Twitter in class everyday

In some ways I have become a little too known for being negative about educational technology.  However, I do use technology in my classes.  Last year I had my students using twitter regularly.  Rather than making twitter a “special” project, I tried to infuse twitter with class.  Below is a quick description of one way I used twitter.  This is from a comment I left for Mr. Gonzalez on his post about his goals for students:

I like your willingness to “trying anything new”.  I am much the same way, but sometimes struggle with when to stop tinkering and just give something up.  I’ll be interested in what you do with twitter.  I had my students using it last year.  We did some brainstorming, asking questions and test review.
A lot of times I would have students discuss with a partner, then together post something to twitter and comment on what others were saying. After a few minutes we would come together as a class to discuss “inside” the classroom.  I found that having kids first discuss their ideas with a partner helped them find clarity in their thinking.  Then when they shared on twitter they could see what others were saying in different groups.  The whole time I could walk around the room listening while watching my twitter stream on my phone to monitor student thinking.  Once class discussion started I used twitter as a way to generate new directions in our discussion.  Perhaps most beneficial is how twitter provided a voice to students who were unwilling to verbally participate in class discussion.
What are some ways you have or intend to use twitter (or other social messaging services) in your classes?
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4 Responses to Twitter in class everyday

  1. That is a cool idea. It’s so true about discussion helping to find clarity in ideas. They will need it with a 140 character limit.

    I used Twitter two school years ago when I taught 1st graders. I say I, but it was 90% student use. Each student would post once a week about something we were doing in class. It ended up being about 4 -5 posts per day. Some of the spelling made it a little hard to read at times, but they loved it.

    The problem was that no parents in my class had any idea of what Twitter was. So, I put the update widget on our class website. The class website was then officially blocked by my school’s filter. It actually wasn’t a great experience. :)

    I made a Facebook fan page this year along with a class blog (that will hopefully not get blocked by the filter next year). The parents were very receptive to the Facebook page. It is nice because it met them where they are, and did not add one more place they had to go visit.

    I am exploring Edmodo this summer to see if it is something I can use with my 4th graders this upcoming year.

    – @newfirewithin

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  2. jerridkruse says:

    Justin, I can definitely relate to the issue of filters. I wrote a guest post a while back for ISTE about the issue. It has some links to some others who have lamented the same issue:

    http://www.isteconnects.org/2010/05/05/web-filters-filtering-learning/

    I used edmodo last year to scaffold toward twitter. Using edmodo i was able to safely prepare students for how to behave online. Then, once they had the hang of edmodo, we went to twitter. So i think you will like edmodo.

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  3. In response to your comment, Jerrid, I give up tinkering if it flops with the kids. Basically I let kids try new Web 2.0 tools that I find. The ones that get used are the ones I continue to share with kids and use with kids.

    Thanks for the ideas for using Twitter in the class. I was thinking of using it along the same lines you used it. I’m also intrigued by your Edmodo idea. I wonder if I too should start with Edmodo or just jump into Twitter?

    I get very excited about giving voice to those students who rarely participate in class discussions. I did try using a Moodle chat with two of my classes last year for discussing our new topic, but with only ten computers students had to work in teams of two and three so there were still some who took a back seat. Fewer were taking back seats but still there were some so I’m excited for having a more access next year.

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  4. Have my students blog their essays has allowed exposure that many would not have had previously. All students are sharing their writing, not just the ones who have the guts to read it to the class. All students are reading others’ work and commenting on it. It’s opened up a new confidence and interest in writing for many of my students.

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