Monday, May 11, 2009

Twitter Usage - new(ish) ideas

I have been keen to see how others have been using Twitter in their classrooms in a way other than it being a distraction for teachers. For me it is my people google and my pub, in short I get answers from real people and enjoy meeting new friends, who also have a passion for teaching well with technology. My use of Twitter in classes has been to throw questions that I am asking the class out to my learning network, in order to give a wider perspective for the class to take on board. Sometimes this has gone really well and we've clocked up about 15 helpful responses, while other times just getting 2 or 3 replies has left me feeling a bit of Billy no mates. I guess it depends on the question and the time of day. You also have to remember to reply to others once in a while, as well as asking your questions.

As an aside, Tom Barrett and others have compiled one of those lists of interesting ways of using Twitter and his presentation and this can be found here.

A use that caught my eye via Twitter itself, was that of using Twitter as a class micro blog, thanks to Iain Hallahan, for sharing this idea and pic with me. I just think this is a fantastic way for a busy class ( not just the teacher) to communicate their news to parents. Obviously you'd still want other longer text based online experiences for children but 140 character updates may help to address the communication gap, that Tanya Byron talks about in her 'Oh Nothing Much' report, i.e. children being unable to answer the age old, 'what did you do at school today?'

You should really read Iain's blog post on this, as he tells of the highs and lows of this project, including hooking up with another class and sending mobile updates whilst on a filed trip.

I also want to mention Twitter Magnets - which I would just love to try on a whiteboard as a Literacy Starter. This flash tool gives you a small selection of words and the challenge is to create a meaningful poem in 140 characters, though thankfully the word list can be refreshed. You can then send your masterpiece to Twitter, if you feel its good enough. My last effort ( and it was late ) was this:

embrace soft velvet quilt angel / baby brilliant peace melt / feel warm, feverish blush / porcelain poison flower fall

Here is a screencast of the Twitter magnets:


don_iain said...

Great post about Twitter in classrooms, and liking the look of the magnets. Although our Twitter project hasn't taken off the way I thought, it has been valuable enough to convince me there is a role for Twitter in the class situation; plus of course next year I'll have a better idea of how to hit the ground running!

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