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I haven't seen a lot of classroom applications for Twitter. However, I am seeing a lot of teachers using it as a personal learning tool- myself included.
I also think that one's use of Twitter evolves over time.
Thanks for all of you who have shared resources for back channeling. Here is one more that we tried at our recent digital media conference in Milwaukee that went over big called Today's Meet http://todaysmeet.com/futuremob .
Why put kids in the public swim of information; given you can't moderate or control the messages - so mistakes and youthful errors are left in the public domain. Twitter is yet to 'sell' it's service; and at a growth rate of 1300% per months; its only a matter of time before a marketer finally grows enough brain cells to commercialize it and who knows what that will bring.
What gives anyone the right to do this? To 'out' students into the public arena in the name of learning - learning what? Youth online is already doing this with Messenger - and the demographic for Twitter is not youth online.
If, you are trying out microblogging; use Yammer, Cover It Live, Posterous etc.,
PLEASE ask yourself - what is the PEDAGOGICAL imperative to user Twitter? In under 18s; the risk does not outweigh the benefits IMO - and anyone who thinks kids need to learn social media is living under a rock. BTW research shows kids play more social games that use social networks - so lets see a bit more Warcraft before Twitter ... if over 50% of activity by youth online is spent in social games - Twitter to me is a margin call if you are talking about exploring new technologies.
Fanboi culture will of course use Twitter - but chances are these people have a surface use of technology and are not researching it; just following a trend. Ouch.
I believe this is even more reason why instructional designers or instructional technologists, not technicians, need to have more of an impact on the decision-making process of what Web resources are blocked or not block to students during school. These technicians typically have no teaching background nor understanding of pedigogical practices. One of the arguments we've been discussing with our district-wide technology integration team is we are simply blocking valuable resources that we know our students use everyday out side of school yet we are blocking them. There are specific resources that should be blocked (i.e. YouTube, My Space, Facebook, etc.) because educators can't assume students are utilizing these tools appropriately outside of school. However, rather than sending the message "we'll tell you what's appropriate or not appropriate", we should be teaching our students how to use these tools, like Twitter, for meaningful authentic learning, problem solving, and decision making since that is what they will have to do in the real world.
It took me two years to figure out how to use Twitter in the classroom and I'm still looking and asking questions. But just to be clear, I don't use Twitter to take attendance.
Back in April I blogged that my students mark themselves present in Twitter everyday, which in my mind is no different than doing warm-up stretches before running or playing scales before a music lesson.
And because the students perform that routine daily - John Doe, present, 7/31/09, 4th period, today, they can do that simple twitter task in their sleep. They've mastered that. It's become a reflex. I don't even have to remind them. They just do it.
Back when I studied music it was always scales and exercises first, then we worked on the main piece or pieces. That's pretty much how my class begins these days, with a Twitter workout and exercise and then we move onto the main piece or pieces.
So now that my students are comfortable using Twitter, on a fundamental level, everything else is but an extension and embellishment on that basic opening exercise - twt.fm, twitpic, Dial2Do, TweetDeck, Twitterific, Amplify, Twitcam, Twitmic, hashtags, all hyper variations on a theme.
Since April, Twitter has been the main engine behind our totally paperless classroom. It's become the primary delivery and exchange system for all our documents, links and classroom business. Twitter has really been a win-win for us all.
I don't think twitter is an essential tool for classroom instruction with students. There are so many other sites to be used for students instruction that are more appropriate for the classroom. I would, however, consider using my twitter account as a communication tool with parents. The only problem anticipated is that so many families in may district do not have computers at home, and of those who do, only the students know how to navigate the internet.
I agree with Art. In my district, so many sites are blocked that it's often difficult to accomplish work during planning time.
I truly believe in 21st century technology within my classroom. I have a Masters in Educational Instructional Technology and am pursuing SMARTBoard certification while teaching full-time. I also have a Twitter account. I have a protected site, with my Tweets protected. Some of the people that have wanted to be "my friend" have sent pornographic and truly tasteless photos. Twitter grew very fast and probably had no idea as how to handle the volume that they experience daily. Once Twitter gets a handle on how to regulate their site in a more safe and secure manner, I will then feel that it will be safe to have a classroom account. Until then, I believe that this site should be enjoyed by adults only.
Thanks for pointing us to the Songhai blog and Huff Post essay - but neither one reveals how Twitter can be used to take attendance. Hoping someone can elucidate in detail.
From Sara Ring, the writer of the poll:
Here is a teacher's blog in which he mentions using Twitter to take attendance, with students marking themselves "present."
This Huffington Post article makes mention of this teacher's practice, too.
Hope this helps!
Edutopia.org Community Manager
Can anyone tell me how they are taking attendance with Twitter?