Tag Archives: Twitter

How Twitter and Facebook Can Boost Learning

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can actually make students smarter, contrary to the criticisms leveled against them by many educators. Twitter and Facebook can boost learning if instructors use them properly and monitor their students’ use in coursework.

Some educators have been wary of social networks since their inception, concerned that students would use the networks in class, both as an update to the age-old practice of passing notes and as a tool with which to cheat on assignments and tests. The immediate reaction was to ban social network access during class. Some more creative instructors, however, saw a potential for actually enhancing their students’ learning, and they encouraged the students to participate. And it turns out that they were on to something: participating on the social networks can actually enhance education.

Why some educators love to hate social media

Beyond the potential for cheating, Twitter and Facebook have often been criticized by educators and others who are concerned with the future of literacy and critical thinking in our culture. Some think they are time-wasters for most students and are eroding students’ ability to write, spell, and think.

Twitter in particular has been criticized on literacy grounds because its strict 140-character limit per “tweet” (including spaces between words) encourages the use of Internet shorthand and “txtspk” (e.g., “UR” instead of “you are”) and sentence fragments. The fear among some educators is that between tweeting and texting, technology has given rise to a new generation that will be at a loss to write or read a coherent, properly spelled sentence.

Facebook has also been criticized as a time-waster and even, in some well-publicized cases, a bullying tool. It has also become a surefire conduit for rumors, ridiculous memes and urban legends, some of which were debunked back in the pre-Internet age, but nevertheless found new life via email and, more recently, through social media. Consequently some have complained that Facebook encourages laziness and discourages critical thinking and research skills.
While there is some validity to all of these concerns – including the concerns about cheating – none of these are adequate reasons to vilify Twitter or Facebook. Instead, the teacher can use them as tools to boost the learning process. Even some of the perceived disadvantages of Twitter and Facebook can be turned into advantages.


The tweet heard ‘round the world…

Twitter wasn’t even on most people’s radar until the 2008 incident involving student James Karl Buck’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment at a public protest in Egypt. En route to the police station, Buck took out his cell phone and sent a one-word Tweet to his friends and contacts: “Arrested.” Within seconds, his fellow U.S. Twitter users and blogger friends in Egypt learned of his arrest, and the news almost immediately went viral. As the news spread, pressure from sources all over the world mounted for Egyptian officials, and Buck was ultimately released. At that point, he tweeted another one-word message, “Free,” which also went viral. And the world recognized the power of social networking.

Indeed, there is power in social networking, and there’s no denying that tweeting can be an effective means of communication and a way to update crucial information in the shortest, most direct way possible. Twitter has become a medium in and of itself, but its greater usefulness lies in the ability of the “tweeter” to link to other media. News media, for instance, now routinely use tweets to link to longer articles and videos, and that in fact is where Twitter becomes truly useful; it can link the reader to more substantial information. And this, ideally, is how Twitter can become valuable in the classroom: as a portal to information about the world.
What about the literacy argument? While some accuse Twitter of “dumbing down” the language and interfering with the ability to read, write and think, there are equally powerful – and eloquently literate – voices defending Twitter. A few years ago, best-selling Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood declared that Twitter actually boosts literacy. Atwood noted that a lot of dedicated Twitter users are also avid readers, and added, “People have to actually be able to read and write to use the Internet, so it’s a great literacy driver if kids are given the tools and the incentive to learn the skills that allow them to access it.”
Moreover, one has to have at least rudimentary reading and writing skills to tweet, and tweeting (as well as texting) are less passive experiences than talking on the phone or watching TV.
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/literary-legend-margaret-atwood-thinks-twitter-boosts-literacy_b16428

Other experts also believe that social media such as Twitter can be used to enhance reading and writing. One of these experts is Rey Junco, of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-can-twitter-boost-literacy/

Facebook, like Twitter, is a two-edged sword
Many of the arguments in favor of Twitter can also be used about Facebook: It can enhance reading and writing, and can be a portal to educational content. Of course a cursory look at random Facebook postings will reveal that freedom from the 140-character limit does not automatically make the poster witty, eloquent, or even particularly literate. That said, Facebook can be a powerful tool to convey legitimate information – whether an update on coursework or a link to a news story, opinion piece or white paper that is relevant to the work.

Even what is arguably one of Facebook’s weaknesses – its common use as a conduit for rumors and nonsense – can be transformed into a strength if teachers use examples as teaching tools to encourage critical thinking and research skills.

The greatest strength of social media is that they allow people not only to engage in the “public conversation” but also to connect with the world in a way that will actually expand their outlook and open their minds. Educators can and should take advantage of these tools, while guiding students in the responsible use of social media in the context of coursework.

Author Byline:

“This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes about free background check for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id:GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.”

 

Twitter to be used as educational tool by school teachers

twitter.jpg_blogNot too many years ago the only tweets in school were made by a coach blowing into a whistle.

However, today’s tweets are made by computers, smart phones and other hand-held devices using a variety of Twitter applications.

Twitter, a communication platform for social networking, is becoming a mainstream tool used in educational settings by teachers, students and staff members across Hudson.

“Twitter has become a great communication tool and professional development tool for educators,” Phil Herman, Hudson’s assistant superintendent, said. “I began tweeting a little over a year ago because, as a school administrator, I have the opportunity to see and experience the school district from a perspective that many others may not, and I wanted to help share the many accomplishments and celebrations of our students and staff.”

Read more: Twitter to be used as educational tool by Hudson school teachers – Hudson Hub-Times | Hudson & Summit County, OH.

