Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Twitter

January5

By now, everyone has heard of Twitter. And many of you are thinking that’s just one more thing for me to manage… and who has time for it? And isn’t it really more for socializing anyway?

Lots of people have blogged about the stages of Twitter acceptance. The number of steps vary, but they all begin with “This sounds dumb and a complete waste of time.” and end with ย “How did I ever live without this?” Twitter is like anything: once you find its usefulness, it becomes a tool.

I, too, was not sold on Twitter when it was first introduced to me in June 2008. It was summer, and I convinced a few friends to try it out with me. Nothing earth shattering happened. Just some social exchanges. Then, I decided to set up a separate account for work to be able to share with colleagues. Unfortunately, a lot of us were in the ย first stage of Twitter acceptance and didn’t update regularly. Feeling a little lonely and not wanting to give up on its potential, I then did a search and found a wiki where I could add my name as an educational tweeter. I decided to take a chance and follow several people who were listed on the wiki. (I think I went from following ten people to sixty in a matter of twenty four hours.) I then started clicking on the links that these people were sharing on Twitter. I read blog posts, liked what I read and started to follow more people based on recommendations of others. A year later, my PLN (Personal Learning Network) continues to grow. And I do learn something new everyday and make connections/collaborations that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Even when I’m pressed for time, just scanning the tweets from my PLN gets me thinking. TweetDeck loads automatically when I log into my computer, so I have made it a ritual to check my email and Twitter first thing each day. Twitter is the place where I share and get my next great idea.

This school year, a few classrooms at Abbot started Twitter accounts to try to replace the traditional classroom newsletter. Essentially, tweeting is a classroom job. The account is protected, and parents request to follow. The students are enthusiastic about reporting what’s going on in their classrooms, and they are gaining quite the level of independence about what is good, safe tweeting etiquette. Like anything, the tricky part is getting people to follow us. The parents who do participate have reported that they love it.

Twitter is just one of those things that you have to experience to appreciate. I dare you to give it a shot and follow me in 2010!

Some resources:

Twitter Frequently Asked Questions

Article from School Library Journal

K-3 Teachers Guide to Twitter

Twitter Handbook for Teachers

Twitter for Teachers Wiki

Tweachers

How to Use Twitter in the Classroom

10 Comments to

“Twitter”

  1. January 5th, 2010 at 8:17 pm       msguild Says:

    When I was first asked to join Twitter, I was very hesitant, I had no idea what it was or why I should join. I saw it as one more thing to do during the day and one more password to remember! However, I have to say that as I’ve used it more and more, it has become extremely valuable. I love when I come across a link that someone has posted that can either help me in my teaching or makes me laugh after a long day. =)
    And I just have to say that TweetDeck has made Twitter even easier to use! Love it!!


  2. January 5th, 2010 at 8:22 pm       Stacey Mulholland Says:

    Every week we rotate class blogger. At the end of the day the blogger writes a quick message about what we did that day or something interesting that happened. Before we began, we talked about what topics would and would not be appropriate to mention. We also discussed how we don’t use specific student’s names. I haven’t had any issue of students typing something not appropriate down. At the end of the year I am going to compile a list of our blogs as a memory for the kids of all we did. About half of my families follow our blog.


  3. January 6th, 2010 at 12:42 am       Donna Breen Says:

    I use Twitter as a way to communicate with parents on happenings in our classroom. Each week I rotate groups and give each one responsibility for tweeting about a curriculum subject. The students are very good at summarizing what we are doing in class and they enjoy writing these short blurbs. I think parents appreciate getting shorter, but more frequent information than in a newsletter. It also provides me a chance to send a quick reminder for an upcoming test, project or field trip date. About half of my parents are following.


  4. January 6th, 2010 at 10:08 am       lsanderson Says:

    Thanks so much for being BRAVE and trying out Twitter! ๐Ÿ™‚

    TweetDeck was a good find for using with students. We can really narrow it down, so they focus on the tweet and not all the other distractions (hashtags) that appear on the side of the website itself.


  5. January 6th, 2010 at 10:12 am       lsanderson Says:

    I follow your class and several others at Abbot, and I have been very impressed by how well the students have done. They seem to understand the purpose of the tweets is to inform parents. They know their audience and what is appropriate to report. I think setting up the expectations at the beginning was key.
    The memory compilation is a cool idea!


  6. January 6th, 2010 at 10:14 am       lsanderson Says:

    Your tweeting system is a great one for third grade. It sounds very manageable.

    You’re right- the short tweet gets right down to what families want/need to know in their busy lives.


  7. January 13th, 2010 at 7:09 pm       jmoreau Says:

    I started using Twitter last year at Lisa’s suggestion, but I must admit that I was reluctant, because I didn’t really see how it would be useful to me. I followed the few teachers here at Abbot that joined; not much came of it and there wasn’t much activity. I quit paying attention to it at all after a few weeks.

    This past fall I took a Web 2.0 course with Lisa and one of the first topics was Twitter. I listened with half an ear because I again thought it wasn’t anything worthwhile. But I dutifully did some research, and was pleasantly surprised to find some links and wikis where I came across a network of other counselors and educators that were on Twitter. I started following them, and by looking at their followers, found more counselors and organizations (e.g., Green Schools) that piqued my interest. Some, in turn, started following me.

    I now have what Lisa refers to as a “Professional Learning Network” on Twitter. I’ve had so many great links, resources, and ideas sent to me via Twitter on everything from bullying to classroom guidance to recycling programs. I also follow most of the classroom Twitter links because I love to know what’s going on (like when one of my friends in Stacey’s room said they did “nothing” all day).

    Checking Twitter has become part of my morning ritual along with checking my email. One person I follow always puts up famous quotes (much like Rose’s words of wisdom), and it’s nice to read those positive words each morning to set the tone for the day.

    Call me a Twitter convert! It has developed into a valuable and useful tool for me, and I’m glad I rediscovered it.


  8. January 13th, 2010 at 7:16 pm       lsanderson Says:

    You made me chuckle… I love following the classrooms, too. It’s fun to read what the kids find important to tweet… or not in some cases!

    Glad you’re one of the converted and a member of my PLN! ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. January 14th, 2010 at 3:54 am       ktenkely Says:

    My Twitter experience was similar, when my husband started using Twitter I was skeptical. I think he wishes he had never introduced me to Twitter! The learning that I have found on Twitter is unmatched. I have come to rely on my PLN in so many ways. I look forward to our weekly #edchats and feel let down when I have to miss one.
    Happy that we changed our minds and gave Twitter a chance to amaze us!


  10. January 14th, 2010 at 10:09 am       lsanderson Says:

    I really have to try #edchat more consistently! ๐Ÿ™‚


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