When I first signed up for Twitter, I thought that it would be a good way for family back home to keep tabs on the tiny details of our lives overseas. When the Learning 2.0 Conference was held in Shanghai in the fall of 2007, I started to see Twitter’s other uses because of all my new “friends.” I would occasionally pop into conversations, but mostly I would watch to see what people were saying to each other. Over the past month, I have especially learned a lot from the people that take time to share the latest and greatest technology ideas. I am still trying to think of the best way to Twitter.

I created a school Twitter account and put a badge on my school blog so mostly for parents. Teaching is now just about teaching as we do a lot behind the scenes to educate well rounded kids. If I am working with my fellow math teachers to write a final exam, I put it on Twitter. If I work with the PE department to coordinate an activity day with a wiki before our China Alive trip to Yangshuo, I put it on Twitter. If we go to great assemblies, if kids ask great questions in class, if I’m planning next year’s Open House already… I put it on Twitter for the community to see through my blog.

I’m now trying to think of a way for Twitter to be useful for my students. Brian Lockwood of Yokohama International School had his kids create Twitter accounts and he gives them direction throughout classes via Twitter, often including links with each message. I really like this idea and I’m a “friend” to YIS student Twitter account so that I can learn with them.

Next week, my students will be creating a Twitter account in their math classes. As we prepare for the final exam on May 27, I’ve decided to have Twitter Hour as we lead up to the exam. I envision kids hoping on Twitter from home and posting their questions as they have them while we are all working on one topic for review. The kids are finding cool video tutorials and come up with creative ways to memorize formulas and Twitter just may be the avenue to share their ideas.

I’ll give this a go and report back to you after my first Twitter hour. Who knows? This may end up being a bust, but I have a sneaking suspicion that some of my math kids will be fellow tweets before too long!

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2 Comments to “Making Connections Through Twitter”

  1. Simon says:

    It makes so much sense Amanda, it certainly gives the old “write down your homework buddies phone number and call them if you’re stuck.” When kids have a question they could have up to 60 people knowing the right answer and all of them ready to pounce with it!
    I like having twitter on my netvibes page and am just about out of “Beta mode” and connecting to a wider audience. I am trying out friendfeed too as they are extremely useful educational tools. My kids lost the spark with Netcipia last week as Internet slowed to a snails pace unable to keep up with the digital natives!

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for including my class’s use of twitter. A quick update, the class twitter account is quiet now, as students are studying for their exams.

    For the few weeks we used twitter, it was more collaborative than email. It was simple for others around the world to be part of the class. I liked it because I didn’t have to organize anything, it just built it self up organically.

    We had a lot of fun linking in activities. At one point I rick rolled the class. It was a two part tweet, first one I directed them to check out the link (that was the rick roll), second part was tweeting back what action I had done. It’s not an answer you can get by just viewing the link, there some higher level searching skills involved.

    Next year, I plan on continueing to experiment with it’s use. Using it as a communications / blog directory tool. I’m interest in seeing if twitter has the same power of building communities organically as it has had on teachers.

    The fact I’m commenting on this blog is because of an organic twitter community which evolved in this last month. That’s what I call rapid deployment. Exciting, isn’t it?