WHAT IS IT?
Twitter is a blog that anyone can write and publish to the general public. It allows one to "Tweet" to individuals (@usernames) and groups (# called hashtags), and include links and images. All this has to be done in 140 characters--which puts this in the category of "microblogging." Words have to be carefully chosen and links can be shortened to save characters with URL shorteners eg. bit.ly
, etc. A recent announcement by Twitter says that soon usernames (@_______), quoted tweets, photos, and other media attachments WILL NOT count against your 140. Read it http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/24/11755416/twitter-removes-140-characters-l...
People who follow you should be thanked, helpful tweets that should be broadcasted to your followers should be "Retweeted"--and all kinds of other functions and "Twitterquette" can be learned. "Tweets" can be embedded in your wiki (see a sample http://twitterpdconversations.wikispaces.com
). A Twitter "feed" or stream of tweets by hashtag or usernames, etc. can be embedded as a widget in your wiki (http://mediasmarts-k12-nwt.wikispaces.com
Note: the wiki may not be optimized for tablet viewer), Web site, and blog, extending the "broadcasting" of helpful information. Learn more about Twitter in education https://storify.com/blakewile/twitter-for-education
. Watch a short HaikuDeck about teachers and Twitter http://ow.ly/BiPHY
WHAT IS TWITTER'S VALUE TO EDUCATION?
If you are already sold on Twitter' s use in education, go straight to the Further Learning section at the bottom to see among others, one very active Twitterer's tips on how to integrate Twitter in education, Alice Keeler.
Teachers should use Twitter for professional development. You may find that you'll read more than usual as you follow up links, explore discussion groups, receive thought-provoking, forward-looking inspiration. Eventually you may find yourself understanding something better or differently as you get to the heart of the matter in only 140 characters! Each day someone will tweet something that you may decide to curate toward a topic you are studying or "Storifying" (see that slide in this Haiku Deck). You will receive recommendations in your email for who to follow based on your interests (eg. the author of this deck follows @marcprensky and participates in the #edtech group; you name it...). As you regularly participate by reading the tweets of those you follow, you will want to start contributing yourself. Soon others will be following you. Thank them.
What kind of things are teachers tweeting about? See a list of Twitter educators by subject area (2014) http://alicekeeler.com/2014/04/21/a-list-of-twitter-educators-by-subject-ar...
Join a network of Twitterer's by participating in a Twitter chat.
Learn more: http://alicekeeler.com/2014/11/01/participating-in-a-twitter-chat/
See a chat in Canada (notice how the # topic and date gets announced)https://mobile.twitter.com/mbedchat?lang=en
See one of the largest education chats: #edchat http://edchat.pbworks.com/w/page/219908/FrontPage
and an instructional piece about thathttp://twitterpdconversations.wikispaces.com
Consider the Twitter networks you could join.
Teachers should use Twitter for student learning. Students can make their understanding of a topic available to the world, hence an authentic audience. This is done by including their Tweet in a relevant hashtag group (eg. #smallcommunity) or creating their own group (eg. #nwtleader). Twitter could be part of the criteria for an inquiry. This criteria could be co-created to include: number of Tweets on topic, number of valuable Retweets, number of conversations had with other relevant Tweeters, number of pertinent links shared, number of appropriate groups included in a Tweet, number of relevant images uploaded, etc..
Also very creatively, Twitter is being used to tell stories. Explore these at TED talks (Andrew Fitzgerald "Adventures in Twitter Fiction"), at http://ow.ly/rX4ux
CLASSROOM IMPLEMENTATION CONSIDERATIONS & OPTIONS:
A) Children under 13 are not to create a Twitter account because of privacy issues. But on such a ubiquitous platform with such potential for learning, should teachers of younger students more or less ignore Twitter? One teacher has used an analog approach to Twitter to model the thinking behind Twitter interactions (read more about his experience http://ow.ly/IKvSm
B) Children 13 and over can create an account subject to the school's acceptable use policies and parental permission. However, it is highly advisable for students to create their accounts at home under parent supervision of the information requested for membership.
C) The teacher starts and maintains a classroom account with a specific persona and brand. The persona should be of a formal, educative, professional voice. That voice will Tweet observations, learning, links, and conversations with others within that virtual interest community, over the years and across the coming and going of classes of students--as long as that teacher wants to maintain the account! That voice will "sound" youthful quite often because the teacher is a coach of younger learners who will participate in Tweeting. This may be complex at first as one tries to meet the persona's criteria of being formal, educative, and professional. Words and phrases such as "we", "the students", "our group" will likely appear often. Or in Twitter's 140 character environment, subject words may often be dispensed with in favor of directly beginning with verbs, "Discovered...", "Noticed...", "Questioned..." Of course Retweeting is easy enough, as well as announcing information by including links.
For example if your persona includes attention to environmental science, your community ought to announce the installation of say, your region's new wind turbines. Your tweet could look like this:
2 Turbines-1200 homes ow.ly/25pf303b5Vg
#windturbines #energyefficiency @SNSudents #northernstudents pic: ow.ly/AjDt303b38e
Let's consider what educational goals are accomplished with these, at present, 160 characters that include the pic (of a wind turbine) that was also chosen to headline this slide. (Soon these 160 would be roughly equivalent to 126 characters when pictures, etc. no longer count against your total characters count):
1) the Tweet starts with a headline (developing these is good language arts practice)
2) the link (which may not work on your tablet) https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/07/09/one-turbine-approved-at-whynotts...
was shortened to http://ow.ly/25pf303b5Vg
(by using a URL shortener called ow.ly
) for the purpose of reducing characters. The shortened link itself was shortened further by dropping the http:// for aesthetic reasons although it didn't lessen the character count.
