Twitter in the classroom…

A group of Jina’s Year 4 students sit on the floor and I show them Twitter. She is fairly new to Twitter herself, so I love that she has set up a class account and is keen to get them started, especially as this is the first class Twitter account in our school.

For now, the account can only be accessed if the teacher logs in. She plans to keep it logged in in the classroom, so that students can share their learning and gather data via their questions. Several articles in the past few weeks have covered dozens of ways to use Twitter for learning and we need to start somewhere to see where this takes us.

I start with a brief explanation of how it works and its purpose, then show them some Twitter streams from classes at other schools to give them a better idea. I had planned to have them practice expressing their thoughts in 140 characters first, but it turns out to be unnecessary. I model a couple of tweets with their input and, within a few minutes, we have a volunteer up at the board, typing a tweet about their Skype experience the day before.

To my surprise, the rest of the group spontaneously supports the Tweeter, with spelling and punctuation corrections as well as suggestions for content. There is some discussion about what aspects of the Skype experience to include and a few questions, most of which they answer themselves simply by watching. They quickly head to their seats to compile some tweets of their own about other learning experiences in the past few days.

Frankly, I’m amazed at how many skills are being applied here! These 9 year-olds are quite spontaneously…

  • Writing for an authentic audience.
  • Communicating with purpose.
  • Reflecting on their learning.
  • Making choices about what to share.
  • Distilling the essence of each learning experience.
  • Expressing themselves concisely.
  • Applying their knowledge of spelling and punctuation.

I tweet from my own account for people to say hi from other countries and they receive responses from all over the world.

It’s the end of the day and they miss most of them as they rush off to pack up and go home. We have a few days off school, but I’m sure next week Jina will follow up and have them respond to the global tweets. It would be great if they spent some time looking up the places on the map.

It’s just the beginning…

19 thoughts on “Twitter in the classroom…

  1. Exciting days of learning that took place in our class. Hope to show children how far we can extend our learning via Twitter.
    All input much appreciated.

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  2. Last year my Kindergarten class set up a Twitter account with @tori1074 class in America. We had a ball. The children arrived every morning wanting to see if they had received a tweet overnight. We shared so much together including audiboo recordings of dialogues and songs. This connection was arranged through a program called Kindergarten Around the World. Here is the link http://www.kinderchat123.net/2011/10/kindergarten-around-world-2011-12.html
    Thanks for sharing about your experiences here. I am eager to explore using Twitter with the Year 6 class I currently teach. You’ve inspired me again :)

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  3. Hi, great read! I have just been given the go-ahead by the powers that be at my school to get tweeting in my classroom. I have the account ready to go but would love to co-ordinate and collaborate ideas and share learning with other classrooms.
    Our class twitter name is Year6_ISM, could we connect with you?

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  4. I have been wanting to use an approach like this to manage student-teacher q&a during workshop time in a middle school writing class.

    My classroom challenge: Many of the tricks and skills I teach the kids (for revising, how to write a good concluding sentence, what to do if you’re stuck, etc.) come about as answers to individual questions. The normal way to make sure everyone benefits from the answer is for me to broadcast the answer to the whole class — but to talk aloud, asking everyone to listen, is a real distraction, potentially interrupting a student’s own workflow. My thought was to just give the individual answer, but create a venue where the students curate all the answers and view them later as a flipped lesson. Students then participate in the teaching, by recording the answers, and can also post questions while waiting for me to get to them, and students have a record of all we learned in the previous day’s work.

    What resource to use? Twitter would work for this, and I like how the 140 characters challenges students to be concise — but I thought I would have to use Edline’s discussion option, because I try to avoid having kids use forums outside our firewall. Reading your approach using Twitter, I like the levels of control you seem to be able to keep, so that students aren’t creating individual accounts and aren’t posting at all hours.

    So I am clear, can you answer? Did you create a single Twitter account for the class, and all students post using that one account (not individual accounts). It is a protected account, so public tweeters have to be approved by you, in order to follow? You then also interact with the outside world using your personal account, sometimes mentioning the class account? I’m interested to hear more insights, as your approach is certainly inspiring.

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    1. Your ideas sound amazing, Elissa!
      We are a year 4 class.I have created one account and Children don’t have the password (yet?). We have fire walls on children’s computers – so we can only log on to Twitter on my computer. It’s a brilliant idea to interact with pupils and clarify answers to each one – but will they each have their own accounts? Will they follow one another? If so, they will see the Tweets that each one posts. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Edline may help with this.
      Best of luck with your journey.

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  5. I just started this myself and, like you, have the first twitter account in the school. Can we connect with you? We are a multi-grade high school class using Scholastic’s READ180 program. Our account is: @Read180MJP and we’re in Oshawa Ontario Canada.

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  6. Great post! I’m a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. I’ve visited your blog before and will be summarizing my visits to your blog on my blog for my EDM310 class. One of the concepts that we cover in class is the use of Twitter in the classroom and, honestly, I’ve always been skeptical. However, the fact that only the teacher can access the account and that students can only post when they are in the classroom puts my mind at ease. I love that the children get to interact with people from around the world and I think that Twitter is a great tool to get children excited about learning and sharing information.

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