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A Testimonial for Twitter

September 13, 2012

Like many people, I opened a Twitter account about three years ago and didn’t use it for a long time.  I couldn’t imagine a reason for anyone to follow me or why I would care to hear about what someone ate for breakfast.  Last December, all of that changed.

I attended the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) Annual Conference in Austin and met an inspiring young woman, Deborah Mersino. She has two gifted daughters, was a marketing professional turned work-at-home mom with a passion for Twitter. About a year or so earlier, out of a need to find answers about giftedness and education she put her polished Twitter skills to work and connected hundreds of educators, parents and psychologists across the world through something called #gtchat.*  At the conference, “Gifted 3.0,” Deborah excitedly told us about working with Twitter and the opportunity of finding information and engaging experts using merely 140 characters. Then she held a “live” #gtchat session and attendees gathered around a huge screen with their laptops and iPads where she modeled tweeting.  Wow.

Since December after dusting off my Twitter account, I have been a “tweep” – a user of Twitter. It amazes me how quickly real people with a strong interest find others, including professionals in that field, with whom to connect. They share links to illuminating news stories, resources, and blog sites and there are even hashtags (#) to connect with others around thought-provoking subjects on particular days/times. I follow educators, superintendents, journalists, organizations, other school board members and engaged parents. I also refined that education search into gifted strands that support the social-emotional needs of gifted people and follow psychologists, publishers, TAGT and bloggers specializing in this specific field. Of course, I also like football and follow that on Twitter too.

If you are like me and love learning, exploring and questioning, consider using a Twitter account to connect with people to discuss topics that you care about. At first, just lurk and explore. You’ll soon pick up the lingo and find yourself engaged. I find it intriguing that most breaking news occurs first on Twitter versus the cable networks or other media these days.

If you are a parent in the Coppell ISD, you will want to follow your child’s school principal, teacher(s), classrooms, and @CoppellISD too.  Twitter is a great way to stay connected with school.  There is a Twitter feed on the right side of the home page of CGA website full of insightful articles spotted by @CoppellGifted, the CGA twitter account.  You also are welcome to follow me @Antraasa on Twitter (or like me on Facebook), where my opinions are always my own.

The world is becoming smaller. When you connect with people on Twitter and then meet them in person at a school or conference, you will know them so much better. In this century, relationships are essential and online connectivity is key, but it doesn’t have to be about the meaningless banter. Your children are connecting through social media too. Learn alongside them and model learning for them.

Here are a few links to help get you started:

Nuts and bolts – Getting started on Twitter (via @txgifted)

More on Learning about Twitter (via @jackson_carrie)

List of Educational Chats on Twitter (via @cybrary1man)


* The #gtchat forum was started by Deborah Mersino in 2010; due to a job change, she is no longer able to host #gtchat, and TAGT is now powering this discussion. TAGT is committed to maintaining and preserving the integrity and enthusiasm of #gtchat, with Lisa Conrad serving as the new moderator, @gtchatmod. (via @txgifted)

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