Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My first computer took a walk to the cafeteria and a cup of coffee to boot up. The letters on the screen were orange.

When I got a mouse, the IT guy told me to play solitaire to practice dexterous mouse-moving. So I went home and took out the cards...

Now many work and play on computers night and day. Some carry their computers everywhere in a phone.

Social networking is the new way to hang out—Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and more.

Students use these networks and text message their friends just to stay in touch--I think back to that multifolded note passed in class.

Which brings me to The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies and Twitter as a classroom tool.

Twitter is an easy online tool to master--only 140 characters allowed in a tweet and the site counts for you, prohibits longer posts.

Jim Burke describes it in Tweeting Your Way to Better Grades as “the concept of communicating in a short note.”

Twitter allows users to quickly share tidbits of thoughts, ideas, information simultaneously with many who are their followers.

Kind of like broadcast text messages....which you can also read on your cell phone or Blackberry.

Twitter is one vehicle--the latest, trendiest vehicle--that's all about communicating in writing--a place to start with simple parameters.

It's one of those online tools that the teens mentioned in Writing between the Lines—and Everywhere Else are using outside of school.

It’s a tool with much potential to enable learning both in and out of school as noted in Tweeting.


Unknown said...

I teach at Preston High School in the Bronx.
I've had students twitter topic sentences and thesis statments inside the 140 character framework.
I got the idea from an NCTE article about a teacher who had her AP students develop a tweet for each level of Dante's Inferno.
While were on the cell phone... during a vocabulary lesson I had my students IM/text vocab words to their friends in correct sentences. It was successful.

Danika Barker said...

I love the idea of using Twitter in the classroom, but I think it's important to point out that although our students are digital natives and I think they would find using twitter in the classroom engaging, this isn't really a case of embracing a mode of communication that our students use outside of class. Most teenagers don't use Twitter. While most them use social networking sites only 22% of 18-24 year olds use Twitter http://thepmn.org/pressreleases/060109?mp

Kate Messner said...

I'm in the process of setting up a classroom twitter account to use with my 7th graders next year (we'd use it together, in class, and only I'd have the password so as to limit access to the page & address safety concerns). We've talked about tweeting book discussions, 140-character book recommendations, questions to other classes & experts, and more. Would love to hear other ideas folks have for using Twitter in a K-12 setting.

I've set up a twitter feed for conversations & information along those lines @TweetK12 for anyone who would like to follow & join the discussion!

Anonymous said...

I'm an older teacher from another generation does your school allow the use of cell phones or did you need to get special permission for your lesson?

Lisa Millsaps said...

I say embrace technology and communicate with the kids.

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