Have you heard of Twitter? If you haven’t, you might want to give it a try. I just love it and have already learned so much from people all over the world through their tweets (twitter posts).
Twitter essentially is a micro blog that asks one question:
What are you doing, right now? Individuals are limited in their postings to 140 characters and can tweet from their PC or from their cell phone. People can also receive messages on their phone or a web page.
I have been using Twitter for about six months. As an educational technologist, I have been very interested in looking at Twitter as a learning tool. I have some preliminary ideas that I will share below. I have found Twitter to be incredibly informative, however, some people have found Twittter to be fun but not necessarily helpful. Here are some suggestions that I have been using that has helped me take advantage of Twitter.
1. I have searched out and try to follow a topic. For example, I currently follow mostly people who have identified themselves as “educational technologists” or technology experts. When these folks twitter, their posts are almost always useful! They frequently post links to new technology applications or to new posts on their blogs or websites.
2. I use TwitterFox to monitor Twitter updates every time I log on. I found that without this type of application, I was not always taking advantage of the benefits of Twitter. If you don’t check in, you can’t see what others are posting! TwitterFox sits in the lower right corner of FireFox and as the people I follow update their posts, every five minutes or so a small screen shows these updates. This allows me to ignore or follow an interesting post or link.
Classroom application idea:
It would be very interesting for college students or older high school students to follow a topic. For example, one could follow the election on electiontwitter.com or people’s responses to some other current event like hurricanes. Election twitter filters all public postings on Twitter and posts them on the website. The hurricane twitter feed shows current updates about hurricanes in Florida. Virtually any topic can be followed. A teacher would need to decide when this is age appropriate as these postings are interesting and often informative but not censored. A teacher could also “twitter” classroom updates or have students do so.
Some other helpful information/links about using Twitter:
Newbies Guide to Twitter (From CNET- A great guide.)
Twitter: Use it productively (A bit business focused.)
50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business (While business focused, it provides some useful ideas for anyone.)
Using Twitter as an Educational Tool (Great site with educational ideas and links to other ideas!).
I would love to hear what you are doing with Twitter in the classroom. Comment to this blog or email them.