TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers Resources

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Twitter is more than just a way to share meaningless tweets about your breakfast cereal or the traffic on the way to school. Who has time for that? 

For teachers, Twitter can be a powerful tool for professional development via quick sharing with peers and colleagues whom you may or may not know face to face. Imagine running across other teachers who teach the same things you do and exchanging ideas quickly, just when you need them. Imagine putting out a plea for help and finding others willing to suggest a solution. Imagine sharing the cool finds you have discovered on TeachersFirst or a great way to make dictionary skills engaging in your classroom. We all know the best tidbits are from other teachers, and Twitter gives you a way to create a network to constantly learn.

Twitter can also be an effective way to communicate from your class to other classrooms around the globe. If Twitter is accessible inside your school's filtering, your class Twitter account can be an avenue to interact with classrooms across town or across the world. Share tweets about today's news, environmental data, hot topic opinions, and more using hashtags, mentions, or messages.  *A tip from Texas teacher Allison: If you work with English language learners, you will want to avoid some common tweet-shortening abbreviations, such as using gr8 to mean great. Non-native speakers do not easily grasp these abbreviations.*

You do not have to know everything about Twitter to get started. Start out with this video for an overview of Twitter. Set up a Twitter account, and follow  @teachersfirst or @cshively (the leader of TeachersFirst's Thinking Teachers) to find other TeachersFirst enthusiasts. You can even follow Geo and Meri of Globetracker's Mission to become familiar with how Twitter works. You can access Twitter on their own web site or use one of the many free Twitter sharing tools available for free download. There are many Twitter tools for mobile devices, also free. But you don't need to worry about any of these to start.

Hashtags (those funny looking things with a #pound sign at the start) are a way of indicating that a tweet pertains to a certain topic or a certain interest group/event. The term hashtag refers to the funny # mark. To see what a hashtag does, try searching for one of these education-specific hashtags on Twitter (or watch them flying by in the little "widget" below. Try to figure out what each specialty is: #edchat, #ntchat, #ptchat, #midleved, #gtchat, #edtech, #artsed, #musedchat, #mathchat, #engchat, #EduIT .  This is a good way to find people with common interests so you can FOLLOW them. Send a tweet including your favorite hashtag, telling people you are new to Twitter. Teachers who have searches set up for that hashtag will see your message, and you will receive a warm welcome!

For an easy way to get started, try Across the World Once a Week, a simple way to learn about the details of daily life in other cultures. The #xw1w hashtag pulls the weekly question and responses together in a quick Twitter search. Learn more about it here.

This collection of resources will give you some ideas and places to find other educators using Twitter and some of the various other tools that maximize Twitter's power for specific sharing, such as photos. We even have some reviews of Twitter-alternatives for those who prefer to stay in an education-only network.

Set up a Twitter account, follow @teachersfirst, and we'll send you a tweet!

 

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Tweet Topic Explorer - Neoformix

Grades
8 to 12
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Use this resource to see what the NYTimes, Wall street Journal, or any other source (Twitter account) is currently tweeting about. A blend between Twitter...more
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Use this resource to see what the NYTimes, Wall street Journal, or any other source (Twitter account) is currently tweeting about. A blend between Twitter and word clouds, this resource can provide current information about many topics. Enter a Twitter username in the lower left to begin. Click on a circle in the word cloud to see the tweets listed along the side. Try entering @teachersfirst to see an example.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), chat (51), microblogging (44), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

This would be fantastic projected on a whiteboard (or projector) for the class to see. Use this resource by entering a Twitter username (such as a politician's) to stay up to date about what they are discussing (or to realize the overuse of certain talking points!) Enter an author's user name to follow current discussions. Use this resource over a period of several weeks to identify the changing trends or changes in stories over time. Follow any Twitter name that can shed light on any academic topic for use in a class. Does your class use twitter? Enter the username(s) to create a word cloud of what your class has done. Use the word cloud and Tweets to reflect on what has been learned in the class. Follow what a famous person or writer is tweeting. See this list of tweeting authors for some possibilities.

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Hashonomy - Hashonomy

Grades
9 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Though a little clunky, Hashonomy searches tweets from Twitter for information and links. Search the current top hashtags and view the top trends for information and links. You can...more
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Though a little clunky, Hashonomy searches tweets from Twitter for information and links. Search the current top hashtags and view the top trends for information and links. You can also use Hashonomy to organize your own tweeted bookmarks/links. New to Twitter? Find information about this resource here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to search Twitter as a source for information and links on a topic. Use to identify trending topics as well as the change in the discussion over time.

