This year, my grade 7 and 8 Online Presence students once again engaged in activity I call Twitter in the Classroom. I blogged about this activity last year – you can read about it at https://amberhartwell.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/twitter-in-the-classroom-paper-tweets/.
Halfway through our activity, I asked the students to use their Kidblog account to respond to the following prompt: How can Twitter be used to support my learning. The response to this was great – student were actually understanding when and how to use Twitter for educational reasons. Below, I have included some quote from my students’ blog pages. I have also incorporated some photos to illustrate just how engaged my learners were in this activity.
“Twitter can also support my learning because you can not only view others’ tweets but also retweet them to share them with the people that are following you. Using twitter you can share things with your teachers like pictures, links to resources that you think are helpful to you and maybe suggest them to your teacher. Also, if you see a tweet or a retweet that you like and are helpful to your learning, ex. quotes, images, or something someone wrote about their experiences, then you can favorite them and so whenever you go to your favorites those tweets will be there.” – Dhwani, grade 8 student
“Twitter can effect my learning by tweeting what I want to know then depending on how many followers you have they will tweet give you a response. I can also follow my teachers (awkward) and they might tweet the homework and you can ask them questions. If you have a group project you can tweet your friends to tell them information to work on the project. You can also tweet what your friends need to know. Another thing you can do is tweet notes for yourself to remember and to help your friends. Twitter can also help you hand things on time, so teachers can tweet to people that don`t do their homework did you do your homework yet?” – Anthony, grade 8 student
“If you need help with a teacher check if they have twitter and ask the question there and if you need extra help you don’t have to see them in real life (such as after school and lunch) and this is way more easier than seeing them in real life because some people are awkward in real life but when they talk on the internet they speak (or type) fairly well and people are way different then they are in real life.” – Matthew, grade 8 student
“TWITTER can help the teacher and his/her students because when the students they are at home they can check there teachers posts for homework and activities in class” – Erin, grade 7 student
“Also you can use hashtags you can search for topics like space and then you can get info on topics you are not familiar with. you can follow educational people so you can learn from their posts and ask them questions. you can follow your teachers to find out whats happening in class when you are not there. you can get references to other websites that can tell you info, cooking tips even how to build stuff so if you see links on educational twits you should check them out for info and other things.” – Logan, grade 7 student
“I can use Twitter to support my learning by doing some of these things: I can “follow” one of my teachers to find out every night what my homework is and if I have any questions I can ask them instantly. If I know a celebrity/person who is very educational I can also follow him/her, for example the guy from minute physics, he teaches about random questions and ideas in short one minute videos, which he posts on his Twitter as well as his other social media sites such as Facebook, or Youtube. I can also ask a friend over Twitter if I am not at school for a day if I missed any work I should catch up on, I actually just did this yesterday because I wasn’t here. If I wish to learn about a specific topic, I can use the Hashtag search feature to look that topic up, for example #Space if I want to learn about space.” – Ahmad, grade 7 student.
Overall, this was a positive experience for both my students and my teaching practice. Unfortunately, in my school jurisdiction, we are unable to use Twitter. While I do not mind that it is unapproved, I do still feel it is important for students to learn how to use these social media tools properly. This paper tweet activity is a great way to teach Twitter without the permanent trail the online Twitter presents. It also provides a platform for students to consider Twitter as an education tool in their PLN.