Tweeting in Schools

Tweeting in Schools
Posted on 01/15/2015

Tweeting in Schools

In 2011, I wrote an article for the American Association of School Administrators about how I was using Twitter in Cadott. Technology has continued to change since then, and the use of social media has become more common in schools. Despite its growing popularity, Twitter is only one of the many ways that the school district communicates with stakeholders in our school district. Below is an updated excerpt of the information included in my article.

Those not familiar with the uses of Twitter may think that the social networking tool is mostly used for finding out where the latest celebrity is going out for the night, when a famous athlete will be arriving at the stadium, or when a high school-aged student is going to bed. It can be concerning to a school board, staff, parents and community members when they hear that the local school district has started communicating via Twitter. The use of Twitter has taken off this year in the Menomonie Area School District, and nearly 350 people are now following the school district’s Twitter account.

Twitter as a Communication Tool - Who follows you?

Twitter provides a quick and easy way for people to share information. With a few taps on a smart phone or keystrokes on a computer, a school administrator is able to inform followers when inclement weather has required the cancellation of school. When a reminder for the upcoming parent/teacher conferences is desired, a simple tweet is quite effective. When a teacher would like to inform students and parents about an upcoming test and share a link to a review document, using Twitter can be a great option.

Although Twitter limits user posts to 140 characters, those who have mastered the art of tweeting have figured out how easy and effective it is to simply tweet a link to other digital content such as a blog, podcast, picture, video clip, or some other piece of web content. It is much easier for community members to receive a tweet that contains a link to the newest edition of the school district’s online newsletter than it is for them to remember to check the school district’s website and navigate to the link.

Retweeting is a very efficient way to pass on useful information to the user's followers. When a user comes across a tweet, and desires to share it with the people who follow them, a simple click of the retweet button will post that tweet on that user’s Twitter feed.

Twitter as a Resource Tool - Who do you follow?

As more organizations use Twitter, the number of people who are tweeting and the amount of information available continues to grow exponentially. The real challenge for Twitter and other web applications is how all of this available information is organized and available. Twitter allows users to execute a global search for particular people, subjects and trends, but the real usefulness of Twitter is that, once the account is set up, information can be found without searching. 

By allowing users to decide which accounts to follow, Twitter gives users the opportunity to filter information to only that of a particular interest. Other than some promoted tweets, only information the accounts that are followed will be listed in that individual’s twitter feed. As a school administrator, I find it beneficial to follow local news outlets, experts in the field of education, professional educational organizations, and other educators. It is simple to follow and unfollow particular users, so managing the information that one sees on a regular basis can be easy.

Twitter has additional features that allow for further organization of the information. Depending on the purpose for acquiring information, a user could either view the entire feed of accounts being followed, or just a specific group of accounts that have been set up in a list. Users can have multiple lists, which allows someone to categorize specific accounts. A school administrator could have one list strictly for news outlets, one list for curriculum issues, one for politics, one for personal interests (like the Packers), etc.

Twitter as a Resource Tool - What do you follow?

Aside from following particular lists, Twitter users use tags that allow anyone to follow specific subjects. (In Twitter a subject can be tagged by preceding the subject with the pound symbol (#).) This is helpful for situations when information about a subject is desired. By following particular threads that have been #hashtaged, a user can follow or participate in a type of open forum on the issue. This can be an easy way to pose a question to a potentially large group of people interested in the same subject matter, which can be an excellent resource for educators. Examples of some potentially useful hashtags related to education are: #education, #edtech, and #wischat. 

Twitter as a Resource Tool - How do you access Twitter?

It is imperative that educational leaders stay current with news and trends, communicate well with the public, and develop a network of colleagues to collaborate with and have as resources.  Using Twitter is one way to accomplish these goals both efficiently and effectively. Twitter has the potential to be a terrific resource tool for administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members.

Should school stakeholders have any questions about our school district, I invite you to visit the ASC or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter ( My personal Twitter account can be found at: .