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Explania - explania.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Watch hundreds of animated explanations, tutorials, and videos on a variety of questions. Learn about the myth of Santa, the flu, migraines, history of football, how to avoid stomach...more
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Watch hundreds of animated explanations, tutorials, and videos on a variety of questions. Learn about the myth of Santa, the flu, migraines, history of football, how to avoid stomach aches, what is Twitter, and other topics. General subjects include Health, Sports, Software, Work, Technology, and Companies (advertising.) This site is designed for secondary students (and adults). However, many of the topics would be relevant with older elementary students (for example, "How to Avoid Stomach Aches"). Be sure to peruse and preview before sharing the video in an elementary classroom.

Embed the videos easily into your blog, wiki, or site for use with students. This site does allow users to submit their own videos, but this appears to be for a fee and mainly for businesses looking to advertise or promote a service.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33), animation (63), myths and legends (25), sports (96), twitter (50), video (253)

In the Classroom

Share these short videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Find videos related to the content you are teaching. For example, the "What is the flu?" animation gives a great amount of information about colds and flu. Begin your lesson by asking students common statements or questions about what they understand about the cold or the flu. Show the results on a board and then share the video. (Embedding it in a site that you already have is a really great idea.) Identify the actual information to counter the common misconceptions. Find great animations related to technology and using computer and Web 2.0 tools. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have them report information learned to the others. Challenge groups to create an animated explanation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge animation tools here.

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Twitario - Twitario

Grades
6 to 12
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Twitario allows you to see your tweets (or those of any Twitter user) in a diary format over a specified period of time. Enter a twitter username or sign in ...more
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Twitario allows you to see your tweets (or those of any Twitter user) in a diary format over a specified period of time. Enter a twitter username or sign in to your Twitter account. Share the collection of past tweets (cutely portrayed and dated as a diary) by clicking "share" at the bottom. Here is a sample diary of tweets from @teachersFirst. New to Twitter? Learn more from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

This site could be used for students to submit an assignment of tweets they did over a period of time. Or use this site during a presentation on how Twitter works, showing the information contained in a succession of tweets. Have students submit a record of tweets that show their learning over time. Follow a Twitter user who provides resource links for a diary of resources that have been shared. Trace the tweets from the White House, any high profile political figure, or author over a period of time.

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What is your #Eduwin? - EdReach

Grades
K to 12
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"Every day teachers all across America are taking education forward. What's your #EduWin?" Share and witness the positive impact of American schools by sharing an #Eduwin, a small victory,...more
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"Every day teachers all across America are taking education forward. What's your #EduWin?" Share and witness the positive impact of American schools by sharing an #Eduwin, a small victory, accomplishment, or learning moment from your classroom, told in 140 characters or less. The #Eduwin idea stemmed from EduBloggerCon, a preconference get-together before ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia. Read more about it in this post from the TeachersFirst editor and this one from EdReach's Daniel Rezac.

It takes almost no time to share an #Eduwin. Build media and public awareness of positive teaching stories (and reflect on the good about your career after a bad day). This site provides a simple place to enter your #Eduwin without accessing your Twitter account. It will automatically take you to Twitter where you can log in and send the tweet. You can read the #eduwin messages of others on the same page. Want to know more about Twitter? See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers. Note that #Eduwin can also be added as a hashtag on student projects, wikis, and anywhere search engines might find it! Of course, you can add the #Eduwin hashtag to tweets sent from any Twitter tool, not just from this page.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites for quick access. Make a habit of reflecting on --and sharing -- the positive steps you witness on a daily basis. Tell your teacher friends. Watch this page for positive words (and ideas) from teachers you have never met.

