Sunday, February 12, 2012

Twitter in the class?

Hey little spider, what do you think?
Will Twitter in the class push the teacher to the brink?
Baby steps are the way I tend to move,
Before the rest of the school can catch up to my groove.

So I am fairly comfortable with Twitter, though it is mostly to gather and find things. I have retweeted a few times, but do not seem to post that much outright. I am just not ready to put all my thoughts and ideas "out there." If I wanted to, I could tweet my posts for this blog - that would get people looking. But . . . I am just not ready for it!

What about in the classroom - how and why should we be using Twitter?

In How to use Twitter in the classroom, Nancy Messieh points out many uses for Twitter in the classroom including:
  • connect students using hashtags
  • sending assignment reminders
  • creating scavenger hunts
While I can see many of these applications useful in secondary school, I think things are a bit more difficult when dealing with elementary students who do not have their own Twitter accounts.  However, Twitter can still be a useful way of connecting teachers and parents.  Additionally, class Twitter accounts can function to allow students to share with a greater audience.

Kist (2010) sees the benefits in using Twitter to help students engage in new literacies, examining the benefits and constraints of limiting one's writing to 140 characters (p. 42) Here is a Twitter Story Competition created by a teacher that does just that. Preparing them for the reality of this type of communication and guiding students to do it effectively will serve them well as they move along in life.

Here are some other fantastic ways to use Twitter in the classroom:

Given that I am not currently a classroom teacher, but rather a teacher-librarian, I think I will continue to urge the teachers at my school to embrace Twitter to enhance their PLNs. Once they are comfortable with this, perhaps I can gently move them into an arena where their classes are using Twitter in a constructive way as well.

Kist, W. (2010). The socially networked classroom: teaching in the new media age. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.

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