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Twitter in the Classroom

In the last few days since I have discovered Twitter, I have used it a bit to find different activities and to interact with different educators. Along the way I discovered a lady who has used Twitter in her Kindergarten classroom. The following article describes how she did this. How a kindergarten class uses Twitter to learn about the world

While I fully admit that I don’t completely understand yet how Twitter could be used in this manner. I do find it interesting and a very neat way to teach the students about people who live in different areas of the world.  I do not know myself how I could do something like this in the classroom, nor how it would fit into our Saskatchewan curriculum but I still find the whole idea ingenious.

Anyway, while checking out Twitter tonight, one of the ladies that I follow @happycampergirl tweeted earlier about a thoughtful post. I clicked on the link she provided and it took me to Mr P. Tuckers Education Blog,  someone who describes himself as a teacher from Ontario, Canada. The following is his response to her blog posting (which I unfortunately couldn’t read because the link wasn’t working).  Should Kindergarteners be using twitter

His response left me a little confused. He says that he would have signed the parent consent form if his child was in the class, but I am wondering if a parent consent form would have been needed.  If the teacher didn’t let the students on Twitter themselves, rather she was the person using Twitter, than the students weren’t really on Twitter simply viewing it. If this is the case, she probably talked about how Twitter is a service that allows us to communicate with other people in the world but that it should not be used by children without an adult present.  If there is anyone out there who has any experience with Twitter in the classroom I would love to hear how you used it? Did you require the parents to sign consent forms first? Were the students allowed to create Twitter accounts or simply participate in a discussion with others via Twitter?

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Comments on: "Twitter in the Classroom" (19)

  1. My wife is using twitter with her kindergarten class, you can see it here:

    http://www.anadominguez.org/blog/twitter/

    • Thanks so much for the link. I can’t wait until I have more time to read all about it. I clicked on the link briefly and the information seems really good. Thanks again.

  2. A while back I participated in #twecon which is where participants tweet an academic paper in 6 tweets. Was interesting having a multidisciplinary session (very diverse topics were presented and having conversations both with the participants and my own twitter stream would recommend. You could read about it here

  3. Sarah Rolle said:

    I want to mention that most websites require users to be at least 13 to have their own accounts. In addition, I believe you have to be aware of your school and/or districts policies. Some will choose to push the envelope no matter the policies, but I think it is critical to know whether your administrators will be backing you if there is a problem.

    All that being said there are other tools that are education friendly. When Our sixth grade teacher wanted to have her students tweet as greek gods, we used edmodo. I like this idea of having students tweet from a character’s perspective.

    I have also seen excellent use of twitter with foreign lang. learning. It’s just another way to practice writing language and kids love it.

    • I think your last comment about foreign language learning would be the primary reason why I would consider using Twitter in the classroom. This would allow the students to really see that French is used all over the world and that it is more than just something we do at school.
      Thanks for the first part of you comment also. I totally agree that I would have to check with the School Boards and school that I am teaching at to see if they would support me. To my knowledge, neither have ever really been questioned on something like this for a Kindergarten classroom, but it would never hurt to check first.

  4. Hi,
    I do have a classroom Twitter account for my grade one students. We don’t use it a lot, but, we use it to connect with other classrooms. It becomes part of our group reading/writing activities. The parents of my students sign a form that allows them to publish work on the internet. In my classroom this includes blogging as well as any other digital means we use.
    The tweeting itself could be done by the teacher, but the learning would be much deeper if the students got to find (on the keyboard) the sounds that they heard in the words and do it themselves. The teacher could write and editor’s note after the writing if it was not readable by the general public (primary teachers are quite good at reading “developing writer”).

    • Kathy, what kind of form do you have the parents sign? Is it something that you created yourself or something that comes from the school? Our parents sign a number of forms each year but this is not one that my school sends out. Do you think it is necessary to have the parents sign a form if names aren’t included? I have a classroom blog and I have posted a couple pictures of some of the students work, but never the children’s names. I never thought to get permission perform posting the work because I was simply trying to give the parents a chance to see what there child was doing in the classroom. Keep in mind that with my students, they are five and when I put up a picture of their work at this point it simply means a picture of whether they followed the colouring instructions or not. I am certain that if I had the students doing any writing that I would ask their parents permission first because then I believe that credit should be given to the one who did the work.
      Thanks again for the comment. It has given me much to think about.

      • Honni- our school has a media release form that is signed each year that covers blogs, and this year thinking this was going to be what I would do my class project on, I made sure I mentioned the class blog at my parent night and if they had any concerns to come talk to me. I am going to be using my blog as a communication tool between home and school so I will be posting pictures and videos of work and growth throughout the year, but the site I am using will only be able to be viewed if the parents are logged in, not by the general public! PS Kathy I love your blog, it was one of the reasons I believed blogging could be possible with primary students.

