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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they don't care what the kids are doing outside of school. I'm old enough to not really care what kids are doing outside of school either; they may be smoking dope and doing jello shots but doesn't mean I'm going to
I agree Nancy, I wouldn't be smoking dope or doing the shots but I'd be working hard, in whatever capacity I could, to help those kids so that they weren't coming to school suffering the affects from the dope or the shots and trying to get them to the point where they could face the day without the dope or the shots. Especially if they're leaving at noon and doing that. I agree that we need to teach the kids reading but, and this is just my bias, kids tend to pick up on their reading mistakes when they hear themselves read and that is why we use a record and listen program to help student improve their reading, sight word recognition, fluency and comprehension. It is showing some promising results, especially with students with learning disabilities and those students who are gifted and need a challenge.

I DO care about what kids are doing outside of school because if they arrive without food or with no sleep or stoned or drunk or beatup or...., they cannot learn and, as has been shown, it's not the environment that they come from that affects students learning as much as it is what we do once they get to school. Any advantage I can get that will allow the teachers in my building to be successful with students, I'm exploring and trying. If twitter allows my students to communicate and work collaboratively AND they use it outside school, then that's wonderful. As for the "classic" education, I'm not even sure what that is anymore. I watch young students learn their alphabet through the use of the keyboard, who learn letter sounds and word recognition through interactive use of games and activities which are used in conjunction with other strategies, giving students a richer learning experience which is further enriched by an adult who cares for them, not just as a student in the school but as a person with needs.
As for getting in touch with them, sometimes I have to get in touch with them in order to keep them in the building. No stay, no learning.
As for sitting around thinking of ways to use technology, I don't. The technology tools are there and I use them as strategies like I would drill and practice, reading circles, ability grouping and others. Depends what I was trying to do. Just for fun, I sometimes offer students an option and let them pick how they want to attack a problem or create a solution. Best creation yet, a model with a recorder and a screen that played video depicting Nazi Germany and the concentration camps done by a grade 9 student 5 or 6 years ago.
I guess I too get grumpy and tired, especially after a day of trying to make kids timetables work, finding online courses for students so they can have enough credits to graduate, working with an ADHD student who had problems in a "classic" lecture period and dealing with five future soccer stars who acted more like the crazed soccer crowd than the players. I also get to hear my own children discuss their "engagement" when a teacher uses a strategy, classic or neo, that doesn't work.
I won't argue technologies. I will, however, take a very firm stand on finding what's best for students. To me, disregarding their lives outside of school is as awful as disregarding the lives of the teachers outside of school. No one turns on at 8:55 and off at 3:30. Thankfully. I don't expect a teacher who's child or parent is ill or dying to be at their best just as I don't expect a student who slept in an unheated abandoned car to be at theirs. When teachers quit caring what students are doing outside of school, what's the point?
You are much more articulate that I---when I said I didn't care what kids did after school I meant technology wise. I don't care if kids are texting (is that a word?), twittering or playing WOW. I feel like some times we cowtow (is that a word?) to kids to try to find that hook and bring it into the classroom. As far as social/emotional issues are concerned I completely agree they are relevant, but we can't continue to use those issues as a crutch to not include those kids in the learning process. When I talk of classical education, I do have a vision of what that means. I want my students to take with them into adulthood a body of knowledge that will serve them well, help them problem solve and make decisions; to speak articulately about interesting topics. So much of that is defined in the 21st Century Skills.

Do I think schools are right on educating kids today, heck no. I think there are huge issues dealing with curriculum, learning profiles, lack of academic rigor, differentiating for all learners, high stakes testing, scheduling, etc. I hope as you continue to work you can help solve some of this issues..my only point was technology is a tool. It is not going to make up for lack of good teaching or good curriculum, it's not going to help overcome issues happening outside of school. Kids need a rich, real and relevant curriculum taught at their pace, in a way they can learn. If technology helps--so be it. But in this forum and educational technology blogs I read people sound like they think technology is the end all and be all for solving problems in the schools today and it's not.

Years ago I heard Carol Tomlinson, the differentiation guru from University of Va., say "You can't differentiate FOG". I feel the same way about technology, you can print it, paint it, twitter it, and post it to online file storage but if there is no content there is no content. OK---did I ramble enough and get off point? I totally, 100% agree with what you said and I've added my 2 cents worth (more like $5.00). Did I make any sense at all? It's 7:00 in the morning!!

