Tag Archives: twitter

Classroom: Student use of Twitter

 In Monday’s blog post, Twitter in Education, I outlined a few perspectives on using Twitter in the K12 Educational setting. Based on the reading I have done, there are 2 emerging trends.

1. There is little question about the value of Twitter as a tool that plays a key role in people developing their Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) and expanding their resources.

It is interesting to note a recent blog post on Mashable, reported that “Nielsen has compiled data from its NetRatings panel of 250,000 US Internet users and discovered that there are fewer young people on Twitter than on the Internet as a whole: one quarter of US Internet users are under 25, Nielsen says, but only 16% of Twitter users lie in that age range.”

Note: “While Nielsen is only measuring people who visit Twitter.com (not desktop and mobile clients), the analytics firm additionally claims that over 90% of TweetDeck users are over 25, making it unlikely that there are masses of uncounted young people on third-party Twitter apps.”

twitterteens

2. Despite the statistics that are currently available, there seems to be a slow but steady growing interest in using Twitter in the classroom as a communication tool for students within the curriculum delivery framework. I believe the key is finding a fit where Twitter makes a difference in the learning process and learning outcomes. In many respects, we are ‘early in the game’ of social media uses to deliver curriculum. Certainly, if developing collaboration and problem solving skills and PLNs is important for adults, then it stands to reason that this must be important for student learning too. Communication strategies and student engagement are often given as reasons for looking at Twitter use in the classroom. I believe the skillful teacher will find the right fit for Twitter as a curriculum support tool.

A Few Ideas for Twitter in the Classroom

Mashable: Twitter Guidebook

Songhai Concepts: Classroom Twitter

Tame the Web: Twitter in the classroom

Online Colleges.net 25 Twitter Projects for the College Classroom

~ Mark

Twitter in Education

Over the last year, I have followed a number of online discussion regarding social media in the K12 education systems. This summer, I have specifically followed conversions regarding the use of Twitter in the classroom. As a general observation, it seems the people are more likely to be decisive with their yes/no stance with regards to Twitter. At least from the reading I have done, there seems to be more acceptance of Twitter use at the college and university levels. 

In the relatively short time that social networking has burst onto the scene, the debate over pros and cons continues to be batted about. On the classroom side, typically the conversations cover: engage the students, embrace new technologies, teachers modeling 21st century or life long learning, disruptive technologies, fragmentation vs time on task, responsibility to teach student online saftey and  and curriculum benefits (or not). On the teacher/instructor side, social networking can provide many useful connections and sharing as people build their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and build their resource libraries. As one reflects on this list of topics, it would be easy to argue that there is no one right answer, especially on the classroom side. Thus, the debate will go on.

Perspectives

According to Howard Rheingold, who teachers at UC Berkeley’s School of Communication and Stanford University, bringing social media into classrooms is “challenging the 1000-yr-old paradigm that you have to learn from a master and the only way to do that is to go to lecture and take notes.” 

Rheingold points to five reasons for teaching students social media:

  1. Developing students’ literacy in our new online environment is as crucial as developing their abilities to read and write. Communication is moving toward social media. We can either help students thrive in this environment or leave them flailing.
  2. Many students bring their computers to class. Why not work with this trend instead of fighting or ignoring it?
  3. Social media is just that: social. Students who use Twitter for class are “learning collaborative skills that are particularly important today.”
  4. There is only so much class time. Rheingold makes mini-lectures on video that students comment on between classes, allowing more time to engage the issues through in-class discussion.
  5. Shy students who hold back in class often speak up online. “If you can extend the discussion to an online message board, you enable students who may not jump into the discussion,” he said, to “make a thoughtful contribution.”
Regarding Twitter, Angela Maiers states that “it is the most influential tool in my personal learning network.” Angela is passionate about Twitter for a number of reasons including:             

  • “Twitter allows me to share and glean resources I can use in the classroom
  • I meet and connect with other educators from around the world whom I would otherwise never be able to meet
  • It gives me 24/7 access to the most creative, influential, and innovative minds the world has to offer, allowing me a virtual whiteboard and brainstorm group” 

David R. Wetzel views Twitter as a web 2.0 tool used to improve teacher professional knowledge, collaboration, self reflection, and ability to remain current with the latest news and trends in education.

Advantages of Twitter in Education:

Collaborating with Other Teachers

Self Reflection about Teaching
Remaining Current in Latest Education Trends
Building Reliable Networks of Teachers
Professional Development and Continuing Education

 

My view:  Personally, I land on the side of embracing social technologies in the K12 system. Different technologies will fit the learning environment in different ways. Just like using other software packages, you need the right tool to support learning in the most effective way. In my mind, there are clear benefits to using social networking tools for  student learning, curriculum delivery and professional development. Twitter, for example,  has been a core component of the development of my PLN and daily learning.

 

Where do you stand?  Share a comment or send a tweet.

Related Reading:

Angela Maiers:  My Twitter Engagement Formula

Jessica Grosse: Article in the Huffington Post blog.

David R. Wetzel: Article posted on  Suite101.com .

 

~ Mark

Missed the ‘noise’ today

How ironic! – talk about 2 days of contrast.

Yesterday my blog post was about managing the ‘noise’ from technology – keeping technology working for you while keeping your life balanced and avoiding information & technology use overload.

Today, there was a big silence in technology land. I was initially puzzled by the quietness of Twitter. Hmm, my session seems to have timed out. I can’t log back in. Now I jump into trouble shooting mode.

Maybe it is:

– my browser: different browser, same issue
– my computer: same results on another computer, checked 2 browsers
– an access issue: try logging in through a Twitter client – no luck
– our network: check with staff, everything is A-OK on our end

Dig in a little deeper:

– compare: try to access from my Blackberry – no luck
– more comparing: can not connect using my Blackberry as a wireless modem

Now I am convinced something serious is up. I contact a friend and fellow blogger who works in another Board. He was having the same experience but had learned that Twitter was experiencing a major Denial of Services (DoS) attack. Now the only plan of action is to wait! It is up to the staff at Twitter to sort through this mess.

What did I learn from this?

I learned I missed the tweets – the trickle of communication coming in from Twitter. I missed learning from the information posted through the tweets and related links. Perhaps more importantly, I recognized how much I learn each day through Twitter and other social media networks and how the people I interact with have become part of my PLN.

It appears the DoS issue has been resolved – YEAH! I am happy to be connected to my online PLN group again and ready to learn and share.

~ Mark