Mr Kemp NZ

Using Twitter in the classroom – my firsthand experience

As an educator who is addicted to Twitter I have always read about students getting introduced to Twitter and wondered how it would work. After reading and reading I have finally decided to give it a go. Here is my introduction to Twitter in my classroom.
Last Tuesday, the day started like any other. Roll call, discussion, introduction to an activity and a bit of a laugh with my Year 7 and 8 Technology class. We had been discussing the importance of being an active online user and being a positive digital citizen (the students are preparing some presentations for Year 2-3 children later in the term). The conversation moved into learning environments and we discussed the small and “un-student friendly” (their words) environment that they were currently sitting in. 

“Take the teachable moment and run with it” my inner, energetic teacher yelled from my shoulder. So there we were talking about the “Ultimate Learning Environment“, when one of my students asked me “Why is social media so big?”. Good question I thought, why is it ‘so big’. So we unpacked that question and broke it down. We talked about Social Media and what it was and how it worked, they gave me excellent examples and we tied it back into our discussion about digital citizenship.

From this point, as a class, we decided we would use social media to help us with our learning. The students had no idea how it could work. I suggested twitter and how I use it. We pulled up my profile and saw how it worked (discussion only). The decision was then made –> Let’s ask the twitterverse to help us!!

On rolled Monday 5th May and in our first class (I see this group twice a week) we decided that tomorrow would be the day, we would ask twitter for their advice on “What makes a GREAT learningenvironment?”. The students already have some fantastic ideas and a plan of where they want to see their environment heading but they needed some depth to their plan and some other opinions outside of their little bubble. 

9.30am Tuesday 6th May – The students run in with excitement written all over their faces. Up on the interactive whiteboard is my twitter profile with the hashtag #AGSLE up on the stream. Last night I had asked some of my amazing PLN to share their thoughts, ready to inspire the students in live time. The session began and the students led the hour. They decided they would post questions and respond to answers in their own words, using their initials. The discussion continued for an exciting hour and the students were engaged and focused. They saw a new post appear and the next student hopped up to respond. While this was going on the rest of the class were using their 1:1 device to continue researching learning environments. They are now putting together a plan of what it might look like (first draft to present to Head of School) and using links and ideas to engage their imaginations as they were shared by my amazing PLN. They were sent links, images of classroom spaces and ideas that made my mind spin – what an opportunity!

All in all, one of the most engaging and exciting lessons of the year so far. New ideas, new learning and new ways of engaging an audience and gathering information. The students are now (4 hours after our first twitter experience) putting together a proposal to have a class twitter account – so watch this space! Exciting stuff and true learning at it’s VERY best.

Here is an update about our “UltimateLearning Experience“. You can also check out our twitter feed from this morning and see what ideas were discussed:

Stay connected, follow this blog and connect with me via twitter @mrkempnz – I can’t wait to read about your first twitter experiences with students and hear your response to my exciting first dabble using Twitter in the classroom.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Excellent post. As a fan of student collaboration outside the classroom (literally & figuratively) I have been using social media to teach environmental education using projects like #KindergartenBioBlitz, #KndSpring & #BirdTweeting using Twitter and Padlet. Students become more engaged as the learning becomes global using these tools I find. Keep it up!

  • Interesting Post. I would like to use Twitter in September with our incoming 1st years, I will be team teaching with the English teacher, I teach ICT and Business. We tried blogging on google apps for education (google sites) with this years 1st years, we discovered that we had to teach them how to blog. They needed guidance on how to participate in a blog on a topic and it took a few classes to teach them social etiquette when blogging. We felt the standard of English was inferior when the blogged as opposed to written work, we were glad the blog was private. We would need to improve the standard before blogging publicly. @miriambergin. Also Donal O’ Mahony @domaho he has used twitter with his history class, he has a blog

  • Thanks for sharing your experience using Twitter in the classroom. I started using twitter with my students along with our classroom blog, but I have the feeling that I went only halfway through and could have experienced greater outcomes if I made it part of our class. So it is nice to read how other teachers are introducing it. Thanks again.

  • I love how you showed the feed on the board and allowed students to posted directly to it. It makes me think of journaling and how if a student says, “I don’t know what to write” their thoughts can be spurred by the posts. It also forces the students to be concise in their explanations as they only have 140 characters to use.

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