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Twitter 40404
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Twitter Captures Thoughts and Ideas:
Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a great tool for schools to use to share interesting and relevant information with the student body, staff, parents and family. It also provides a terrific way to get an unlimited stream of feedback from students and teachers on any subject. No software to download and even with just one teacher cell phone per class, contributions can be done and modeled anywhere, anytime. Twitter has become such a popular tool because it asks one question, "What's happening?" Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web. Like texting, the beauty of Twitter's is that its core technology is a device agnostic system that lets the masses participate. Because of this, with just a cell phone in hand, Twitter makes it easy for folks to stay connected...even if all they have at their finger tips is sms.
Ideas for Educators Using Twitter

1) Tweet at Conferences or Professional Development
If school staff are attending a conference or professional development activity they tweet reflections, favorite quotes, or reactions to what they're learning. I recently worked with a group of educators at a conference where we set up Twitter accounts which they used passively to follow the goings on of the conference using the conference tag for the first two days. By day three most school leaders were also contributing tweets that included instant reflections of what they learned that they planned to bring back to their schools. We could all see one another's Tweets as we used a special tag for our group. Because we used tags Tweets were captured and available for present and future reflecting. It also provided all leaders with access to see what their colleagues are thinking and doing, allowing them to further connect and collaborate. Here are some examples of their Tweets where they were reflecting on what they learned and would bring back to their school.
  • Introduce digital writing portfolios through student blogs
  • Learn and share Google secrets by going to http://tinyurl.com/nwyeey
  • Use twitter and google docs to promote a sense of community that can be extended outside of school
  • Teachers can tweet homework assignments
  • Have students create tutorials using Screencasting. (mathtrain.tv)
  • Use Google Docs to construct grade level planning conference agendas and collaboratively write lesson plans

2) Schools Tweet Current Events
School staff can tweet interesting announcements, updates, and activities at any time into the school account. This can be fed right into a school website providing the school community, parents, and more with an ongoing stream of updates about school happenings. See how two schools do this at www.martavalle.org and www.kurthahnschool.org.

3) Classes Tweet Current Events
Use your class, library, or lab twitter account to share news and information with your students and teachers. For a great example of how this is done, follow Tracy Karas of Marta Valle High School in New York City at http://twitter.com/MartaVLibrary. Here are some sample Tweets from Ms. Karas's library:
Ideas for using Twitter with students

1) Student Reporters During School Events
At Marta Valle High School they held an innovation fair celebrating the successes of the innovative work teachers are doing with their students. Some students were selected as fair reporters. These students interviewed attendees with the question, "Please tell me in 140 characters or less what has impressed you most about what you've seen at our innovation fair." Students tweeted the responses using their school tag. The Twitter feed could be seen on monitors throughout the school using http://twitterfall.com, and on their school website using an rss feed. This provided a unique way to capture their school celebration publicly and provided recognition of the work students were doing in an exciting way which they could share with their parents.

2) Capture Reflections During Field Trips
Text to capture reflections during field trips. If you're in a school where cells are banned, you may be able to have students bring them on field trips. If that is not allowed, the chaperon's devices can be used. Rather than have students walk around taking notes. Have them Tweet their reflections. You can set up a tag for your tweets if the place you are visiting doesn't already have one. Give parents the feed and they'll instantly know what their child did at school today and can have robust conversations about it. When students are back at home and/or school a review of the tweets could lead to powerful conversation or could serve as a launch for further study i.e. pick the most interesting tweet or set of tweets and create something to share with others about the topic you are tweeting about. This could be a podcast, video, blog post, etc. These digital creations can all be posted in one place as a reflection collection and even shared on the website of the school and place visited.

3) Student Tweet of the Day or Week
Have students do a daily or weekly tweet about something that day. In his post “What Did You Create Today?” (http://weblogg-ed.com 08/22/09), Will Richardson shares some great possibilities that could be used in a daily tweet: What did you teach others? What unanswered questions are you struggling with? How did you change the world in some small (or big) way? What’s something your teachers learned today? What did you share with the world? Not only is this a great way for teachers to have a sense of what is going on with their students, it also provides students with a way to connect with each other and their parents.

4) Capture Student Voice During Class Lectures
Use Twitter as a tool to capture student voice by having them respond to class lectures using Twitter. Texas educator Dr. Rankin had a tremendous amount of success with this noting how much more engaged students were during lessons, how they were able to make meaning in new ways, and her students note how this has really helped more students develop and share ideas. Hear from the teachers and students directly at http://tinyurl.com/TwitterinEdVideo.

===Five Reasons Why English Teachers Should Use Twitter===
Audience Response
Cell Phone ToolsStudent Response Systems | Google Voice | Google SMS | ChaCha | Voki | Twitter

Laptop Tools
Video Conferencing | Online Bulletin Board | Google Translate | Screen Capture Recording | Book Glutton | Etherpad


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