OK, so I'm new to the twitter world ... a lot of us are a little slow on the uptake down in Australia (particularly rural Australia). I was wondering though, has anyone started using Twitter with their students - i.e. got them all Twitter accounts then encouraged them to follow one another and use it as a social networking / Q&A session outside of school? I'm sure there's issues a plenty (particularly as I'd consider doing it with my primary school grade 4/5 students - that's 10-11 year olds) re privacy and seeing as others outside of the school environment can start following them, but I'm sure someone must have considered all this beforehand. Many of my kids are on msn messenger anyway, so could Twitter be any worse, particularly as I could be following each of my students and thus checking on what they're putting out there.

Anyway, interested in other's thoughts. Let me know if you've tried (and failed or otherwise) before I jump in the deep end myself.

Dave Clift.
Woodford Primary School.

Tags: blog, student_use, twitter, web2.0

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IMHO kids (even our very young) don't need Twitter--they already have a lock on successful use if IM, text messaging w/ cell phones, and the Social Networking avenues. Let's not make Twitter "schooly." Just my opinion....

Great food for thought though.
The South Australian Dept of Ed would probably suggest not to use Twitter, given their response to Al Uptons mini legends' class blog. One of the issues is that blogs and other social networking may reveal too much info about individuals.
Update to this comment. MiniLegends lives on. See: http://minilegends.edublogs.org/
I agree that twitter is not really the forum for your students. Paul Allison started a site for students called youth twitter, or how about networking on wikispaces? It can do all of the things you are asking for.
I must say it's disappointing to note the reaction from the SA dept of Ed - we're just about to get going with blogs in our classroom (using edublog for each student) and surely giving the students access to this at school and learning to use it responsibly is better than putting our collective heads in the sand and just getting them to work it all out for themselves once they hit adolesence.

Anyway, all interesting points. I was interested in using twitter due to it's simplicity and by virtue of this the increased chance that students would actually use it to communicate (and as a 'follower' I can see their communications just in case) outside of school on things we're doing in school. I'll look into the other options a bit more though - RSS feeds for blogs has been recommended (though not quite so instantaneous) and I must admit I haven't looked at wikispaces much yet (but I will time permitting!).
I think Twitter could be used in the primary classroom, as long as there is a clear cut objective for its use. I also think for some kids micro blogging is a good tool to get them to start writing. As for the privacy issue, students can create screen names.

Lesson Examples:

1. A nonlinear collaborative story based on a reading lesson, or original story idea. Create small groups, each group is assigned a different section of the story ( beginning, middle, or end), and have the students re-write the section. Once completed, Twitt the story. This can create discussion in many areas of the writing process. Then the students can individually Twitter their thoughts on the process of writing in a nonlinear environment.

2. Twitter the process and results of a class science project.

3. Twitter an original collaborative play or short movie script. Once it is completed have the students create an original video.

Just a thought.
Those are great ideas, Gloria! It's a good way to get students to start writing and to get them to say what they want to say in the least amount of words possible.
I personally don't use it with students and am definitely not fond of the idea for for primary students. Here is an article though that Angela Maiers just sent (via Twitter) about "How Schools Can Use Social Networking"
Gloria, INCREDIBLE ideas! You have a keen eye for adding meaningful curriculum to web 2.0.

My way of thinking is that kids are going to have to learn about it somewhere. Why not let it be under the supervision of an educated adult. Especially if we can make it meaningful.
Scott you are correct, students are going to use twitter no matter what. Very much like IM'ing. and all the other communication applications out there. If they find it, they are going to use it.

With all the new research and development in the area of Web 2.0, we as educators have to stop being reactive to what might go wrong with their usage in the classroom, and be proactive , by creating curriculum that incorporates these applications based on national technology standards.

Why are we as educators so afraid of the bad things that may happen to our students if they use these applications. If we show the students what they can create by using web 2.0 applications, they won't have time to send nasty twitts, as well as why would they twitt nasty things about people they are collaborating with????

Hummm... Just some random thoughts.
I'm new to twitter too! I still don't know how to actually use it. I'd like to put it on my ning site or my wikispaces site - but the html code hasn't worked for me on wikispaces. I'm trying to use it with my adult ESL students who are not too savvy with computers (they know less than me).
Regarding privacy keep in mind that users can protect their updates so that only those that are approved can view them as normal. I would make that the requirement when having students set up their accounts. I see Twitter as another way of broadcasting announcements quickly to all students that you normally wouldn't bother with (ie. How do you let students know of a website that could help them on their homework if it's already the weekend? Probably not worth an e-mail but Twitter is easy). As far as lesson plans, the 140 character limit makes for a great setup for short creative writing drills. Also, how about for a history lesson you assign characters to each student, they set up a Twitter account and post updates related to that time period. Points for historical accuracy and creativity and in the end you have a historical timeline of what they have created. In the end the tool is what you make of it.



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