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Snag Learnng - Snagfilms LLC

Grades
3 to 12
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Use SnagLearning to present high-quality documentaries to promote meaningful discussions in your classroom. Find great videos about many issues of today such as nuclear tipping point,...more
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Use SnagLearning to present high-quality documentaries to promote meaningful discussions in your classroom. Find great videos about many issues of today such as nuclear tipping point, the history of various forms of music, effects of desert winds, and more. Choose your subject matter from the tab along the top. Choose a grade level band as well to find videos appropriate for different age groups. Warning: as topics frequently change, be sure to preview before you share.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): movies (64), twitter (50), video (253)

In the Classroom

Use videos in your subject area to inform students about the topic being studied. Share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider using backchannel while viewing the documentary to allow students to express their feelings and thoughts. Try using the site "Get your students talking about what you want them to talk about" (reviewed here). Follow viewing with blog posts that include student reactions and topics related to what has been discussed in class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter - Mashable

Grades
4 to 12
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Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who ...more
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Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who are just trying to sell you something on twitter. Their list only includes authors who are trying to carry on a conversation with their followers and present information they find valuable, whether it directly benefits them or not. Each author has a description, some of the books they have written, and an example tweet.

tag(s): authors (120), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

A whole class twitter account can follow favorite authors and authors' read through of class novels. The class can direct message them with questions about the book: how they came to write the story, are the characters based on anyone the author knows, and any other ideas your students might come up with. In literature circles a different member of the group each week can Twitter the author of the book as part of the "author analyzer" job. Learn more about Twitter and find many more ways to use it from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers.

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Across the World Once a Week: Collaborative Microblogging for Cross-Cultural Understanding - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W ...more
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W is a simple, social way for students to learn about real life in other cultures from real kids all across the world. By simply "hashtagging" Twitter or blog responses to a weekly question about daily life, students can share and learn about other cultures from their international peers. Find out more and read the details of this offering from TeachersFirst. The page displays the current weekly question as well as a Twitter feed of recent responses. (If you see a black "box," your school may be blocking Twitter feeds.) Don't miss the FAQ page to help you get started.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Join XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Cybraryman Educational Chats on Twitter - Cybraryman

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use this resource to find great educational chats (#hashtags)found on Twitter! View the various hashtags that have been created for a multitude of educator chats in different content...more
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Use this resource to find great educational chats (#hashtags)found on Twitter! View the various hashtags that have been created for a multitude of educator chats in different content areas. Scroll down the page to view a schedule of the various chats organized by day. Be sure to note the times that these chats begin on those days. View the various tools that you can use to "follow" the chats. Follow these chats to find incredible support and ideas for creating positive change in teaching and learning. Consider Twitter one of the best professional development opportunities teachers can participate in.

tag(s): chat (51), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

New to Twitter? Learn more about Twitter and how to set up searches to see these chats on your own time using suggestions and other reviewed resources included on TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

Comments

So helpful, very complete Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Paper.li - Smallrivers

Grades
K to 12
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Missing great twitter conversations? Follow a user, list, or topic hashtag with this great tool that compiles Twitter posts into an easy to read format. Paper.li takes the tweets and...more
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Missing great twitter conversations? Follow a user, list, or topic hashtag with this great tool that compiles Twitter posts into an easy to read format. Paper.li takes the tweets and creates a newspaper style format to read from. Sign in using your facebook or twitter account. View the paper which takes tweets you search and separates them into various subjects. Current tweets in your topic appear as they occur. Read more about the various educator hashtags you may want to subscribe to on TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Keep track of trending topics for your students or for yourself. Keep up to date professionally by following several education hashtags such as #edchat. Links posted using the hashtag appear in your "newspaper" and can be viewed at any time. Share your daily newspaper with others by clicking on "Promote it" or "Share." You do not need to ever send a "tweet" to read and learn.Teachers at any level can see what their teaching peers have to say. Secondary teachers can share the latest on a political topic, disaster, or other hot news story by creating a "newspaper" about it for students to investigate. You can even "embed" the newspaper on your class web page or wiki.

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Get your students talking about what you want them to talk about - Kevin Jarrett and Mary Ann Devine

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This article gives practical hints and how-to suggestions for using backchannnel chat in your classroom. It is a good accompaniment for TeachersFirst's review...more
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This article gives practical hints and how-to suggestions for using backchannnel chat in your classroom. It is a good accompaniment for TeachersFirst's review of Todaysmeet.

tag(s): chat (51), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to revisit before you try backchannel chat and afterward as a refresher to improve the process. You might even want to share it with other teachers in your school.

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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).

Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.

As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.

Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

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TodaysMeet - James Socol

Grades
5 to 12
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows...more
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows anyone with the URL for a specific chat stream to join in, using short (140 characters) messages. Participants can be in the same room or across the globe. The only "skill" needed is being able to type! Save a transcript via the link at the bottom of the chat and switch to "projector-friendly" view with one click so a group can follow the chat on screen. TodaysMeet does not require a membership to access these features, but creating a free account with an email address unlocks more features to meet your needs. The free account allows you to archive your rooms for up to one year, and custom organization of your rooms is available for easy access. You can only archive rooms for up to one month without creating an account. Filter participants, moderate their content, and use speaker colors to take control of your rooms. A TodaysMeet account also offers three different QR code sizes to share access to your room as well as the ability to allow participants to download the transcript. TodaysMeet may be blocked through some web filters as a social media site.

tag(s): microblogging (44), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

No special skills needed except the ability to create a name for your chat and to share the URL with others. Create "room" by giving it a name; decide how long you want it to last; and add a Twitter hashtag (optional). The room name becomes part of the URL. For example, The room called tfedge has URL http://todaysmeet.com/tfedge. Give participants the room URL. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join.

Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.

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Twiducate - Twiducate

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Looking for a microblogging (think twitter) alternative for collaboration or networking in your classes? Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes...more
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Looking for a microblogging (think twitter) alternative for collaboration or networking in your classes? Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes without venturing into the more complex public interactions of Twitter. Maintain privacy and a safe structure for collaborative learning. Post questions to elicit responses or use the safe environment for students to receive feedback on works in progress. Not sure about this resource? Twiducate was created by a group of teachers in Southwest Ontario to provide this type of service to students and teachers.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Create an account easily with information about your school and title. Though an email is required, create your account without email verification. Make a class name and code that students can use for Twiducate. Manage many options through your home page including adding students, entering bookmarks to share with students, viewing the public timeline (you may find a teacher to collaborate and share with,) and create more classes. Students do not need to register themselves and are added in through the teacher. As students are added, a password is generated for them.

Use this safe, private, closed system to blog and network in your classes. Students are able to access this site outside of school and collaborate there as well. Invite parents into this network and let them see what is going on. Teachers are able to moderate all posts and remove any unwanted posts. Consider printing the screen of student names and passwords for a hard copy in order to access the information. Be sure to discuss rules of etiquette for posting and commenting in order to teach students effective use of these types of services. Be sure to include actions for broken rules. Check your school policies about using such a resource and whether special permission slips may be required.

The possibilities are endless. Use for posting homework assignments. Share and publish bookmarks for students to use. Respond to students trying to get test dates and other assignments changed! Collaborate among small or large groups. Create study groups for review and learning of information. Use small time information gathering more effectively: Assign every two students a concept to research and share learning with the rest of the class for discussion. How can you be sure that each student has completed work? Have them blog their information through Twiducate. Each group would have a specific key word that they use at the start of their posts. Search for a keyword at the top of the screen to bring up all those related posts! Watching a movie that requires students to answer questions? Post prepared questions throughout the movie to elicit responses from students. Allow students the ability to blog their reactions to documentaries and work together for understanding. During poetry month, have student do oral poetry reading while others microblog their reactions to the poem as they listen. Share weekly links and comments about current events via microblog. If you are willing to risk it invite students to microblog questions and reactions to teacher and student presentations in progress. Suddenly listening is an active endeavor! Provide this resource for groups to collaborate in and out of class and offer options for learning at any time.

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Video: Twitter in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Are you "twying" to understand the "tweet" world of Twitter. Watch this short (less than 3-minutes) video about the "Twerrific" world of Twitter. This social networking site asks the...more
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Are you "twying" to understand the "tweet" world of Twitter. Watch this short (less than 3-minutes) video about the "Twerrific" world of Twitter. This social networking site asks the question, "What are you doing?". This site shares how to use Twitter to stay connected. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
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tag(s): chat (51), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for professional development and further understanding of the current microblogging "twend": Twitter. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use Twitter in the Classroom (with parental permission). Have students create writing prompts and share them on Twitter. Have your government students follow the "Twitter News" of politicians they can find on Twitter. Have students in science class follow the Twitter Feeds like Science News. Challenge students to create their own virtual collective Twitter scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless! You can also use Twitter as a springboard for discussions about the changes in the political landscape and society with the advent of social networking tools. Ask them: are there any negatives or cautions to sharing your life on Twitter?
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