Go with the flow! Engaging students and parents....carefully....through Twitter!
It's a GREAT way to get information out to many different people at one time. It is not appropriate for my K-5 students though since we do not want to expose them to the vast, sometimes inappropriate, environment that is Twitter. However, if you want instant access to loads of information that is pertinent to you (in my case, educational technology, library science, literary information, etc.), it is amazing. Best of all, I can send this information out to all interested teachers and parents (and students through their parents) and I make sure the information is current, relevant, and pertinent. I can see how this would be a much better teaching and collaboration tool in upper grades and college by using hashtags to organize discussions. But for me, taking in and pushing out info is what I use Twitter for and it is extremely effective.
How I Use It
So, this using Twitter is something new to me but something that we're trying to expand use in of in our school and district. It's definitely not appropriate for my population of students to post online via Twitter (Elementary aged students). However, since so many of my parents and teachers use Twitter, I set-up an account for me to communicate different pieces of info to all my teachers, parents, and students. So far the response has been very positive!
I tweet new book ideas, new articles about educational technology, ideas for the classroom, different ed tech events and PD opportunities, current news on my library, book fair information, school specific information (including talking about the school website which I administer), etc. It's a quick,easy way to get information out to many different audiences at one time.
Is it a wonderful technology tool for my students? Not really. But it is a wonderful conduit for information and for collaboration among my peers (in my field or outside of it).