OK, I'm sure someone here can enlighten me. Twitter. Not sure I get it.

My questions about Twitter:

1. When I Twitter (is that the right terminology, or should i say "Twit"), who sees it?
2. Exactly what does it mean to be a ‘friend’ on Twitter?
3. How do I subscribe to a friend’s Twitters (again, is it Twit)?
4. Any educational uses?
5. Should Twitter be capitalized, as I have been doing?

Tags: Twitter, microblogging

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Thanks for the Twitter info, Sylvia. When a technology/service gets such buzz, I always want to try to understand it. The beauty is when the collective brain power of people start tinkering with it and come up with unintended uses that are really cool. I read about somebody using Twitter to send out the first line of books, with links to Amazon so people can see if they guessed the book name correctly (and maybe buy it). The best is yet to come!

Hope all is well with you.

Jeff
Hi all, I too have been wondering about twitter and like others have set up an account - you know just to see what it is and how it works. I could see it being useful during class, let's say if students were doing some kind of research - they could send quick recommendations and links for the others on their list. I've saved a few links to posts on the subject I'll see if I can find them.
The more I play with it, I envision a twitter on the front page of our class blog or on our website informing the kids of an upcoming event or assignment, or perhaps just a friendly reminder that their teachers are frustrated by the lack of missing pencils from the share jar. We could also have a twitter job as part of our responsible classroom. He/she would be responsible for updating the classroom twitter. Would we call that poor kid a twit or have we changed the definition of twit now forever? LOL
Hi Christine - I like the idea of calling the "poor kid" a twit..............
I think you hit it on the head. I have the same vision. There are many time where I would like to make an announcement & remind students of things without waiting until the next class or sending a mass email. I am setting up a course site with RSS feed on the home page from my twitter page to act as reminders to students. Even though the courses do not start until September, I'm playing with it now for practice. So are you still using twitter in the class?
hi Jeff, I just started using Twitter this summer, and it is a real delight! very simple, fun, easy. what I will be using it for in terms of classes is just in letting students "see" what I do in my online life. since all my courses are 100% online, my students are used to interacting with me online - through websites and blogs up till now, but Twitter is a great addition to that repertoire.

I think a big part of what teachers do for students is be a kind of "role model" - by sharing with the students what I am reading, films that I watch, music, materials I publish online, etc., they get to satisfy their curiosity about their "virtual teacher."

plus, I am hoping that they will get excited about Twitter themselves. for folks in class who want to Twitter, I'll be putting up a list of links to people's Twitter pages - I like that it's not behind the password-protected wall of Facebook. since they are all seriously into Facebook already, I'm not sure if they will want to do the Twitter thing too, but you never know... and just as students are curious about me, their teacher, I am curious about them too! it's a fun, non-threatening, and nicely self-limiting way to get to know people online.

so here's me, Online Course Lady: http://twitter.com/OnlineCrsLady - as someone who used to teach in the classroom, to me it feels like the kind of chit-chat, important AND fun, which can go in class before the class period "officially" beings... :-)
Twitter is only one part of the triangle of micro blogging sites. The others are Jaiku and Pownce. Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce are all micro-blog type apps but each has different freatures. Pownce is good as an email replacement for talking with a group of 'friends', sharing files, links and events. Twitter and Jaiku are good for blogging what you are doing, even using your phone, plus checking on your friends. Jaiku has a 'channel' feature that is good for groups to talk together on a topic (like a mini forum). Jaiku also lets you import all your feeds from other web2.0 sites like flickr, blogger, twitter etc ... so people can see links to all your web updates in one place.
in reply to Edi,
You can use it with your cell phone, and you can put little twitter widgets on pages to make it easier to use.
I used it in a web2.0 grad school course this summer, and it really didn't turn out to be a very important tool, but it was fun. Our whole class joined, but by week 5, most of the students had stopped twittering. But if anyone was having a bad day, they could twitter, and instantly get some warm and fuzzy feedback.
I for one agree with Nancy above. If I'm teaching a class, I'd prefer that my students not be sitting there Twittering one another. At the same time, I won't be Twittering if one of my students is leading the discussion. I won't talk over you please don't talk over me. I've got a right to speak and so do you.
Well finally, some support!! Sometimes I think I'm spitting in thw wind when i question the usage of certain tools in the classroom. I'm 100% technology literate (OK 80%) I use it all the time but my main focus is to educate students with a rigorous, rich and relevant curriculum, about the world around then and give them skills they can use in life. Do I seem like an old fuddy duddy? OK--three years until retirement but in the 25 years I've taught I've never not wanted to go to school. Double negative. Later. N
Well, I don't think you're a Luddite, I think you are deluding yourself about the how much rapt attention is paid to lectures:

1. By adults who in many of the professional meetings I've attended in education and working in a Fortune 500 company are not sitting on the edge of their seats. In larger meetings this has involved some note passing if only to try to make sense of what is being shared by collaborating with peers.
2. By students. You have no note passing in your classes? At all. Ever? At least there's a public record in twitter. If they aren't passing notes, that suggests that you are giving them ample opportunity to check in with each other about what they are being taught, and more importantly, what they are learning. Twitter could just be another platform for this.

Twitter does not create any new "problems" it is a new platform for a pre-existing communication dynamic. The question in my mind is, can it be leveraged for a more on-task discussion?
No, I don't have note passing; of course I don't teach in a regular classroom setting. I also don't spend hours lecturing to my students. They read, discuss, collaborate, draw, design, write, compute, laugh and fool around. I'll continue to explore ways in which tools can be used in learning in my style and you will in yours. Have a great school year...one more day for me!!

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