      • Sorry, Honi, I somehow didn’t get an email about your comment and questions.
        I am asked about parent permission a lot. I recently wrote a blog post about this very issue.
        http://primarypreoccupation.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/students-posting-online-how-do-you-do-that/ I hope it answers your questions about what I do.

  5. This is certainly a topic of discussion at my school. The “powers that be” are trying to decide how public we want our students. Should we have our classroom blogs open to the public? I would never post the children’s names, but I can definitely see the benefit of learning and sharing with classes and children around the world through social media. I would love for my students to be able to post comments on our class blog, share projects with other classes through blogging, and use Twitter to connect further.
    These are great discussions. I, personally, don’t see the need for parental permission if the children’s identity is not given, especially when Twitter is only used through the teacher.

  6. Thank you for sharing the article you found! It definately got me thinking too! Before this class I had no interest in being on twitter, let alone would I thought of using it with primary age students, but many of the benefits that have been listed above are great reasons to use it!

  7. Hi Honni,

    Here is a Google Preso I made of how you can use Twitter in Schools:
    https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=df53pngd_108ch7kqffw

    Syl

  8. Hi Honni,

    I teach senior IB English and have been using Twitter for two and a half weeks in that course. So far, students have been asked to tweet outside of class time on a number of topics related to our study of Hamlet: reaction to scenes, examples of figurative language, predictions, comments from a character’s perspective, speculation on emerging themes, etc. They have also been asked to react to each others tweets. I am still learning about uses for this tool, and have been interested in how it has been used in unexpected ways.

    The first week, one student tweeted a link to No Fear Shakespeare. At first, I was apalled. On reflection, I realized that many used it in any case and I retweeted it and made it required reading for a few days. This allowed us to dispense with plot discussions and move, in class, to higher order tasks like an analysis of Shapespeare’s use of rhythm, syntax, punctuation, imagery and so on. Another student didn’t like the assigned film version one evening and tweeted links to an alternate production. This just made for richer discussion the next day. Students are starting to answer questions posted by their peers via Twitter, before I could get to them.

    So our use of Twitter is evolving, and will look completely different in a month, I suspect. But so far I can say that students are more engaged, more accountable, and more present in our study of the play. And they are being more open about how they really learn and organize their work. I’ll also mention that I use a different account for teaching than for my own PLN. All of my students in each section follow me and each other. We use class hashtags, and multi-section, course-wide ones for questions.

    I hope this helps.

    Craig
    Twitter: @CraigJollymore

  9. And oops – I just realized that you are interested in kindergarden classrooms! One challenge I face these days is that there is so much information to read that I skim too quickly sometimes. I came across your request for help via someone I follow on Twitter.

  10. Hi Honni! To clarify a little – the first article you mentioned (the parentcentral one) was actually about MY classroom! I started using twitter in kindergarten last year, and blogged about it in much more detail here: http://missnightmutters.blogspot.com/2011/02/to-tweet-or-not-to-tweet.html and here: http://missnightmutters.blogspot.com/2011/03/i-heard-them-say-love-is-way.html. Please let me know if you have more questions, I’m happy to answer them. I think you already follow #kinderchat on twitter – there are several kindergarten teachers there who are also tweeting with their classrooms. If you don’t know #kinderchat, you can read more about us here: http://kinderchat-kinderchat.blogspot.com/

    To answer your questions about consent: the use of twitter in my classroom was covered by my school’s technology policy. I did get a special consent from parents to cover the possibility of sharing photos and videos of the children with our “twitter friends.” Because it was the first time our school had embarked on a social-media based project, we wanted to be very transparent and make sure parents were fully informed about what we were doing. My administrators were COMPLETELY supportive of the project, and I had NO trouble getting parent consent, especially once parents learned they could follow our class account, too. This year, i may also offer a “Twitter for parents” course one evening.

    I am working on a response to Mr. Tucker’s post. While I feel he was thoughtful in his criticism, none of his arguments surprised me, and all are things I have encountered before. A lot of it comes down to different definitions of acceptable risk. I promise to tweet the link to my response as soon as it is posted! Sorry to ramble on so long, I hope all of this is helpful!

    • Thanks for the comment! The links you sent were great. This is something that I find intriguing but a little daunting for me at this point. I have only been on Twitter for a little over two weeks now but I am finding it a valuable resource. I am hoping to be able to follow the #kinderchat tomorrow (if I can find the time). I appreciate the offer of help if I need it. I might just take you up on that.

  11. […] this week I blogged on the topic of Twitter in the classroom (click here to read this post). This continues to be of interest to me however I am still so new at Twitter that […]

  12. I am using Twitter in a kindergarten class. These posts might help:
    Tweeting as a collaborative writing engagement: http://bit.ly/v8QX6x
    Kindergarten students connecting around the world: http://bit.ly/sP41NL

    • Thanks for the links. I have found your blog very useful in the past and I recently came across another post that you wrote. I can’t wait to try this project out for myself in the future. I find what you and others are doing so inspirational and beneficial for young students. Keep up the good work.

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