Personal learning networks: Advice from the trenches

Twitter logo

Recently, I had the opportunity to record a Google Hangout with four connected educators on “Growing Your PLN.” Lyn Hilt @l_hilt, Nick Provenzano @thenerdyteacher, Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul and Patrick Larkin @patrickmlarkin joined the conversation and shared a wealth of advice on how educators can develop a strong personal learning network.

Read the original for:

  • What is a personal learning network?
  • PLN and professional development
  • Getting started

Read more: SmartBlog on Education – Personal learning networks: Advice from the trenches – SmartBrief, Inc. SmartBlogs SmartBlogs.

Twitter Is No Longer Optional

* Twitter

Public schools are keenly aware of the power of the mainstream media; a critical television segment or a laudatory newspaper article will be talked about in the hallways for days. But the landscape has shifted, and school leaders must embrace a new, growing reality: social media has become the source for breaking news.

School districts, because of budget constraints and the conservatism necessitated by intense public scrutiny, have often been slow to adopt new technologies. By now, it’s standard practice to have a website or – perhaps – a Facebook page or blog. But in general, schools are lagging when it comes to the most important social media channel when it comes to the dissemination of breaking news: Twitter.

Read more: For Public Schools, Twitter Is No Longer Optional – Forbes.

Are Twitter and educational standards divorced?

*Twitter bird with books

A lot is being said about Twitter these days in the education arena, and it seems to be a growing trend. Despite its reach, Twitter still offers a lot of resistance within certain conservative educational groups that are married to the concept of professional development being a formal process taking place only in selected events or at predetermined times of the year by experts. Although Twitter has certain entertainment clichés attached to it, it offers consistent alignment with educational and technological standards, which we will attempt to analyze in this article.

Read more: SmartBlog on Education – Are Twitter and educational standards divorced? – SmartBrief, Inc. SmartBlogs SmartBlogs.

Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters

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Like many schools across the country, Matt Renwick’s school uses printed newsletters to share student learning with families on a weekly basis.

Parents have responded positively to these communications for years, but are we reaching everyone? Probably not. Social media has already proved to be a powerful tool for communication and collaboration, and there is evidence to support its use in the K-12 environment.

Meg Carnes and Kitty Porterfield make a strong case for connecting online with families in their book Why Social Media Matters: School Communication in the Digital Age. They cite data from the Pew Research Center that 75 percent of adults ages 29 and younger use social media. The most recent data from Pew found that 83 percent of adults 18–29 use social media.

The trend is obvious: The overwhelming majority of young parents will be social media users within a few years.

That’s why [he] believes print communications must be augmented with a digital presence.

Here are three examples of how schools can use Web 2.0 to connect with more families. (Note: All three of these tools can be linked or embedded into your classroom web page within your district.)

Read more: Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters | EdTech Magazine.

Finding the Right Tech Tools Is Easy, If You Know Where to Look

Kathy Schrock has been a district tech director; an instructional tech specialist; and a school, academic, museum, and public librarian. She currently teaches online graduate courses for two universities and is an Adobe Education Leader, a Google Certified Teacher, and a Discovery Education Guru.

The common thread that runs through all of her work is her mission to help teachers keep up with the latest technology. Whether she is writing, speaking, blogging, or tweeting, her goal is to show educators where and how to find tech tools that will engage their students.

Read more: Finding the Right Tech Tools Is Easy, If You Know Where to Look — THE Journal.

7 Ways Twitter Promotes 21st Century Learning

Twitter is one of those pieces of technology that people either love or hate.

For the haters, it seems like a superfluous, narcissistic, even petty platform through which people who think they are more important than they really are share their most intimate details with the world. For those who love the medium, it is a way of filtering and digesting a vast world of digital information quickly and efficiently. Some even see it as a possible vehicle for changing the world. Others have begun using Twitter in education with positive results.

A recent report from The Education Forum, Twitteracy: Tweeting as a New Literacy Practice, sheds some light on the debate over whether Twitter is a major time waster or a valuable educational tool for developing technological literacy. Is Twitter, with its 140 character limit really a tool that can make education better? If so, how?

Read more: 7 Ways Twitter Promotes 21st Century Learning.

Twitter reduces calculus jitters at High School

Nick Green *

If you think Twitter cant be used to help with Calculus, then think again.

Nick Green @greencalculus is using ShowMe, a whiteboard app, to draw on his tablet while talking through a lesson. He then tweets the lesson to his class.

What do the kids think? They want short bursts 3-4 minutes and a not too loud voice 🙂

Read more about how Nick is flipping his classroom here:

Twitter reduces calculus jitters at Memphis Catholic High » The Commercial Appeal.

Helping New Teachers with Twitter

Wonderwoman flying

Every Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET, I host New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) on Twitter. It’s a time for new and pre-service teachers, as well as supportive administrators and experienced teachers, to gather online and have discussions about topics that are practitioner focused and supportive for the soon-to-be teacher.

A recent topic was one that is always near and dear to my heart — back to school — tips to make your first day/week/year great.

This time of year can be particularly stressful for new teachers as they embark on the first steps of their careers. Our chat about starting the year, which armed new teachers with supportive strategies to avoid the back-to-school jitters, was engaging and collaborative.

Full Text: Helping New Teachers Beat the Back-to-School Jitters with Twitter | Edutopia.

How does Twitter connect educators?

Twitter chat

For educators who have been connected since the early days of social media, it is difficult to understand the reason people would ask, “What is #Edchat?” We must remember that many educators using social media for professional reasons have joined only recently. The idea of using social media for professional reasons is a relatively new concept. One would hope that it is having a positive effect because the Department of Education declared August Connected Educators Month. In our technology-driven culture, sometimes we need to stop where we are and take time to consider how we got here.

Full Text: How does #Edchat connect educators? SmartBlogs.