Twitter is … a “Self Paced Research/Learning Tool”. Follow These Smart and Savvy Folks and Learn Every Day!
It has never been easier to tap into knowledgeable experts in many fields who are more than happy to share what they know.
Being consistently exposed to ideas and insights from educators, technologists, innovators, leaders, and passionate professionals via social media can be a fount of inspiration, a spark for creativity, an eye-opener, or a pleasant distraction when needed.
Without spending a lot of time, one can easily tap into an endless well of expertise, thought, curiosity, and humor on Twitter, Facebook (yes, Facebook can offer more than self-indulgence and animals doing silly things), Pinterest, Google+, blog feeds, and even email-based tools like Google Alerts.
Twitter is a bit of a favorite because it is so concise – you either get my attention in 140 characters or less, and maybe a picture, or you don't.
My favorite Twitter users are a real mixed bag of experts from various walks of life that all pretty much fit into the context of my focus on emerging education technologies (plus a few steps off of that beaten path). Below I share a baker's dozen of favorites frequent tweeters whom I appreciate very much and imagine that you might also find worthy of your attention, depending on your interests!
- TeachThought (@TeachThought): My friend David Mahaley, admired Head Administrator at the the Franklin Academy in North Carolina, founder of the Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference, and author of several excellent books on using the iPad in the instructional context, introduced me to Terry Heick and his brilliant work with TeachThought in 2013. I've been a huge admirer ever since. Terry and his colleagues at TeachThought bring illumination to the concept of self-directed learning and “the need to evaluate existing content and curriculum in light of modern knowledge demands” every day. Every educator who is following TeachThought is giving themselves and their students a leg up!
- Bryan Alexander (@BryanAlexander): Bryan's monthly Future Trends in Technology and Education report is packed with tasty nuggets of insights about the evolving state of education and technology, delivered in an efficient manner. He regularly shares thought provoking content and questions on Twitter and Facebook.
- Singularity Hub (@): I have been so enjoying the content from this group this year. They are really thinking about the possibilities for emerging technologies and opening eyes to the possibilities ahead of us. Singularity Hub regularly publishes content exploring all manner of forward looking science, from think-tank level informed writers and experts. The Hub is associated with Singularity University, a “benefit corporation that provides educational programs, innovative partnerships and a startup accelerator to help individuals, businesses, institutions, investors, NGOs and governments understand cutting-edge technologies, and how to utilize these technologies”.
- Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo): Larry is a student motivation guru, IHMO. In addition to his writings on his blog, he has written lots of great books about motivating students and other educational topics. He is also a contributor on EdWeek, Edutopia, the New York Times, and other respected publications. I really admire his perspective and his work.
- Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar): Vala is the “Chief Digital Evangelist” at Salesforce.com these days, having occupied the role of Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme Networks until recently. He is also one half of the dynamic duo behind CXOTalk. It has been my huge privilege to be included in his annual lists of Top Social CIOs published in the Huffington Post for several years running now. This was also how I became familiar with his work. No one has a knack for creating and formatting short lists as posts on Twitter like Vala – he is a master of the medium, and I appreciate so much of what he shares. Here's a great example:
- Stephen diFilipo (@S_dF): I first became acquainted with Stephen and his work when we were interviewed on CXOTalk along with Phil Kormany, after having been in the top 3 spots on Vala Afshar's listing of Top Social CIOs in Higher Education in 2013. As Stephen's Twitter profile indicates, he is a “Tech Thought Leader~Early Adopter~Change Agent~Provocateur” and more, and he regularly posts solid content. If Stephen suggests that something is a good read, I'm going to check it out.
- Scott McLeod (@mcloed): Scott runs the wittily named site DangerouslyIrrelevant blog, which was one of the first good education and technology bloggers I started to follow back when I founded EmergingEdTech in 2009. Not surprisingly, his Tweets often share the same irreverent wit that he demonstrates on his blog, and he frequently shares click-worthy content in line with his self-identified status as … “Idea generator. Solution builder. Agitator. Catalyst.”.
- Don Tapscott (@): Don delivered a really fun and informative keynote at one of the annual SIM-sponsored CIO Summits I attend in Fairfield each year and I have been paying attention to him ever since. He co-authored Wikinomics long ago and has written many excellent books since, on technology and its relationship to society, economics, and much more. I love his open minded perspective and respect his clear, informed vision. He doesn't post a lot (and some of it is more personal that professional), but when he does post, I pay attention.
- Steven W. Anderson, a.k.a. Web20Classroom (@Web20Classroom): Steven reminds us frequently to “Be Awesome Today”, and manages to be pretty darned awesome himself. He is an education and technology advocate and author, and his larger than life persona is matched by his enthusiasm and knowledge. I just published this interview with him, which provides ideas, insights, and inspiration for educators of all stripes. Check it out and I think you'll see right away why I recommend following Steven.
- Jon Bergmann (@jonbergmann): I am a big admirer of Jon and his colleague Aaron Sams, for their work in advocating for the flipped classroom. These gentlemen have helped to start a grassroots movement that I believe is one of several catalysts that truly are impacting the very nature of what it means to teach and learn in the 21st century. Jon posts lots of great flipped classroom related content.
- Kasey Bell (@ShakeUpLearning): I made Kasey's acquaintance briefly via the Teaching and Learning with the iPad 2014 conference, where she presented regarding using Google on the iPad, and wrote this article about the topic for this site. I have been impressed with her drive and the good content she regularly shares. She focused on Google Apps for Education, and recently published a book on the topic, the Teacher's Guide to Google Classroom eBook.
- Jeff Herb (@jeffherb): Jeff is a Middle School Principal and the founder of Instructional Tech Talk and does the “Ed Tech to Know” podcast. Jeff's work has really caught my attention recently. He regularly posts interesting content that is often well in line with my focus on education and technology.
- Phil Komarny (@PhilKomarny): Phil is the smart man who made that tweet I used to start this post off! Phil moved from a CIO in higher education to CEO of the development company Robots and Pencils, and he has understood the power of mobile, and Twitter, and so much else about tech better than many, for years. Lots of great tech content coming from Phil on Twitter!
- Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee): Gary is a social media magnate, animal, genius, jabber, … call him what you will, but if you want to better understand how to use social and digital media as a promotional means, you need to pay some attention to “Gary Vee”. He ‘got it' long ago and used YouTube and digital savvy to turn Wine Library into a hit and then snowball that into his incredibly successful VaynerMedia. Social media and marketing genius. He's fun too, a real New Yorker (and I have no doubt he will own the Jets someday, per his stated intention!).
So how about you? Who are some of your faves to follow? Who do you find shares a good amount of content that you find informative and fun?