

This screencast demonstrates the advanced search for you.

Try a few searches of your own.

1) Do you have a favourite researcher or education leader? Can you find their Twitter handle (account) and search it for what they are tweeting? Some suggestions are Dr. Simon Breakspear, Dr. Andy Hargreaves, Dr. Michael Fullan, Dr. Alec Couros, Dean Shareski, Tanya Avrith, George Couros, Ira Socol, Dr. Tony Wagner, Bill Ferriter, etc.

2) Can you think of a favourite conference that you weren’t able to attend? Can you search for the learning that happened there?

3) What international event can you follow on Twitter based on the location or timing of the event?

Next week we will explore how creating a Twitter account allows you to follow people who are tweeting about things that are interesting to you, or valuable to your professional learning.

Please feel free to respond in the comments if you have questions about this learning.

Learning to Search Anonymously on Twitter

Twitter is like a huge public library of information.  Learning the skills to find the information you need, and to send out the information you want to share to the right audience, are important digital skills.

Today we are learning the very simplest way to access information on Twitter – an anonymous search.  Here is a demonstration of how it is done.

Learning Activities

  1. Try searching for things you are interested in.  Try the different types of searches like top and live.  What happens when you choose Accounts?  There are many interesting people sharing on Twitter.
  2. Some popular education hashtags include #notabookstudy, #mathleadersNEO, #fdk, #onted, #ontedleaders, #ossemooc, #cpchat.  What others can you find? What hashtag gives you information that is of interest to you?
  3. Start building community and collaborating with others in this course.  We have set up a google sheet here to collect your favourite hashtag.  Please visit the site and share an education hashtag you have found.  Several hashtags and lists of hashtags have been shared on this page.  Bookmark it as a resource for further learning.

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The Teacher’s Guide to Twitter


Tom Whitby: Whom Should I Follow on Twitter?

Melissa Roth: Why I Love Twitter in my Classroom

Twitter hashtags to follow (contributions from #ontedleaders)

A Course or a MOOC?

(This lesson is optional.  If you are not interested in learning about the thinking behind this tiny, independent MOOC, please feel free to move on to the next lesson).

This “course” is set up as an asynchronous MOOC. We would like you to think about how this course is different from others you may have “taken”.

Sometimes teams or groups of educators work through this course together so that they can share their learning.


This course is a tiny MOOC.  What does that mean?  We think Dave Cormier explains it really well.  For the full video, check out our OSSEMOOC site here.  For more information on kinds of MOOCs, an explanation can be found here.

Please click on the title (Twitter for Absolute Beginners) to go back to the list of “lessons”.

Course Overview


Twitter for Absolute Beginners is a MOOC-style course.

It is set up so that you can work on it for about 10 minutes each day, or, work through it at a faster pace if you like.

Learning opportunities have been organized for you.  Please take advantage of all of the opportunities you can.  Invite colleagues to share the learning materials and conversations. Everything is open.

Please feel free to leave comments on this blog at any time.

Course Overview:

Week 1: Using Twitter as a Library: How to Access Information (no Twitter account required)

Week 2: Creating a Twitter Account: How to Create a Positive Professional Online Presence on Twitter

Week 3: The Anatomy of a Tweet: Understanding the Language of Twitter

Click on the title “Twitter for Absolute Beginners” to go back to the list of “lessons”.

What’s Your Next?

Now that you have worked for three weeks, learning how to use Twitter as a library, and how to create your online identity on Twitter, how will you use it to leverage your professional learning?

OSSEMOOC is creating a stand-alone mini-MOOC with a few cohorts going through the activities together.

Twitter for Self-Directed Professional Learning starts on October 19.  Please feel free to work through the course with us. Register here for updates via email or follow the blog to get regular updates in your email stream.

Another next step might be to follow the OSSEMOOC 30 days to getting connected (right margin of the website), particularly the lessons on how to use Twitter as a curation tool.

Finding Twitter Chats

Twitter Chats are where so much of our education learning can be found on Twitter.  But how do we find a Twitter chat that interests us?

There are literally hundreds of Twitter chats online.  A group of generous educators has created a list of chats that is organized by time.  You can find it here.

A sample of the chats this evening looks like this.

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If you are new to Twitter chats, you might feel more comfortable just watching a chat and learning how the questions are posted (often in a Google Doc or image at the beginning of the chat, and in Tweets using Q1, Q2, etc.)

For example, here is Q5 from #onedchat:

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When answering a Twitter Chat Question, we use A1, A2, A3 – depending on the question number.  Here is an example of A5 from #onedchat.

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Activity for learning:

Find a chat related to your interests in education.  Make it a habit to follow the tweets.  When you feel comfortable, contribute to the chat by answering one of the questions.  Remember to use the proper Twitter chat conventions – the chat hashtag (e.g., #onedchat), and  “A” with the number of the question you are responding to.  This is a great way to build your PLN as you converse online about a topic that is of interest to you.


Peeking Inside a Twitter Chat

Best Chats for Teachers in 2015



Retweeting Value-Added to Your PLN

Today we are looking at how to use the “retweet” feature in Twitter to help share valuable resources and ideas with the people in your Professional Learning Network.

The ideas are explained in this screencast.


Activities for Learning

  1. Find a tweet in your Twitter stream that looks like it would be valuable to others.  Check out what it offers.  If you find it valuable, retweet it to your followers, adding your own appropriate hashtags and tagging others [only] if it will be of particular value to them.