PS You might like to take a look at our latest tech related project http://connections.smsd.org/csi We also have a very vibrant blog http://areallydifferentplace.org, 3 online book discussions using Moddle, 5 wikis, I use technology everyday with my students---I'm not a luddite; just frustrated with lack of technology integration across my district and the "famous" educational technologists saying if you just "twitter it" or blog about it, it'll all fall into place. ...now I am rambling. Later, N
You are all far more experienced than I, but if you look at the most recent MacArthur Studies about digital youth, you will see their concern is the same as mine. The more we ignore how they communicate out of school, the more school becomes a foreign environment to them. The vast discrepancy between how they learn on their own and how they are taught in school is growing every year. I think trying to communicate in a way they would communicate outside of school can only be a help. They are used to always on communication, instant feedback, etc - is it possible to provide that in school? I think so - but it takes work and time and I understand the other points of view on this board. There is no doubt in my mind though that students will tune out more and more as the years go on. I hear more and more about kids being kept at home and doing work at online charter schools because it's "how they learn best." There are alternatives and the more the divide grows, the more the parents will grow concerned that and look at those alternatives. Just one opinion. Everyone learns differently.
Hi - I made a post on my blog recently regarding twitter - a micro tool with macro power - after a little experiment I conducted and my personal use/experience. The Link and title/byline etc below. Hope you enjoy, would appreciate feedback, comments etc and also links to your own sites, where there are other experiences that others would benefit from hearing about.
Jacinta Believes Social Networking Tools Rock: Let's Rock Together!
A Journey and Exploration of Social Networking Tools and Gadgets in a Learning Context! Current, Predicted, Future.
Take a journey into the unknown, Web 1.0, 2.0,3.0,??? Excite, Enjoy, Innovate
"To allow fear to be in control of one's life, is to limit oneself and all around you.
Connect with your children, with your learners. Understand them, understand their worlds and grow with them, not against them".
Easy Explaination of Twitter by Common Craft...
http://classroomnext.blogspot.com/2009/06/twitter-easy-explanation....

dg
Hi All,

I feel a bit behind-the-times replying to this thread, as it seems as though the discussion stopped a while ago... It would be interesting to see what the updated thoughts and opinions are now, given that Twitter itself, as well as its uses, have vastly expanded and matured since the original post.

I only started using Twitter a relatively short while ago and to be honest, although I am not an educator myself, I couldn't immediately see the educational potential that it has. I use Twittter to follow interesting educators, technologists, projects and edubloggers, and to pick up on themes and trends as they are emerging. Whilst it may not be directly appropriate for classroom use or for adoption by younger pupils, I can definitely see how it could help to develop a mentality and a culture of research and collaboration in an individual, if used in the right way.


I find myself following Twitter not jsut to see what other people are doing at any given moment, but to follow the themes that they are posting about, to read an interesting or thought-provoking article that they publish or link to, or to collaborate on or contribute to a project or topic of mutual interest. And the more I do these things, the more things I find to observe or be involved with as the leads never lead to a dead-end. So it has started a self-replicating cycle of research and collaboration that I am loathed to abandon.

I would welcome any thoughts, objections or comments on this if anyone has any!
Hey Ben,

I came across your comment re: twitter as I was looking around C2.0 for the first time.

In my recently posted introduction I intimated to the same idea - I was wary of twitter to start with, 'lurking' rather than posting. As I found and followed more and more educators (mostly UK-based), I began to pick up on the themes of their explorations and follow links to interesting blogs and resources.

Now I feel that the PLN that I have started to listen to (and make a few contributions to, I hope!) is a very valuable part of my professional practice and development.

Best wishes

Paul
I have begun developing Twitter resources for English/language arts. These resources provide questions that students would answer in 140 characters or less on Twitter. The questions are also posted on Twitter. Certainly many teachers could write these kinds of questions but to see examples of my work visit: http://www.pass-ed.com/wheretheredferngrows.html

Andrew Pass
I did a great lesson this week with Twitter. The chapter we are in has a rather long vocabulary list. I assigned each student three words from the list. They had to get the definition and then tweet them to me. I collected them all using twitterfall . In order to get the student's responses to show up on my twitter fall, I had them add a hash tag. (# plus an identifying phrases. for example, --#fravan.) They loved it, when all were posted, I copied and pasted the responses into a word document, made copies and distributed. Everyone. had all the words. I wish I could claim the credit for this super idea but, I got the idea from Teacher paperless He has a lot of good ideas on his blog.
Looks like you have had plenty of feedback here, Jeff. I too wondered about this tool and what to make of it. My initial use has been to embed my twitter account posts in my class Moodle site for last minute ideas during the day beyond the classroom. It's quick and easy from my desk, laptop or phone.

1. It is called Tweeting and anyone who has a Twitter account can see your Tweets, unless you lock your account, in which case only your followers (who you approve to follow you) can read them.

2. On Twitter you have followers. If you follow someone you can see all of their tweets either on your phone or computer. If someone follows you, they can see all of your tweets. You can follow someone without then following you back.

3. To follow a person on Twitter, just search for them, click on their name and then click the follow button.

4. You could use this for education by having faster up to date information, like if class gets cancelled or if assignments change. Most phones can have Tweets sent right to them so as long as all of your students have phones and a Twitter account you are golden.

5. Twitter is like a company, so you capitalize it like you would for fast food chains or any other company.

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