Welcome to: "Twitter in the (English) Classroom!?"

Wiki created by Marcus Desveaux

What this Wiki will do:

  • Show how the microblogging site "Twitter" can be used in the classroom, and more specifically, the English classroom.
  • Provide examples to readers and providing sources.
  • Provide examples on how one can utilize this tool that is known as Twitter in their own classroom.
  • Elaborate on my personal opinion of this matter.

So, What is Twitter?

"The best way to discover what’s new in your world" (Twitter, 2011). Twitter is a social networking website that allows users to appropriately or inappropriately "microblog" 140 character posts and/or updates. People mainly use Twitter to let other friends, known as "followers," what they are currently doing. These text updates are called "tweets." These tweets have been proven to be very useful due to their convenience and speedy delivery. Twitter allows for an endless collaboration of Twitter users to share, send, receive and read information with your followers. Twitter claims to be a social network that has the power to allow one to keep in touch with their friends, share quick tidbits of information and websites, share pictures, share news and many other things like "direct messaging" and hash#tagging. Usually, people just use Twitter to post about what they are currently doing, will be doing or what they have already done. Twitter can be very useful when used in a collaborative and information-sharing environment and P.L.E.'s or Personal Learning Environments. An example of a P.L.E. can be seen on the link that says "P.L.E.", thanks to "wdrexler." An example of a Twitter homepage can be seen below.
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But Twitter used in the...classroom!?


So, now that you know what Twitter is, you may be thinking, "how could this possibly ever be used in a classroom?" The answer is actually fairly simple. Though at first, it seems like somewhat of a paradigm-threatening, new form of technology, it has many uses that are practiced in schools and Universities all around the United States today. Advocates such as Jane Hart and Heinz Krettek are widely known social network, and specifically "Twitter in the classroom" enthusiasts that often and openly write about Twitter's uses in the classroom. Many classrooms are using and experimenting with Twitter to see if it works in their classroom environments..

An example of the beginning of a well documented and controlled experiment with Twitter in the classroom can be read about more here.

Twitter is claimed to be beneficial in the classroom due to its capabilities in sharing and researching information at the speed of a click. However, there are skeptics and enthusaists everywhere that think social media has no place in the classroom.

How it is used:

Twitter is integrated in to classroom settings by having the teacher and its students view tutorials (if needed) to illustrate all the uses of Twitter. After both parties become familiar, they can then use Twitter for a number of purposes. Tweets are shown in "real time" and can be viewed by as many people or "followers" as one wants. Depending on the project or the intent of use. Students who are researching can share their findings quickly with other students who they "follow," in "real time." The tweets, or tidbits of information can be monitored by the teacher if the group is working collaboratively. Basically, Twitter offers a simple and convenient place for students, educators and literally anyone else to share "findings," depending on the circumstance. Millions of people use twitter, therefore, it is easy to ask questions for a possible response from the Twitter Community. An example of the last statement can be seen in a picture below.


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The twitter timeline of inquiring.

Pros:

  • User friendly
  • Very fast
  • Provides space for short blurb, hyperlinks, information, updates, news, etc.
  • Many tutorials and examples can be found
  • Lesson plans/instructions using Twitter can be found on the internet
  • Provides the students with a paradigm shifting vessel, given the situation
  • Millions of users worldwide
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Cons:

  • A lot of non-relevant/inappropriate tweets can be found
  • Intimidating interface
  • Can become a tool of "cyber bullying"
  • People often think of Social Networking tools as strictly Social Networking tools and no other purpose
  • Students may not like and/or feel comfortable using Twitter for various reasons


"Most people start off in a rocky relationship with Twitter. It doesn’t seem to be as easy or as useful as everyone has said, it takes awhile before you find your niche, and there is an overwhelming amount of information to deal with. But, just hang on – it’ll be worth it!!!" (Klingensmith, 2009)


A Created Personal Scenario of how to use Twitter in the secondary English Classroom:

Scenario created by Marcus Desveaux.

After having my students view tutorials on just about everything about Twitter that is useful, I would create a "#hashtag" that could be used for the classroom to easily search and view what has, can and will be posted. For the sake of the scenario, I'll say the hashtag is "#desveauxENG." After showing the students how one incorporates this in their tweets and how it is used, I would then show an example of my own tweets. On Twitter, a teacher can request information and writing from students, post homeworks and even have homework submitted on Twitter if it is short enough.

Example: I have assigned my 11th grade English class to read J.D. Salinger's, The Catcher in The Rye. My students are following me and the hashtag "#desveauxENG." Below is a created scenario on what I would and could possibly tweet to my students using Twitter, requesting the student's thoughts on the completion of their readings:

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By providing this information to them via "Tweet," the students would then "reply" to me and post the given requests for all students to see, which can evoke thought, emotions and various writings on the subject. This can all be done via the program, Twitter. In my opinion, this method can save paper and is a great way to introduce students to a newer (or very familiar) technology that is rapidly becoming very popular. It is very easy to use once it is learned and is great for all ages. I could post daily homework on here using the hash tag and require my students to use their personal twitters or make their own separate account for my classroom. This is just one of the many innovative ways to use Twitter in the classroom, and more specifically, the English classroom. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. Please view my sources for additional experiences, information and ways to use Twitter in the classroom and useful references. For a very helpful Teachers Guide to Twitter, please click here. For my personal educational blog, please click here.









Sources and Tools:

http://www.google.com
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_one_teacher_uses_twitter_in_the_classroom.php
http://www.youtube.com
http://www.informationasmaterial.com/wordpress/2009/02/educational-tool-twitter/
http://www.astd.org/LC/2009/0409_galagan.htm
http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/twitter/presentation-twitter-in-education/
https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_118cfb8msf8
http://onceateacher.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/a-teachers-guide-to-twitter/
http://www.twitter.com
http://www.techlearning.com/article/20896
http://www.informationasmaterial.com/wordpress/2009/02/educational-tool-twitter/
http://www.astd.org/LC/2009/0409_galagan.htm
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16287533/More-than-just-passing-notes-in-class-The-Twitterenabled-backchannel?autodown=pdf

Check out these other blogs about using Twitter in the classroom!

A Teachers Guide to Twitter
My Nonlinear

Discussion groups about Twitter in the Classroom:

Faculty Focus
Twitter Development Talk
Teacher Experience Exchange: Twitter

Articles:

Patrick Lowenthal
Pleased to Tweet You!
D.J. Skiba
Journal of Teacher Education: Surviving Urban Schools

Groups using Twitter!

The Teich Group

THIS WAS ALL POSSIBLE THANKS TO TWITTER!