Educational Technology is my passion and I love the way it can encourage retention and foster higher levels of thinking in my classroom. This semester we are going to evaluate the potential uses of Twitter as part of the learning experience. To reduce incredulity at the idea of your student using Twitter as a class project, I thought I would take a moment and let you know why I am requiring your student get a Twitter account.
Most of you may be only familiar with Twitter from the world of celebrity news. Due to its one sided nature, many famous people are using Twitter as a way to keep in direct contact with their fans. Many public events now recommend a Twitter hashtag to allow observers to comment on the proceedings and a great number of corporations have a representative responsible for handling public relations via the network.
What you may not know about Twitter is that it is one of the primary meeting places for the professional educator community, with a rich and ever evolving conversation among these teachers that covers a wide range of education topics. With this community of educators communicating on the Twitter network, it was inevitable that they would begin to develop ideas and techniques to use Twitter to engage and challenge their students. I have collected several articles on projects teachers are using for Twitter in their classroom at this web address.
While we will try a variety of projects using Twitter in my classes, we will start slow and find out what works. I am requiring students to get a separate Twitter account for use with my classroom projects. This keeps me from accidentally stepping into their personal space where they interact with peers and makes this Twitter experience an online extension of the classroom. You are encouraged to follow your student’s account and welcome to follow my Twitter account for the class, @MrColemansClass. Currently this Twitter account is used for classroom announcements, but will be the center of our classroom projects. If you are new to Twitter, an overview for the beginning user may be found here.
While most students are aware of basic online safety rules and how to maintain a level of privacy, before we launch into our first project I will do a basic review of best practices and then routinely tweet reminders of these practices. These accounts will be for a single purpose and only follow other members of their class and my account, closing the ecosystem to a degree. Most communications will be in the public arena, and any private communications that cross the lines of civility and propriety should be immediately reported to me and will be passed up the proper channels. This is a digital extension of the classroom and student exchanges will be bound to the same standards of speech and conduct as in the physical classroom.
Finally, if this is an issue for you for any reason, please let me know via email, email@example.com, or my voicemail, 334-595-9673. We will find an alternative that is right for your student.