3) the first and second hashtags (#windturbines #energyefficiency) are the specific virtual community of people (find them through the Twitter search field) interested in everything to do with wind turbines and better use of energy. You and your science students might want to be a voice in those communities. Members of those communities may follow your brand (account, identity, etc.) on Twitter because you have such helpful Tweets. They do this by pressing "Follow" when visiting your account. All accounts begin with "@". Perhaps your account is @paws4science or @sciencehere or @weknowscience, or whatever best and cleverly identifies your brand.
4) Why do you include a specific account by using @SNSudents in your Tweet? This account holder is such a strong voice for science that you want to specifically include them in your Tweet. This does three things at least:
a. Your followers see your helpful mentioning of @SNSudents . They may want to explore and follow that brand as well.
b. @SNSudents sees you as someone who mentioned them and may check you out and decide to follow you. If that happens, you will show up in their list of followers that everyone else sees. Others who respect @SNSudents may follow you just because @SNSudents follows you!
c. @SNSudents may decide to Retweet your Tweet to all their many followers, thus getting your helpful brand out there for more potential followers and conversations.
5) This tweet takes the lead on starting a conversation space. When you create a new hashtag (#northernstudents) you and your students are essentially carving a space for students to develop their northern identities as active citizens. This space can be a goto place for any circumpolar student in any discipline who is sharing learning. NOTE: this hashtag was not yet used when this HaikuDeck was written
6) Finally, the necessary credit is given for the use of the picture attached to the tweet in the form of a shortened link back to the picture within the author's Flickr photostream.
D) Plan for full gatekeeping and educative measures for student Tweeters. As mentioned on slide 2, start in September using a Word template for Tweets with which students can practice their passionate interests (download it http://ow.ly/zuElk
). For a better understanding of how much can be said in 140 characters, direct students to use a free character counter (see it http://ow.ly/zuHp6
). Once each student has settled on their Tweets, post them--under both teacher and student's watchful eyes. Perhaps use mock Twitter accounts already described and linked in the "Safe Passage" slide (2nd slide) of this deck.
E) Start small. Let's back up a bit. Teachers and students do not have to have an account in order to read Tweets within a community (#) or to read what an individual is Tweeting (@). Twitter can be a research tool by using the magnifying glass in the top right corner at Twitter. Troll the Tweets for links that Tweeters provide. You simply wouldn't have the time to find all the good information (blogs, news stories, Web sites, etc.) out there yourself--but the hashtag ' group' has the time! You only need an account for when you decide to start participating by "Tweeting."
F) Encourage the school board to embed significant student and teacher tweets on the district's Web site or the principal on the school's Web site.
G) Learning can be communicated to a live audience (eg. class, staff meeting, assembly, etc. ) by projecting the tweets and conversations through any Web-enabled device.
H) Involve parents. Parents may not know much about social media. Provide helpful links that will grow your and their knowledge about Twitter. Notice the opportunities mentioned for parents to become involved in Twitter conversations about education:
WHEN THINGS GO REALLY WRONG IN YOUR TWITTER NETWORK
Students bullying teachers: A new epidemic (2015). https://nobullying.com/students-bullying-teachers-a-new-epidemic/
Pushing against incivility (2015). http://www.teachingquality.org/content/blogs/bill-ferriter/pushing-against-...
Reporting abusive behavior - by Twitter Help Center (2016). (Eg. How do I file a report that someone is Tweeting abusive messages?; what should I do if I receive a violent threat? Etc.) https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169998
Did you tweet something and change your mind? https://support.twitter.com/articles/18906
Restricting specific accounts from contacting them, seeing their Tweets, and following them https://support.twitter.com/articles/117063
- Why a class Twitter Account? (2015) http://alicekeeler.com/2015/09/16/why-a-class-twitter-account/
- Trick for Creating a Class Twitter (2015) http://alicekeeler.com/2015/08/13/trick-for-creating-a-class-twitter/
- Class Twitter Account: How your students can tweet (2015) http://alicekeeler.com/2015/08/12/class-twitter-account-how-your-students-c...
-Network by adding your class Twitter account to a spreadsheet:https://mobile.twitter.com/alicekeeler/status/660559223797878784
- Facilitating signing up teachers onto Twitter (2016)https://mobile.twitter.com/alicekeeler/status/728954321786818560
-Overview: Wikipedia article on Twitter (2014) http://ow.ly/yXG9V
-A Parent's Guide to Twitter and Education (2012) http://ow.ly/yXDhU
-Twitter's own support for parents http://ow.ly/yXzKZ
-Parent's Guide to Twitter (printable PDF brochure) (2012) http://ow.ly/yXEyY
-A Parent's Guide to Twitter from education.com
-Twitter: 23 things parents should know before their kids start tweeting (2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/21/twitter-23-things-parents_n_4136337...