Teachers Shares Ideas Through Twitter

For that last 10 days, the Union R-XI community has been tweeting up a storm.

Last week the district teachers, administrators, secretaries and staff took to Twitter to take part in the #UrxiChallenge, a campaign to promote district pride and help teachers brainstorm ideas through social media.

The campaign, organized by district technology instructors Amy Hall and Taylor Tholen to promote educational tweeting in the district, kicked off Monday, Nov. 6, and will conclude Wednesday, Nov. 15. Using the #UrxiChallenge hashtag, participants posted a different type of tweet for each day, ranging from interesting use of the district-assigned Chromebooks to teachers’ “must use” educational websites.

Tholen said the campaign is an opportunity for the district’s community to interact on a different platform and share educational information.

“As a teacher it’s not always easy to share ideas and collaborate outside of a structured meeting, and it’s definitely not easy to do outside of your building. Those opportunities don’t come up often,” Tholen said. “That’s the great thing about social media, you get to break down those walls.”

Throughout the 10-day span administrators, faculty and staff at Union shared their goings-on on Twitter through the hashtag. Tweets included pictures from inside the classroom, helpful education websites, ways the district-assigned Chromebooks are being used and more.

Tholen said in the everyday grind it is often difficult for teachers to slow down and bounce ideas off of each other. He said, through the challenge, teachers may have a better chance to interact.

The idea for the 10-day challenge came from a professional development day when Tholen and Hall held a session on educational tweeting. The challenge was a way for teachers and staff who attended the session to apply what they learned.

“We wanted to do something to help those who attended our sessions use the lessons they learned,” Tholen said. “If you say here’s 10 things to tweet about it’s a little less intimidating.”

Hall and Tholen said teachers, administrators and secretaries from every district building participated in the challenge. Tholen said some teachers from different school districts have also used the idea of the challenge at their schools.

Part of the two instructors job is to help the district as it transitions into a more technology-focused curriculum. Hall said social media is one way that transition can be made easier.

“We’re all trying to help each other out and this is a way for everyone to do that,” Hall said.